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Taking Their Talents to Tokyo: An Update on Penn State Athletes in the Olympics

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It was heartbreak for some, hope for others.

Volleyball - Olympics: Day 8 Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images

As we enter the second full week of the Tokyo Olympics, several Penn Staters have seen their share of action. Here’s a quick update on how things are faring, thus far:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 48 hours, you’re likely aware of the U.S. women’s soccer team’s heartbreaking 1-0 upset loss in the semi-finals against Canada, thanks to a VAR reviewed penalty that resulted in Canada ultimately converting a penalty kick in the final 20 minutes of the match. Former Penn State goalie Alyssa Naeher and her teammates will have a few days to regroup before their bronze medal match against Australia on Thursday, a team they previously drew 1-1 with in group play.

On the volleyball front, it was a mixed bag: Matt Anderson and Max Holt’s U.S. men’s team were eliminated in group play after being swept in three straight sets by Argentina. It was the first time since the 2000 games in Sydney that the U.S. men failed to reach the knockout stage. The American women on the other hand, led in part by Haleigh Washington and Micha Hancock, remain alive for a medal as they prepare to face the Dominican Republic in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. The women thus far have won all but one of their five matches, which was good enough to finish in first place in their group, earning them a top seed in the knockout stage.

Heading over to the pool: Shane Ryan, a Pennsylvania native representing Ireland, set an Irish record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 52.52 seconds, downing the previous national record of 52.58 which had just been set in 2020. Ryan also was the anchor leg on Ireland’s 4x200-meter relay team, which marked the first time since the 1972 games in Munich that the Irish fielding such a team. Meanwhile, Mexico’s Melissa Rodriguez made her Olympic debut in the 100m and 200m breastroke events, while Gabe Castano, also representing Mexico, participated in the preliminaries of the 50m freestyle.

On the hardwood: Former Nittany Lion basketball player Tom Hovasse continues to work wonders as the Japanese women’s team’s head coach. Japan finished 2-1 in group play, with their only loss being to the juggernaut U.S. squad. Japan will face Belgium in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

In other Olympic sports action: Fencers Kaito Streets (Japan), Andrew Mackiewicz (USA) and Mohamed Hassan (Egypt) were all eliminated in the Round of 32, while the U.S. women’s rugby team featuring Kayla Canett-Oca finished seventh overall in the tournament.