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MB Teen Making Mark at Youth Olympic Games

Aug 17, 2014 09:37PM ● By Dig Mb Staff

From left: Skylar Caputo and Samantha "Zana" Muno.

For Manhattan Beach's Skylar Caputo, being selected to play in the second Youth Olympic Games  on now in Nanjing, China was a thrill.

"I am very excited to represent the USA this summer in the Youth Olympic Games," Caputo said, just before leaving the US for China last  week.

Caputo, who will be a senior at Mira Costa High School when school starts August 26 and has committed to playing at Pepperdine University after that, is partnered with Samantha "Zana" Muno, who plays for Notre Dame High, in a pairing announced in June after Muno's original partner was unable to compete.

Caputo, who plays beach and indoor volleyball for Mira Costa, is used to playing against top competition and the Nanjing Games are proving no different.

In their first game, Caputo and Muno faced half of the 19-under World Championship team in pool play, losing 21-18 and 21-11 to Brazil’s Eduardo Santos Lisboa, a World Championship winner, and Ana Patricia Silva Ramos.

"Against Brazil, we had to face a very tall blocker. We passed great in serve receive but got caught at the net with a big block multiple times," she told DigMB.

The duo them won their next beach volleyball contest by default when a Sierra Leone pair was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

"It's a bummer we couldn't play today (against Sierra Leona), but it was nice to have today off in order to prepare for our match tomorrow," she said.

Caputo and Muno took a loss to a Swiss team as Dunja Gerson and Esther Rohrer defeated them 16-21, 21-17 and 15-12.

Caputo and Muno will also face teams from the Czech Republic and Vietnam.

The two have long been rivals, and though their Olympic pairing came late, Caputo said they took a 26-28 loss to the FIVB U23 World Championship silver medalists from the USA in the finals of a tournament in Manhattan Beach just before departing for China.

That team, Jace Pardon of Manhattan Beach and partner Lara Dykstra played in the Manhattan Beach Open this past weekend, after advancing through qualifying rounds.

"I feel that our skills, chemistry, and friendship have been continuing to grow," said Caputo of Muno, who has committed to UCLA.

"This experience (Youth Olympics) has been something I certainly will never forget," she said. "With every athlete here having the same dreams and goals, it makes this event even more special."

Not to mention competitive.

Kerri Walsh Jennings talks about beach volleyball, playing for your country and what the game has given her as she offers support to Youth Olympians.

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