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Bayport's Capozzi and mates win two races, quarters Tuesday

Anna Tunnicliffe, left, Molly Vandemoer, center, and Debbie

Anna Tunnicliffe, left, Molly Vandemoer, center, and Debbie Capozzi of the USA talk to the media during a Team USA press conference. (July 26, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

Saturday could be the day that Team USA women's match racing sailing team looks back on as one of the most important of the Olympics.

Bayport's Debbie Capozzi, Molly Vandemoer and skipper Anna Tunnicliffe won its last two races of the round robin against Sweden and Great Britain.

The team advances to the quarterfinal on Tuesday with an 8-3 record.

"Today we just wanted two solid races. And we definitely did that," Capozzi said in an interview on the U.S. sailing website. "We're starting to feel really comfortable in this race direction."

Considered one of the favorites to earn a medal, Tunnicliffe is pleased with her team's recovery after a slow start earlier in the games. "We got off to an unfortunate start. We weren't ever sailing terribly," Tunnicliffe said. "We got caught on a mark in one race and lost another by six inches. The whole event we have been sailing well, and now we're looking forward to the quarterfinals."

Earning the final two victories, particularly against Great Britain, wasn't easy for the team.

"We had a really good race with them," Tunnicliffe said. "It was quite close all the way around the racecourse; just really picking the shifts. Right at the top we were able to extend away and get a length and a half lead."

Capozzi and crew will face Finland, a team they are familiar with, in the quarterfinal.

"There is a comfort level, I think. Just knowing that you've raced a team so many times and you know their strengths and you know their weaknesses," Capozzi said. "We've trained with the Finnish team a lot, the Russian team a lot. You learn their moves, you learn their styles and you learn their tendencies.

In other races, Shelter Island's Amanda Clark and partner Sarah Lihan had a strong day, taking fifth and seventh in two races.

Clark and Lihan are fourth overall in the women's 470 standings, just seven points out of first. The pair races twice Sunday.

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