|Termoli, Italy, September 8, 2004 - Four teams won qualifying matches here Wednesday on Rio Vivo Beach to advance to the main Draw of the third annual FIVB World Championship for women's players under 18 years old.
Joining the 24-team Main Draw are the top four-seeded teams in the Beach Volleyball qualifier, including top-seeded Carolina Aragao/Clarisse Peixoto of Brazil, second-seeded Lina Gorenc/Katarina Schillerwein of Germany, third-seeded Angelique Remmers/Maloes Wesselink of the Netherlands and fourth-seeded Natalia Stepanova/Alexandra Zadorozhnaya of Russia.
The Main Draw starts Thursday morning with round-robin play of six pools of four teams each. Like the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the top two teams from each pool will advance to the single-elimination Round of 16 bracket along with the four-best third-place finishers.
The first-round and quarter-finals of the elimination bracket will be played Saturday with the "final four" teams advancing to Sunday's semi-finals and medal matches. The FIVB U-18 World Championships are a mixed gender event with the men following the same schedule.
Brazil's 17-yeard old Carolina Solberg Salgado is the featured player as she is competing in her third U-18 event after placing fourth and second first two FIVB junior events in Greece and Thailand, respectively. Solberg Salgado will compete again with Barbara Figueirado, who dropped last year's gold medal match in Thailand to Jana Kohler and Laura Ludwig of Germany 21-11 and 32-30. Solberg Salgado placed fourth in the inaugural U-18 event in Greece with Isabel Grael.
Other countries with tandems in the Main Draw are Australia, Austria, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, host Italy, Latvia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland and the United States.
The top four teams from August's European U-18 Championships in Myslowice, Poland, will be competing in the world finals, including Poland's Katarzyna Urban and Joanna Wiatr. The Polish women defeated Florentina Büttner and Julia Sude of Germany in the gold medal match. Gorenc and Schillerwein captured the bronze medal by defeating Eva Krystova and Veronika Opravilova of the Czech Republic.
European teams have dominated the first two FIVB U-18 World Championships by capturing five of the first six medals. Brazil's silver medal finish, by Figueirado and Solberg Salgado, has been the only non-European podium finish.
The Netherlands Sanne Keizer and Arjanne Stevens captured the 2002 title in Greece with German teams claiming the Silver and Bronze Medals. Germany won the Gold and Bronze last season in Thailand.