|Porto Santo, Portugal, September 15, 2004 - Thursday's final pool play matches will feature only one confrontation of unbeatens between the Netherlands and Germany as five other women's teams attempt to finish with 3-0 marks in the fourth FIVB U-21 World Championships for players under 21 years old.
Held at two sites, including the new Beach Sports Stadium on Penedo do Sono, the 24 teams in the Main Draw played the first two rounds in pool play here Wednesday as the mixed gender event also featured a 12-team men's qualifier to determine the final four berths for Thursday opening Main Draw action.
Thursday's 12-match women's schedule will finalize the 16-team single-elimination bracket that begins Friday with two rounds. The winners of each pool will advance as will the second-place finishers. The top third-place teams will fill the final four slots.
The women's Pool C final match will pit third-seeded Sara Goller and Ilka Semmler of Germany against 10th-seeded Arjanne Stevens and Marleen Van Iersel of the Netherlands. Both teams scored wins over tandems from the Netherlands and Japan Wednesday.
Stevens won the 2002 FIVB Under-18 title in Greece with Sanne Keizer while placing ninth in the 2003 FIVB U-21 World Championships with Jennifer Waning. Van Iersel was fourth last week in the FIVB U-18 Championships in Italy with Margo Wiltens after finishing fifth in the same world championships in 2003 in Thailand with Waning.
Goller and Semmler have also had success at the FIVB junior events. Semmler was third with Ruth Flemig at the 2002 U-18 event in Greece. Goller was fifth last season in the U-21 event in France with Anja Günther. Semmler won the European U-20 Championships at the end of July with Flemig where they defeated Stevens and Van Iersel in the semi-finals 21-11, 17-21 and 15-9.
Teams leading their pools with 2-0 records are 12th-seeded Céline Gemise Fareau/Morgane Faure of France (Pool A), 23rd-seeded Maria Antonelli/Nina Vieira of Brazil (Pool B), ninth-seeded Maria Bratkova/Anna Morozova of Russia (Pool D), 17th-seeded Anna Bialobrzeska/Joanna Kuchczynska of Poland (Pool E) and 19th-seeded Marion Castelli/Eva Hamzaoui of France.
One of Wednesday's featured matches was an All-Brazil affair as Antonelli and Vieira upset second-seeded Taiana Lima and Carolina Solberg Salgado 20-22, 23-21 and 15-11 in 62 minutes. Lima has finished first and fifth in the last two FIVB U-21 World Championships with Juliana Felisberta Silva.
Solberg Salgado, the 17-year old Brazilian beach whiz, arrived here after placing second in Sunday's FIVB U-18 World Championships with Barbara Figueirado at Termoli, Italy. Solberg Salgado was a bronze medallist at the 2003 U-21s with Maria Salgado Rufino in France.
Lima and Solberg Salgado play the 11th-seeded Schwaiger sisters (Doris and /Stefanie) of Austria Thursday with the winner probably advancing as the No. 2 team from Pool B. The Schwaiger dropped the 2004 European U-20 final 19-21, 21-17 and 15-10 to Semmler and Flemig