|Milan, Italy, September 5, 2004 - Score one for Shelda Bede against sister Shaylyn, but give credit to Adriana Behar as the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour's No. 1-ranked team captured the women's gold medal match here Sunday for Brazil at the US$180,000 Alice Italian Open before an over-flowing crowd of 5,000 on the Arco della Pace (Arc of Peace) - Parco Sempione.
With the Bede Family being represented on both sides of the Beach Volleyball net, Shelda and Adriana won their third SWATCH-FIVB World Tour title this season and 32nd in their career together by defeating fifth-seeded Shaylyn and Renata Ribeiro 21-15 and 25-23 in the 49-minute gold medal match to share the $27,000 first-place prize.
The win did not come easy as Adriana had to play the last set and a half on a badly-sprained right ankle that occurred with her and Shelda leading 14-10 in the first set. "This was too important of a match to give up," Adriana noted. "It was important for Shelda against her sister and it was important for us to play the match out before this wonderful crowd."
For Shaylyn and Ribeiro, the silver medal finish netted them a share of the $18,000 second-place check for their best SWATCH-FIVB World Tour finish in 14 international starts together. It was also the second meeting this weekend between the two teams as Adriana and Shelda won 21-17 and 21-16 Saturday. Despite losing to her sister twice this weekend, Shaylyn was the Gianni Rinci MVP award while Ribeiro had the SWATCH fastest serve (73.2 kp/h).
"What a thrill for my family to have us playing for a gold medal at a major Beach Volleyball event," said Shelda after the match. "Shaylyn has been a good sister and a great listener all these years. She is becoming a very good player, so I better quit talking to her about the game. She might beat me one of these days. Give credit for Adriana in playing this one out. She was really hurting."
The top-seeded Shelda and Adriana advanced to their 56th SWATCH-FIVB World Tour gold medal match in 88 career starts together since November 1995 with a 21-19 and 21-15 win in 39 minutes over third-seeded Nicole Schnyder and Simone Kuhn of Switzerland.
Adriana and Shelda, who clinched their sixth SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season's points title Friday in the last eight seasons, placed second in the inaugural Alice Italian Open last year after losing the gold medal match to Jia Tian and Fei Wang of China. The 2003 Milan event also marked Shaylyn and Riberio first-ever international event together as the pair finished 25th.
Shaylyn, the youngest of the five Bede children (four girls and one boy), and Ribeiro scored a 23-21, 24-26 and 15-10 win in Sunday's second semi-final over seventh-seeded Eva Celbova and Sona Novakova of the Czech Republic in 63 minutes.
In the bronze medal match, Celbova and Novakova scored a 21-15 and 21-18 win in 39 minutes over Schnyder and Kuhn, the 2004 European Champions. The win gave the Czechs their second bronze medal this season as they shared $14,000 for third-place.
Schnyder and Kuhn, who placed third in June's Japan stop, split $11,000 for fourth-place as they dropped two matches to Celbova and Novakova in the Alice Italian Open, including a 21-10 and 21-17 decision Saturday afternoon.
The 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour ends September 20-26 in Rio de Janeiro for a $360,000 mixed gender event. Brazil's Emanuel Rego and Ricardo, the Athens 2004 Olympic gold medallists, have already clinched the men's season point's title for the second-straight season.