Santos Lisboa (left) and Rodrigues Ferreira have reached the U23 World Championships semifinals
Myslowice, Poland, June 8 – They may be separated by eight years, but the age difference was not enough to stop Brazil’s Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Thais Rodrigues Ferreira from reaching the FIVB U23 Beach Volleyball World Championships semifinals on Saturday.
Santos Lisboa is one of the youngest players at the tournament at 14-years-old, while Rodrigues Ferreira is eight years her senior at 22. However, they played like seasoned veterans to beat The Netherlands Rimke Braakman and Jolien Sinnema 2-0 (21-18, 22-20) in front of the centre court crowd.
“I’m very excited. I'm just trying to stay happy as I’m still young and just want to do my best, I’m enjoying a lot,” Santos Lisboa said. “The Netherlands were a very strong team and I think I played very well and I’m happy with that.”
The duo now face a tough semifinal against Canadian pair Melissa Humana-Paredes and Taylor Pischke.
“We are going to study the team at the hotel tonight and then try and be aggressive tomorrow,” Santos Lisboa added.
Humana-Paredes and Pischke reached the last four with a dominant performance that earned 2-0 (21-15, 21-10) against Germany’s Christine Aulenbrock and Cinja Tillmann.
Pischke was dominant at the net against the powerful Aulenbrock, while Humana-Paredes was in constant motion at the back of the court in both attack and defence.
“We started off with a different game-plan, but that didn’t work, so we talked about it and adjusted it and just went with the flow,” Humana-Paredes said. “We focused on our serves and I think that put them in trouble a lot.”
“It started off a little shaky,” Pischke added. “I think I was nervous, but I turned it around and got some good blocks at the end and I think that made a difference.”
The run to the last four is an impressive achievement for the pair considering that the U23 Worlds is their first tournament of the year.
They live and study in different parts of Canada and so can only train together at the end of the academic year. Humana-Parades is a student at the University of York in Toronto, while Pischke attends the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg.
“This is actually our first tournament of the season,” Humana-Paredes added. “We just finished school a couple of months ago and we’ve been training. Coming here was a great start to our season.”
The other semifinal will feature Germany’s Victoria Bieneck and Isabell Schneider up against Eliska Galova and Adela Machova of the Czech Republic.
Bieneck and Schneider beat Russia’s Yulia Abalakina and Irina Chaika 2-1 (21-16, 21-19, 15-9), while Galova and Machova saw off Austria’s Lena Plesiutschnig and Katharina Schutzenhofer 2-0 (22-20, 23-21) in a tense encounter.
Thirty-two teams per gender took place in the main draw of the inaugural FIVB U23 Beach Volleyball World Championships. The main draw started on June 6 and the tournament runs through until Sunday, June 9 when both the men’s and women’s finals take place.
Myslowice, located 70km from Poland’s ancient capital Krakow, is hosting an FIVB age-group tournament for the third time, after successfully hosting the U19 and U21 version in 2006 and 2007.