Men's competition, Carolina
From 9 June To 13 June 2004

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Brazilian Bronze
CAROLINA, PUERTO RICO, June 13, 2004 - Franco Neto and Tande Ramos rebounded from a morning semi-final setback to capture the bronze medal in the US$180,000 Carolina Open by defeating Dax Holdren and Stein Metzger of the United States here Sunday afternoon.

After losing 28-26 and 21-18 to seventh-seeded Mariano Baracetti and Martin Conde of Argentina in a 70-minute semi-final, the second-seeded Franco and Tande shared the $14,000 third-place prize by defeating the sixth-seeded Americans 22-20 and 21-19 in 54 minutes.

Holdren and Metzger split $11,000 for placing fourth. The United States pair was also defeated in the morning by 12th-seeded Pedro Cunha and Pará Ferreira of Brazil 21-15, 15-21 and 15-10 in 59 minutes.

Both bronze medal teams felt they played better in their final match Sunday. "Obviously, I am disappointed in losing both matches," said Metzger, "but we are encouraged by our play this week. Hopefully, we can build on this one when we start playing in Europe next week."

Franco was "disappointed about not winning" his team's morning match to force an All-Brazilian finale. "It was a nip-and-tuck semi-final, as was the bronze medal match. We were able to finish the second match while we were very poor at the end against the Argentineans. To win at this level, you need to be strong at the end."

Sunday's final will mark the second meeting this season between the two teams with Cunha and Pará winning 21-11, 14-21 and 15-11 in a 57-minute match in China. Baracetti and Conde finished 13th in the May 21-23 event while the Brazilians captured the bronze medal for Cunha's biggest "pro" check ($7,000) until today's prize.

The gold medal match up will mark the 20th-time that the two South American countries have competed for a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour "open" title in 153 events. Brazil leads the head-to-head match up in finals 11-8 with the last time the two countries competed for a gold medal was last July in Norway when Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos defeated Baracetti and Conde for the title.

The Carolina Open concludes later Sunday with the medal matches. The gold medal winners will share the $27,000 first-place prize. The SWATCH-FIVB World Tour returns to Europe next week for the final four Olympic qualifying events in Switzerland, Germany, Norway and Mallorca.