Women's competition, Rio de Janeiro
From 20 September To 25 September 2004

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Juliana & Larissa Finish First Season Together with Banco do Brasil Bronze Medal
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 25, 2004 - While the veteran Brazilian teams of Adriana Behar/Shelda Bede and Ana Paula Connelly/Sandra Pires compete later Saturday for a Beach Volleyball gold medal in the US$360,000 Banco do Brasil Women's Open, the players of the "future" for this South American country played for the bronze here Saturday morning in the 2004 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour season finale.

Second-seeded Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca continued to "prove why they are players with a bright future" as they combined for a 21-18 and 21-16 win over 29th-seeded Mônica Paludo and Angela Vieira in 41 minutes to capture the bronze medal and the $14,000 third-place prize. Mônica Paludo and Vieira split $11,000 for placing fourth.

"We knew that both players would be very competitive together this year," said Adriana during the season, "but we never thought that they could win an event in 2004, especially during the Olympic qualifying process. Even more impressive is that they finished as the No. 2-ranked team on the tour."

With eight combined SWATCH-FIVB World Tour starts to their credit before the 2004 season, Felisberta Silva and Larissa started the year with a bronze medal finish at the opening event in Fortaleza, Brazil. After posting back-to-back fifth-place finishes in Greece and Switzerland, Felisberta Silva and Larissa failed to qualify for the Main Draw in Germany.

That "failure" brought the young Brazilians "back to earth," according to some of the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour veteran players. "They are a pretty confident pair," said Adriana. "I think that the non-qualifying finish in Berlin helped them realize that this tour is a lot tougher than they thought."

The next five SWATCH-FIVB events produced a seventh, first, third, fifth and fifth before a bronze medal finish Saturday that lifted Felisberta Silva and Larissa into the No. 2 spot on the 2004 world rankings behind Adriana and Shelda (3,354 points with the potential for 36 more points with a gold medal win Saturday).

For 10 FIVB events this season, Felisberta Silva and Larissa compiled 2,568 points to move ahead of the veteran American tandems of Holly McPeak/Elaine Youngs (2,370) and Annett Davis/Jenny Johnson Jordan (2,340). Financially, the 21-year old Felisberta Silva and the 22-year old Larissa combined to earn $124,000 on the FIVB tour.

After winning the 2002 FIVB U-21 World Championship with Taiana Lima, Felisberta Silva played in two SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events at the end of 2003 with Brazilian beach legend Jackie Silva as the pair finished ninth together in the FIVB World Championships here last October.

Just 11 days shy of her 21st birthday in July, Felisberta Silva became the youngest player ever to win an "open" SWATCH-FIVB World Tour gold medal when she and Larissa defeated German Olympians Susanne Lahme and Danja Musch in the finals in Mallorca. Larissa played in one international event in 2002 and five in 2003, including bronze medal at the Pan American Games and a 17th at the FIVB World Championships in Rio with Ana Richa.

With six more events left on the Brazilian domestic circuit, Felisberta Silva and Larissa now turn their attention to working on their credentials before the home fans before preparing for 2005 campaign as the future of this country's women's Beach Volleyball hopes.