Stavanger, Norway, June 28, 2011—As the Nordic heavens poured out several hours of steady rain throughout the day on the Vaagen Harbour venue, men’s action on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour resumed after a one-week break Tuesday in Norway with teams from Brazil, Germany and the United States advancing from country quota playoff matches to Wednesday’s men’s qualification tournament at $600,000 FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011. The world’s top beach volleyball tandems are back in Norway as the double-gender event marks the 13th consecutive visit by the world tour with Stavanger hosting its first men’s event in 1999 and its first women’s event in 2002.
Brazil’s tandem advancing to Wednesday’s men’s qualification tournament was Rhooney Ferramenta/Pedro Salgado while moving forward in the popular tournament for the United States’ Bradley Keenan/Casey Patterson. Germany technical had two teams advance to the qualification tournament with higher-seeded Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik advancing because Germany has only two teams pre-seeded into the main draw and Sebastian Dollinger/Stefan Windscheif winning the all-German country quota playoff match.
The men’s single-elimination qualification tournament will determine the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw that will start on Thursday with two days of round-robin pool play with each team playing three matches and the top three in each pool advancing to the final 24-team single-elimination bracket phase to determine the final standings in the grand slam event.
The third of seven “major” tournaments on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour schedule, the FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011 began with women’s country quota matches on Monday, single elimination qualification tournament Tuesday to determine the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw on Wednesday through Friday, followed by the women’s single-elimination bracket play that has the semifinals and medal matches to be played Saturday with the men’s “final four” matches Sunday as the winning pairs in each gender share the $43,500 first-place prizes. The men’s schedule mirrors the women, starting one day later with main draw pool play starting Thursday.
Brazil’s Ferramenta/Salgado eliminated compatriots Harley Marques/Thiago Santos, 21-14, 21-16 in 40 minutes while Germany’s Doller/Windscheif moved forward with their 21-15, 22-20 win over Markus Bockermann/Mischa Urbatzka in 35 minutes.
In the final men’s country quota playoff match of the day, the all-American tussle saw Casey Patterson/Bradley Keenan defeat Casey Jennings/Curt Toppel, 22-20, 21-19 in 39 minutes. It was the first FIVB match together for Jennings/Toppel and first FIVB event ever for Toppel, 6-9, was a three-time All-America volleyball player at Stanford University who has also played significantly volleyball and is transitioning to beach volleyball.
Following their win Tuesday, Salgado commented, “We played well together today in the rain and it was really nice to be back together after a week apart. I am very pleased because I remember my first time here in Stavanger six years ago, I was really nervous too like my teammate. We did well together today and look forward to keep playing well into the weekend.”
The talented field includes the entire final four finishers from both genders from last year as well as the last five women’s gold medalists in Stavanger and the last three men’s gold medal winners at the extremely popular event and venue.
In last year’s women’s competition, Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca won gold, with silver going to their Brazilian compatriots Maria Antonelli/Talita Antunes, the bronze to USA’s Nicole Branagh/Misty May-Treanor and fourth place to Czech Republic’s Lenka Hajeckova/Hana Klapalova.
Last year’s men’s final four finishers in Stavanger were Germany’s David Klemperer/Eric Koreng (gold), Norway’s Tarjei Skarlund/Martin Spinnangr (silver), USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers (bronze) and Spain’s Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera (fourth place).
Misty May-Treanor has reunited this season with her long-time teammate, Kerri Walsh, and the two-time Olympic champions and three-time FIVB Swatch World Champions will be among the favorites in this week’s tournament. Branagh is playing this season with Angie Akers and they were eliminated in a country-quota playoff match on Monday.
A total of 170 teams from 41 countries (94 men’s teams from 34 countries and 76 women’s teams from 30 countries) are entered in the FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011 including Angola (1 men, 0 women) Australia (2,2), Austria (4,3), Belarus (1,0), Belgium (2,1), Brazil (8,6), Bulgaria (0,1), Canada (3,3), China (2,3), Czech Republic (2,3), Denmark (1,0), Estonia (1,0), Finland (0,1), France (2,3), Georgia (1,1), Germany (6,8), Great Britain (1,2), Greece (2,2), Italy (3,2), Japan (2,2), Kazakhstan (2,1), Latvia (2,1), Mexico (0,1), Netherlands (5,4), New Zealand (1,0), Norway (12,7), Poland (2,2), Portugal (2,0), Puerto Rico (0,1), Russia (4,3), Slovak Republic (0,1), Slovenia (0,1), Spain (2,2), Sweden (2,0), Switzerland (4,3), Turkey (1,0), Ukraine (1,0), United States (5,5), Uruguay (1,0), Vanuatu (0,1), and Venezuela (4,0).
The 2011 calendar features 15 women's and 14 men's events, including 12 double-gender tournaments, within all five FIVB confederations plus one special 24-team single-gender women’s test event held August 9-14 at London’s Horse Guards Parade, the venue for beach volleyball at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour is offering $7.64-million in prize money. Twelve of the tournaments are combined men's and women's events, including the World Championships and all six Grand Slam stops.
After the FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011, the 2011 FIVB Swatch World Tour continues with two more Grand Slam double-gender events: July 4-9 in Gstaad, Switzerland (1 to 1 Energy Grand Slam) and July 11-16 in Moscow (Moscow Grand Slam). The total prize money for each Grand Slam event is $600,000.
The FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011 will be the 224th women’s event and 263rd men’s event on the FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour (open, grand slam, Olympic and Goodwill). The first men’s FIVB Swatch World Tour event was played February 17-22, 1987 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the first women’s event was played August 14-16, 1992 at Almeria, Spain.
For more information on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour or the event, please visit www.fivb.org. For information on the FIVB Swatch ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger 2011, please visit the event website at www.wtstavanger.com.