Halifax, Canada, September 2, 2011 – Following Friday’s last of three pool play matches and the round of 16 matches in the single-elimination bracket phase of the tournament, eight teams remain alive in the hunt for the women’s gold medal at the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch Junior World Championships for players under the age of 21.
This year’s 11th annual double-gender event started Wednesday in Halifax, a regional municipality of over 300,000 residents located in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada.
The world championship event is being held through Sunday at the purpose-built beach volleyball complex on the Salter Lot of the Halifax Waterfront alongside the picturesque Halifax Harbor, the second largest natural harbor in the world. This is the first time in the event’s 11-year history that it is being held in North America. The event features live video streaming from the SEA center court at www.sandjamhalifax.ca.
After the round of 16 matches played Friday afternoon at the SEA complex, two teams from Germany and one each from host country Canada, China, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and the United States will meet in the quarterfinals Saturday scheduled to start at 10 a.m.
With 24 teams divided into six four-team pools, five teams completed pool play with unblemished 3-0 records and all five won their round of 16 matches as well on Friday. Ticket information is available through the event website at www.sandjamhalifax.ca and they are on sale at the gate. Children, five and under, are free. Gathered in Halifax for this year’s event have been 59 teams (28 men and 31 women) from 24 countries.
The semifinals in each gender will conclude Saturday’s schedule and the medal matches for each gender will be played on Sunday on the SEA center court stadium. The top two teams in each pool along with the best four third place teams advanced to the single-elimination ‘knockout rounds’. Saturday’s schedule begins with the quarterfinals for each gender prior to the semifinals.
Undefeated in pool play and winning their round of 16 matches to advance are Germany’s fifth-seeded Victoria Bieneck/Cinja Tillmann, China’s seventh-seeded Lingling Lin/Changning Zhang, Netherland’s ninth-seeded Rimke Braakman/Sophie van Gestel, Poland’s 13th-seeded Renata Bekier/Daria Paszek, and USA’s second-seeded Tara Roenicke/Rebecca Strehlow.
The other three teams who advanced from pool play and then won their round of 16 matches were host country Canada’s top-seeded Victoria Altomare/Melissa Humana-Paredes (1-2 in pool play), Germany’s 24th-seeded Christine Aulenbrock/Isabell Schneider (2-1) and Switzerland’s eighth-seeded Nina Betschart/Joana Heidrich (2-1).
As the host nation, Canada had three teams in each gender pre-seeded into the main draw and Altomare/Humana-Paredes was the sole women’s team who advanced from pool play and then they also won their round of 16 match as well. The other two women’s teams representing Canada here in Halifax were Sarah Gosselin/Sara Robichaud (0-3 final record) and Alexandra Hudson/Charlotte Sider (1-2).
In Saturday’s women’s quarterfinals, the matchups will be Poland’s Bekier/Paszek vs. Germany’s Aluenbrock/Schneider, Germany’s Bieneck/Tillmann vs. Canada’s Altomare/Humana-Paredes, Netherlands’ Rimke Braakman/Sophie van Gestel vs. China’s Lin/Zhang and Switzerland’s Betschart/Heidrich vs. USA’s Roenicke/Strehlow.
In the first four of Saturday’s round of 16 matches in the first ‘knockout round’ of the main draw, Poland’s Paszek/Bekier eliminated France’s Zoe Cazalet/Joanna Mano, 21-15, 21-16 in 31 minutes, Germany’s Aulenbrock/Schneider went three sets before overcoming Brazil’s Rebecca Cavalcanti/Carolina Maxima, 24-26, 21-19 and 15-8 in 48 minutes, Germany’s Bieneck/Tillmann stopped Japan’s Anjiera Ishida/Chiyo Suzuki, 21-6, 21-15 in 26 minutes and Canada’s Altomare/Humana-Paredes defeated Austria’s Teresa Andessner/Christina Wallinger, 21-14, 21-16 in 34 minutes.
In the second four round of 16 matches, Netherlands’ Braakman/van Gestel defeated Russia’s Ekaterina Karapischenko/Maria Ushkova, 21-18, 21-13 in 29 minutes, China’s Lin/Zhang outlasted Russia’s Yulia Abalakina/Ksenia Dabizha, 16-21, 21-18 and 15-9 in 45 minutes, Switzerland’s Betschart/Heidrich beat Kazakhstan’s Marina Pilipenko/Bakhtygul Samilikova, 22-20, 21-19 in 36 minutes and USA’s Roenicke/Strehlow stopped Canada’s Hudson/Sider, 21-18, 21-18 in 27 minutes.
The losers in the round of 16 matches officially receive ninth place finishes in the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch Junior World Championships.
Countries represented in Halifax at the 11th anniversary of this event are Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovak Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United States and Venezuela.
The gold medal team in each gender will also be rewarded by the FIVB and the respective organizers with wild cards and free transportation to take part in the main draw of a FIVB Swatch World Tour event in 2011 or 2012. A total of 2,000 tons of special sand were transported by truck to the SEA complex to build the four competition and two practice courts for the venue, which includes the 2,000-seat featured SEA center court.
A founding province of Canada, Nova Scotia is nearly surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, and is known for its high tides, lobster, fish, blueberries and apples. Halifax was the site of the first British town in Canada, founded in 1749. Since then, the area has evolved to be home for charming fishing villages, farming communities and Atlantic Canada's largest city. Halifax, the gateway to Atlantic Canada, has flourished as a prominent port city. Halifax was founded in 1749 by Governor Edward Cornwallis and 2,500 settlers to act as a naval and army base to protect the area, creating Canada’s first permanent British town on the world’s second-largest natural harbor. The peninsula, which Halifax is located on, is 4.5 miles wide and two miles long.
Produced by Canada’s Sports and Entertainment Atlantic (SEA) in association with the Canadian Volleyball Federation and under the sanction of the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), more event information is available at www.fivb.org or www.sandjamhalifax.ca. The event also has a special Nova Scotia web cam link showing the entire venue at www.novascotiawebcams.com/halifax/sands-at-salter.html.