FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Long Beach Grand Slam | 18 - 23 August 2015


Press release

Brazilian world champions upset by Vanuatu

Vanuatu victors Pata Miller (left) and Linline Matauatu enjoy the spotlight in the sunlight of Long Beach after upsetting the newly-crowned FIVB world champions at the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball.

Long Beach, Calif., USA, August 21, 2015 - Was it a lack of focus by the world champions Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas or the never-quit play of unheralded Linline Matauatu and Pata Miller of Vanuatu that resulted in the “biggest” upset on the FIVB World Tour this season as the team from the South Pacific island eliminated the Brazilians from the US$800,000 ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball here Friday on the TrueCar Court at Alamitos Beach.

With a 2-1 (21-12, 19-21, 15-13) win in 45 minutes over the top-seeded Agatha and Barbara, the 22nd-seeded Matauatu and Pata advanced to Saturday morning’s quarter-finals in the FIVB World Tour event where the Vanuatu pair will play sixth-seeded Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany in the third meeting between the two teams with each pair winning once.

The Germans, who won the last FIVB World Tour event in Japan three weeks ago, eliminated third-seeded Maria Antonelli and Juliana Felisberta of Brazil 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) in a 37-minute “Sweet 16” match.  It will be the first international meeting between the two teams as the Germans are also the newly-crowned European champions.

“Give them all the credit,” said Barbara after the match with Vanuatu.  “They played well and handled the wind better than us.  I feel we had a lack of focus in the match, but still, the ladies on the other side of the net were better than us today.  We were not ready to play as you can see by the first set score.”

Coached by Jason Lockheed of New Zealand, Matauatu and Pata have now matched their previous best finish on the FIVB World Tour with a guaranteed fifth.  Prior to the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, Matauatu and Pata had a fifth in the 2015 international season opener in April at Fuzhou, China.

After dropping their first two matches in this week’s event, Matauatu and Pata concluded pool play Thursday with a win over an American team before starting Friday’s schedule with an upset of ninth-seeded Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth by defeating the Italians 2-1 (21-18, 11-21, 15-10) in 51 minutes.

“This is exciting and our greatest moment on the world tour,” said the 27-year old Pata.  “To defeat a team from Brazil is a big achievement.  To defeat the world champions is remarkable and to be playing in a grand slam for a chance to advance to the semi-finals is really something special.  It’s like a dream come true.”

Saturday’s other women’s quarter-final matches to determine the lineup for the afternoon semi-finals will have defending ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball champions and eighth-seeded April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States challenging fourth-seeded Heather Bansley/Sarah Pavan of Canada, 14th-seeded Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler of Germany meeting seventh-seeded Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia and 14th-seeded Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez of Spain playing second-seeded Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca of Brazil.

Ross and Walsh Jennings advanced to the quarter-finals by ousting 20th-seeded Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland 2-0 (21-13, 21-16) in 35 minutes while Bansley and Pavan Canada posted a 2-1 (18-21, 21-19, 15-10) win in 55 minutes over 18th-seeded Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany.  Ross and Walsh Jennings have won three of four matches against the Canadians on the FIVB World Tour.  Bansley and Pavan’s only win was due to a forfeit last month at the Gstaad Major in Switzerland when Walsh Jennings withdrew from the match due to her second right should dislocation of the season.

Holtwick and Semmler advanced to the quarter-finals with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-19) win in 39 minutes over 17th-seeded Emily Day/Jennifer Kessy of the United States while Bawden and Clancy scored a 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) elimination win over 16th-seeded Monika Brzostek/Kinga Kolosinska of Poland in 34 minutes.  Holtwick and Semmler have won two of the three previous meetings with the Aussies with all the matches being played in 2013.

Baquerizo and Liliana earned a spot in the “elite eight” by ousting fifth-seeded Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands 2-0 (21-13, 21-19) in 37 minutes while Talita and Larissa advanced with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-11) victory in 35 minutes over 26th-seeded Jennifer Fopma/Brittany Hochevar of the United States.  The Spaniards will be looking for their first win over Talita and Larissa after losing once this season in Russia and twice in 2014.

Saturday’s schedule concludes with both the men’s and women’s semi-final matches with Sunday’s slate featuring the four medal matches.  The winning teams in both genders will split the $57,000 first-place prizes.  The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball is the second of two events in the United States this season that are part of the qualifying process for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The first 2015 American Olympic qualifier was held in mid-June at St. Petersburg, Fla.  Prior to the St. Petersburg Grand Slam, the last Olympic Beach Volleyball qualifying event in the United States was staged in September 2003 at Carson, Calif.

Following the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, the final Grand Slam event on the 2015 FIVB World Tour will be played August 25-30 in Olsztyn, Poland.  The “test” event for the Rio 2016 Olympics will be staged on September 2-6 at exactly the same location for the Summer Games’ Beach Volleyball competition on Copacabana Beach.

Prior to returning to the United States for the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (September 29-October 4), the international circuit will stage “open” tournaments in Russia (Sochi, September 8-13) and China (Xiamen, September 22-27).

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