FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Porec MAJOR | 2 - 7 June 2015

#PorecMajor


Press release

Canadian Women Remain “Strong”


Kristina Valjas (white top No. 2) "Ys" for the Mikasa as she and Jamie Broder posted a "strong" victory for Canada over Elsa Baquerizo (left No. 2) and Liliana Fernandez of Spain.

Porec, Croatia, June 5, 2015 - Canadian women have been “strong” on the 2015 FIVB World Tour by winning three medals this season, but can the North American nation finally break-through in a “major” way at this week’s international Beach Volleyball event after winning “Sweet 16” matches here Friday.

The US$800,000 Porec Major, inaugural SWATCH Beach Volleyball Major Series event, is down to the women’s quarter-finals as the Canadian tandems advanced to the “Elite 8” matches along with pairs from Australia, Brazil, Germany, Italy, and the United States.  The quarters will be played later Friday to set the lineup for Saturday’s semi-final and medal matches.

Since the start of the women’s competition on the FIVB World Tour, a Canadian women’s team has never medaled in a “major” event with their only title coming last month at the season-opening event in Fuzhou, China.  Canadian women’s teams also won bronze (Lucerne, Switzerland) and silver (Prague, Czech Republic), but stumbled last week in the Moscow Grand Slam, the first “major” test on the 2015 calendar.

The Canadian “Elite 8” teams are 17th-seeded Heather Bansley/Sarah Pavan and 18th-seeded Jamie Broder/Kristina Valjas.  Both teams lost their first two matches in pool play Wednesday, but rebounded Thursday to complete their group schedules with a win before posting an elimination victory later in the day.  Like the six other quarter-finalists, the Canadians opened play Friday with a morning elimination triumph.

Two Brazilian pairs - top-seeded Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca and third-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas - also won Friday morning elimination matches along with 22nd-seeded Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia, 11th-seeded Karla Borger/Britta Buthe of Germany, ninth-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth of Italy and 20th-seeded Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat of the United States.

The “Elite 8” schedule has Broder/Valjas challenging Agatha/Seixas and Bansley/Pavan meeting Menegatti/Orsi Toth.  Fendrick and Sweat will have the task of eliminating Talita and Larissa from the competition.  The Brazilians have won their last five FIVB World Tour starts together, including a gold medal last week in the Russian capital.  The last quarter-final meeting has Bawden/Clancy facing Borger/Buthe, who captured an international title last month in Switzerland.

Spearheading the Canadian effort Friday was 18th-seeded Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas, the top-ranked team currently on the FIVB World Tour and the gold medal winners in China and bronze placers in Switzerland.  Broder and Valjas advanced to the quarter-finals by posting a 2-0 (21-16, 21-19) win in 37 minutes over Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez of Spain.

Bansley and Pavan, who lost the gold medal match to Agatha and Seixas last month in Prague, earned a quarter-final spot by defeating Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude of Germany 2-0 (19-21, 21-18, 15-12) in 52 minutes.  The Germans entered this week’s competition as the FIVB World Tour leader, but have been passed by Broder and Valjas by 90 points (1,800-1,710).  Bansley and Pavan are No. 8 on the list with 1,270 points.

Other “Sweet 16” returns had Talia and Larissa eliminating 28th-seeded Taru Lahti/Riikka Lehtonen of Finland 2-0 (23-21, 21-15 in 37 minutes), Fendrick/Sweat ousting 21st-seeded Ekaterina Birlova/Evgeniya Ukolova of Russia 2-0 (21-11, 19-21, 15-10, 47), Agatha/Seixas Brazil defeating 27th-seeded Monika Brzostek/Kinga Kolosinska of Poland 2-0 (21-15, 21-13, 36), Menegatti/Orsi Toth victorious over 15th-seeded Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr of Switzerland 2-0 (21-17, 21-17, 40), Bawden/Clancy beating 24th-seeded Carolina Horta/Liliane Maestrini of Brazil 2-0 (21-15, 21-17, 34) and Borger/Buthe downing compatriots Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler 2-0 (21-14, 21-18, 37).

Being played in the heart of the colorful Croatian coastal city on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, the Porec Major will stage medal matches Saturday for women and Sunday for men.  The winning teams in both genders will share the $57,000 first-place prize along with gathering 800 “valuable” points that will help determine the field for the season-ending SWATCH Major Series event in the United States at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Following this and next week’s SWATCH Major Series event in Norway (June 9-14), the FIVB World Tour crosses the Atlantic Ocean for an event in the United States in St. Petersburg, Fla. (June 16-21).  The June schedule ends with the start of the world championships in The Netherlands (June 26-July 5).

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