FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Puerto Vallarta Open | 6 - 11 October 2015


Press release

Eight teams earn women’s main draw spots at FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open

USA's Emily Stockman, center, battles compatriot Kim Dicello at the net as Stockman and Megan Wallin upset Dicello and Kendra Vanzwieten Wednesday to advance to the main draw of this week's FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open in Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, October 7, 2015 — Dazzling with sunshine glistening off of the golden sands along side of Bahia de Banderas, the United States’ three teams led eight women’s teams from five countries that advanced Wednesday from two rounds of a qualification tournament to complete the field for Thursday’s start of the 32-team main draw at the $150,000 FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open, the season opening event on the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.

The double-gender event, the first of three tournaments on the 2015 portion of the 2016 FIVB World Tour schedule, is being held through Sunday at the purpose-built event site on Playa Camarones. In addition to the three teams each from the USA, countries who advanced single teams into Thursday’s start of round-robin pool play for eight groups of four teams each, were the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Venezuela.

Back in Puerto Vallarta for the second straight year, the FIVB World Tour is visiting Mexico for the sixth time for men and the sixth time for women, starting the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open were 49 men’s teams from 20 countries along with 45 women’s teams from 21 countries.

The eight women’s teams who advanced from Tuesday’s qualification tournament were USA’s seventh-seeded qualification team of Heather McGuire/Amanda Dowdy, USA’s ninth-seeded Irene Hester/Caitlin Ledoux, USA’s 15th-seeded Megan Wallin/Emily Stockman, Czech Republic’s 13th-seeded Sara Olivova/Eliska Galova, Germany’s top-seeded Julia Grossner/Victoria Bieneck, Italy’s fifth-seeded Agata Zuccarelli/Laura Giombini, Netherlands’ third-seeded Rimke Braakman/Jolien Sinnema and Venezuela’s sixth-seeded sisters Olaya Pazo/Rebeca Pazo.

Lower seeded teams in the qualifier, USA’s Wallin/Stockman and Czech Republic’s Olivova/Galova pulled out the biggest seed breakthroughs of the day and USA’s Wallin/Stockman had to win twice to pull off their advancement to the main draw.

Playing in their first FIVB World Tour event, USA’s Wallin/Stockman advanced with wins over teams from Mexico and the USA.  In their first match, they eliminated Mexico’s 17th-seeded qualifier Haydee Lopez/Rubi Sandoval, 21-16, 21-18 in 36 minutes.  Their biggest upset came in the final match of the qualification tournament when they upset second-seeded USA compatriots Kim DiCello/Kendra Van Zwieten in straight sets, 21-14, 21-17 in 39 minutes.

Czech Republic’s Olivova/Galova earned their ticket to the main draw by upsetting Venezuela’s fourth-seeded Norisbeth Agudo/Gabriela Brito, 21-17, 21-19 in 39 minutes.

The FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open started Tuesday with a qualification tournament for men on and the women’s on Wednesday to determine the final eight spots in the 32-team main draw followed by two days of round robin pool play for each gender. The top three teams in the eight pools (24 total teams) will advance from pool play to the single-elimination knockout rounds. Men’s pool play will be held Wednesday, Thursday along with the round of 16 and the men’s quarterfinals. On Saturday will be the men’s semifinals and men’s medal matches on Sunday.

The women’s pool play matches will be played on Thursday and Friday with the first round of eliminations on Friday as well. The women’s quarterfinals and semifinals will be held on Saturday and the event will conclude with the women’s medal matches on Sunday.

Following her team’s successful first day, Germany’s top-seeded qualifier Victoria Bieneck said, "It's our first time playing in Mexico and we are happy to be here. We are happy to be in the main draw tomorrow, it's really hot out here so it was a tough match because of the climate condition but we're glad we made it. At our recent FIVB World Tour event in China we ended up fifth and this is also our aim to finish here in the top 10 and maybe qualify into the final four so we´re going to do our best tomorrow and keep improving."

USA’s Stockman commented after her team’s upset win, “We are really excited! We didn’t have expectations of being in the Main Draw, you know we thought we had to play the country quota and then we automatically got into qualifiers and we´re just trying to have some fun and find our rhythm together because it’s our first tournament and we are trying to progress every game. I guess you could say we had nothing to lose playing against our American friends and we pulled it off and in just two sets. Wow!”

Netherlands’ Braakman shared after her team’s advancement victory, "We started the game against Canada really good and scored with a lot of aces. Our serving game was strong. By the second half of the second set it got into our heads and we made mistakes that made us go into three sets. We won though and that’s the most important thing for us right now."

As the host nation, Mexico has three women’s teams pre-seeded into the main draw and three teams in the women’s qualification tournament. Mexico’s main draw teams are provisional 22nd-seeded Bibiana Candelas/Ana Rios, 23rd-seeded Stephanie Burnside/Zaira Orellana and 24th-seeded Claudia Rios/Gloria Santoyo. Women’s teams in the qualifier from Mexico were Elsa Almaguer/Karen Valencia and Rubi Sandoval/Haydee Lopez. Both of the host country teams lost their qualifying matches on Wednesday and were eliminated from the tournament.

For the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open, top women’s seeds are Germany’s top-seeded Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst, Germany’s No. 2 Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, Switzerland’s No. 3 Isabelle Forrer/Aouk Verge-Depre, Italy’s No. 4 Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth and Argentina’s No. 5 Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug.

The gold medal team in each gender at the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will split $11,000, the silver $8,000, the bronze $6,000 and fourth place $4,500.

The FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open is the 330th men’s event since the FIVB began men’s competition in 1987 and the 294th FIVB women’s tournament since they started in 1992.

Puerto Vallarta is one of three cities to host an international FIVB beach volleyball event. Others have been Acapulco and Rosarito Beach.

Prior to last year’s Puerto Vallarta event, Acapulco had FIVB World Tour events in 1999, 2005 and 2006 and Rosarito Beach hosted a FIVB World Tour stop in 2000. In 2014, Acapulco returned to the FIVB international calendar, hosting the inaugural 17U FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, one of four age-group world championships held every other year by the FIVB.

Last year’s gold medal winners in the inaugural FIVB World Tour event in Puerto Vallarta were Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins for the men and Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas for the women.

In the first five FIVB World Tour events held in Mexico, Brazil and the United States have earned 23 of the 30 total medals.

Brazil leads the way in FIVB World Tour stops in Mexico, winning 13 total medals (five gold medals, five silvers and three bronze) followed by the USA with 10 total medals (four gold, three silver and three bronze).

By gender, Brazil has won seven men’s medals followed by the USA with five and with one each men’s medal in Mexico are Italy, Latvia and Mexico. Brazil has won six women’s medals followed by the USA with five, Australia with two and with one women’s medal each in Mexico have been duos from China and Norway.

After the season-opening event in Puerto Vallarta, the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, with placement points counting in the FIVB Olympic Rankings for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, continues with the two remaining 2016 FIVB World Tour events on the 2015 portion of the schedule. The first will be the double-gender $150,000 FIVB Antalya Open in Turkey (Oct. 20-25) and the final event in 2015 will be the men’s only $75,000 FIVB Doha Open in Qatar (Nov. 9-13).

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