Women's Challenger Event 2004

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Press Releases 25.07.04
Canadians Capture Cagliari Challenger Crown
Cagliari, Italy, July 25, 2004 - After upsetting the top-seeded team in the Cagliari FIVB Challenger tournament earlier Sunday, Marie-Andrée Lessard and Sarah Maxwell of Canada defeated the 13th-seeded Talita Antunes Rocha and Maria Clara Salgado Rufino of Brazil later in the day to capture the gold medal on the "Spiaggia del Poetto."

The 27-year-olds from Quebec defeated Rocha and Rufino 21-14, 18-21 and 15-10 in the 51-minute final to complete an astonishing tournament as the seventh-seed team. Lessard and Maxwell also posted upset wins over the second-seeded Yanchulova sisters of Bulgaria (21-16, 14-21, 15-12) and sixth-seeded Leigh-Ann Naidoo and Julia Willand of South Africa (26-24, 12-21, 15-5) before scoring a
21-19, 16-21 and 15-12 semifinal win over the top-seeded Daniela Gattelli and Lucilla Perrotta of Italy. All three of the Canadian's upset wins were over teams scheduled to compete next month in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

Rocha and Salgado Rufino, who placed third here at the 2002 Under 21 World Championships, advanced to the finals with a 25-23 and 27-25 win over eighth-seeded Judith Deister and Mireya Kaup of Germany. In the bronze medal match, Gattelli and Perrotta defeated the Germans 21-17 and 23-21. The Canadians shared $5,100 for the first-place finish while Rocha and Salgado Rufino split $4,100. Gattelli and Perrotta shared $3,300 while Deister and Kaup split $2,500 for the fourth-place finish.
CAGLIARI (Italy) - There was a big surprise at the Cagliari FIVB Challenger
event with the Canadian Team Lessard-Maxwell jumping on the first step of
the podium. The Canadians seemed very at ease in the Maestrale (the typical
Sardinian wind) which blown all over the afternoon on the "Spiaggia del
Poetto". Coming from Quebec, both 27 years old, in Cagliari seeded 7th in
the entry list, after the successful match of the Semi Final against the
top seeded Italians Gattelli-Perrotta, in the final Maxwell and Lessard
could beat the Brazilian team of Rocha-Salgado Rufino, a very young pair
who do not participate to the Swatch FIVB World Tour events, yet, but who
has already earned the satisfaction of a Third place at the Under 21 World
Championships in 2002 in Catania, Italy. Rocha-Salgado Rufino are
considered the future of women's beach volleyball.