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Czech girls win in Matosinhos, Europe’s reps for Acapulco determined

Natalie and Tereza smile for the memorable shot

Matosinhos, Portugal, June 7, 2014 – Czech Republic pair Natalie Honzovicova and Tereza Pluharova claimed the first place in the women’ European Qualification Tournament for the 2014 FIVB U17 World Championship as the final resumed on Saturday at Praia de Matosinhos. 

Five more countries – Russia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy and France – gained main draw quotas for the World Championship in Mexico. The next five from the final standings – Latvia, Poland, Greece, England and Spain – will also send duos to Latin America to take part in the qualification matches on July 15 in Acapulco.

On the last day of competition on the Portuguese Atlantic coast, Honzovicova/Pluharova achieved a tough 52-minute semifinal win over Dutch duo Nika Daalderop and Susanne Kos 2-1 (24-22, 22-24, 15-12), to be followed by a somewhat easier 2-0 (21-18, 21-12) victory over Russian tandem of Elizaveta Zayonchkovskaya and Yulia Smirnova in the final.

“We cannot express our emotions,” exclaimed the Czech girls. “This is so  important for us because this is one of the tournaments we participated in, so it’s magical for us. It was very good. It was tough during the first day especially on a psychological level, but as the tournament progressed, it became easier for us.”

The Russian representatives Zayonchkovskaya/Smirnova shared their tournament goals as well as their FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship goals.

“We are happy with this qualification,” said Zayonchkovskaya/Smirnova. “Most of all, we want to win this competition, we hope to achieve victory in Mexico. It has been a good tournament for us, we have played well and the people are very friendly and nice. We believe that the best teams in this tournament are the ones from the Czech Republic, Poland and the Netherlands.”

In their semifinal match the Russians defeated Portuguese pair Beatriz Lacerda and Margarida Vasques 2-0 (21-9, 21-14) and in the match for third place, the team from the Netherlands also shut out the home country’s team 2-0 (21-16, 24-22).

The semifinals in the fifth place classification bracket carried a special importance since they also provided their winners’ tickets to the main draw in Acapulco.  In three-set battles, Italians Reka Orsi Toth and Silvia D'Este overvame Poland duo Martyna Kloda and Monika Warczyglowa 2-1 (21-13, 17-21, 15-13), while the French team Coralie Viale and Ines Ben Jaddiby outplayed the Latvians Tina Graudina and Linda Elizabete Gramberga 2-1 (10-21, 23-21, 15-10).

The final for the 11th place between Spanish pair Clara Barcelo Puchulutegui and Marina Balasch Antolin and Serbian duo Irena Drobnjak and Tijana Basic was also followed very carefully at noon on Sunday, since it was crucial for the last European spot in the qualifications in Mexico.  The Iberian team proved to be too strong for their opponents from the Balkans and defeated them 2-0 (21-11, 21-14).

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