Talking Stats: 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - July 21
The 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is holding its third event this week that is part of a special schedule segment of four FIVB Grand Slam events in four countries over four weeks.
This week, the FIVB World Tour will be in the United States for the second straight year after an absence of 10 years for the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, a $1,000,000 FIVB Grand Slam that matches FIVB Grand Slam-record purse from last week in the Netherlands.
With nine men’s events and 10 women’s tournaments now completed, just out of the microwave of the 2014 FIVB World Tour are some ‘pop-stats’ from last week’s FIVB The Hague Transavia Grand Slam and the FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships in Alcapulco, Mexico:
• First-Time winner for Brazil – Playing with five-time FIVB World Tour winner, Taiana Lima, Brazil’s Fernanda Alves joined the list of five women’s first-time winners on the FIVB World Tour in 2014 in just her sixth career World Tour event. Her previous best finish was a fifth-place at her inaugural event, the 2013 FIVB Anapa Open with Elize Maia. This was just her second pairing with Taiana, who is one-half of the 2013 FIVB World Tour Season Championship team with Talita Antunes; they finished ninth in last week’s FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam. The win also continues a dominance of Brazilian women vs. Germany in FIVB World Tour finals, winning their 11th out of the 12 meetings. Only Stephanie Pohl/Okka Rau has managed to defeat the Brazilian women in a final, topping Maria Antonelli/Vanilda Leao at the Marseille Open in July, 2008. Other women’s first-time winners of the 2014 FIVB World Tour season include:
o Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, Germany, FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam, April 30-May 4, 2014
o Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas, Brazil, FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open, May 7-11, 2014
o Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova, Czech Republic, FIVB Prague Open, May 21-25, 2014
o Victoria Bieneck and Julia Grossner, Germany, FIVB Anapa Open, May 27-31, 2014
• German women reach another final – Germany’s Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler became just the second women’s team from Germany to reach back-to-back finals on the FIVB World Tour at The Hague Grand slam. At last week’s FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam, Holtwick and Semmler won their second career FIVB World Tour gold in a first-time, all-German final, defeating Karla Borger/Britta Buthe. The result this week was silver, but the pair matches last season’s back-to-back finals accomplishment of Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst at the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam and the FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam. Ludwig/Walkenhorst lost both finals to teams from Brazil.
• Another women’s qualifier in the final four – Not only did another team who made the main draw via the qualification tournament make the final four, Fernanda Alves/Taiana Lima won the FIVB The Hague Grand Slam. Alves/Taiana became the fifth women’s qualification team to make the semi-finals in 2014, tying the previous record for a full season that was set in 2006 and tied in both 2007 and 2013. The men, who did not have a qualifier in top four in The Hague, have had seven qualifier semi-finalists in 2014, which has already broken the FIVB World Tour full-season record of six set in 2004 and tied in 2005. Alves/Taiana also became just the fifth women’s qualification team to win the gold medal in an FIVB World Tour event. The other four women’s “golden qualifiers” are as follows:
o Renata Ribeiro/Talita Rocha, Brazil, FIVB Athens Open, August 30-September 3, 2005
o Leila Barros/Ana Paula Henkel, Brazil, FIVB Montreal Open, July 12-16, 2006
o Jennifer Kessy/April Ross, United States, Stavanger Grand Slam, June 26-30, 2007
o Ekaterina Khomyakova/Evgeniya Ukolova, Russia, Klagenfurt Grand Slam, July 16-22, 2012
• More Swiss success – Switzerland’s Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr might have lost to the top-seeded Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel of the Netherlands, in pool play, but they played well to enough to win their pool and match their fifth-place finish last week in Gstaad. Their back-to-back fifths was good enough to match Tanja Goricanec/Tanja Huberli and Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre in last season’s FIVB Moscow Grand Slam and FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam, respectively – the last time a women’s team from Switzerland finished that high in consecutive events. A Swiss women’s team hasn’t made the semifinals since the FIVB Aland Open in September, 2012 when Simone Kuhn and Zumkehr finished fourth. Swiss women’s teams made three FIVB World Tour semifinals in 2012 with Kuhn/Zumkehr winning gold in Rome in June, 2012 and winning bronze in the next event in Gstaad.
• Larissa returns – Larissa Franca returned to the FIVB World Tour for the first time since the FIVB Aland Open in September, 2012. Larissa played with Talita Antunes, who won the 2013 FIVB Season Points Championship with Taiana Lima. The pair played well enough to win all three of their pool play matches to gain a bye into the round of 16 where they were defeated by Taiana and her new partner, Fernanda Alves, the gold medalists in The Hague. Welcome back Larissa.
• Poland wins its first-ever FIVB World Tour gold – Just one month earlier, Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel found themselves in the finals of the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam, but they were defeated by Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Konstantin Semenov, who were playing on their home nation’s soil. Two times in 2011, the Polish pair also had gold-medal chances, the first against Brazil’s Marcio Araujo/Ricardo Santos in the Stavanger Grand Slam in July, 2011, and then three weeks later on their home soil in Stare Jablonki against one of their finals’ opponents from The Hague, Phil Dalhausser of the United States, who was playing with fellow 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Todd Rogers. Fijalek/Prudel weren’t about to let their fourth chance at gold slip away this weekend in The Hague, defeating Dalhausser and new partner Sean Rosenthal, 21-18, 13-21, and 15-13 in 59 minutes to win the first-ever gold medal in either gender for Poland. Poland becomes the third nation to win its first-ever FIVB World Tour gold, following Italy, whose Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai won the season-opening FIVB Fuzhou Open and the next event one week later at the FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam and the Czech Republic, whose Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova won on their home soil in the FIVB Prague Open and followed three weeks later with gold in the FIVB Berlin Grand Slam. This week the tour goes to Dalhausser/Rosenthal’s home nation in Long Beach. Time will tell if Fijalek/Prudel can win back-to-back events like the Italians did earlier this season or win a second event like the Czech women.
• Brazil still with no gold – With two men’s teams making the final four in The Hague, Brazil’s hopes of a gold medal were high. Instead Emanuel Rego/Pedro Salgado lost to Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel and Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt lost to Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal of the United States in the semifinals, guaranteeing Brazil its ninth straight FIVB World Tour event without a men’s gold medal. Brazil has now advanced at least two men’s teams to the semifinals in 180 different FIVB World Tour events, and this is just the 32nd time that it didn’t have at least one team playing in the gold-medal match.
• Disappointing Dutch finish – Anticipating next season’s FIVB World Championships held in four cities in The Netherlands and based in The Hague, and inspired by Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen unexpected victory in last season’s FIVB World Championship in Stare Jablonki, Poland, expectations were high for a high finish by the Dutch men’s contingent in the FIVB The Hague Transavia Grand Slam. With three of the four teams advanced to the elimination round of 24, it appeared that those expectations might be realized. However, two of the teams met in the round of 24, eliminating Daan Spijkers/Michiel van Dorsten. The two remaining teams, Brouwer/Meeuwsen and Jon Stiekema/Christiaan Varenhorst, lost in the round of 16 to Spain’s Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera and Germany’s Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik, respectively, giving the Dutch men a best of two ninth-place finishes. This matches the worst men’s finish for the Netherlands on their home soil since Brouwer/Meeuwsen and Reinder Nummerdor/Richard Schuil both finished ninth in the FIVB The Hague Grand Slam last season. In the three previous FIVB World Tour editions held in The Hague, Nummerdor/Schuil won gold in 2009 and silver in 2011, and Emiel Boersma/Spijkers finished 4th in 2010.
• All-American gold medal match in Acapulco – Two teams from the United States advanced to the gold-medal match in the inaugural FIVB U17 World Championships in Acapulco, Mexico this past weekend with Morgan Martin/Kathryn Plummer defeating Joy Dennis/Haley Hallgren 20-22, 21-18, and 15-13 in 50 minutes. USA women’s teams have only won two previous FIVB age group World Championships with Summer Ross teaming with Jane Croson to win the FIVB U19 World Championships in Porto, Portugal in August, 2010 and then teaming with Tara Roenicke to win the FIVB U21 World Championships in Alanya, Turkey, in September of that same season. Ross is the only player to win two FIVB age group championships in the same season.
As part of the initiatives of FIVB President Dr Ary S. Graça F° and his leadership team, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball international calendar also includes a record four age-group FIVB World Championships along with the 2014 Nanjing (China) Youth Olympic Games (Aug. 17-27). The FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships (Acapulco, Mexico, July 15-20) will debut this year while the FIVB U23 World Championships (Myslowice, Poland, June 10-15) debuted in 2013. This year will mark the 14th annual FIVB U21 World Championships (Larnaka, Cyprus, July 23-27) and the 13th annual FIVB U19 World Championships (Porto, Portugal, July 29-Aug. 3).
The 2014 FIVB age groups world championships got started in Poland with Poland’s Maciej Kosiak/Maciej Rudol winning the men’s gold medal for the home country and Australia’s Mariafe Artacho/Nicole Laird capturing the women’s gold medal at the FIVB U23 Beach Volleyball World Championships. Last week’s FIVB U17 World Championships in Mexico saw Switzerland’s Florian Breer/Yves Haussener when the men’s gold and USA’s Morgan Martin/Kathryn Plummer took home the women’s gold in an all-USA finale.
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