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Canadian McNamara-twins grab main draw spot at U21 in Larnaka

Canadian twins Nicole (facing) and Megan McNamara reached main draw in only their first FIVB age group event
Larnaka, Cyprus, July 23, 2014 - In only their first FIVB Beach Volleyball event Megan and Nicole McNamara qualified for main draw at the U21 World Championships on Wednesday. The 16-year old Canadian twins defeated home team Kontou/Leonidou (21-5, 21-6) and Greece’s Parisaki/Manavi (21-18, 21-15) on the soaring hot Finikoudes beach in Larnaka, Cyprus.

After a fairly easy win over the Cypriot team the McNamaras had a shaky start in the final qualification round match against Ioanna Parisaki and Dimitra Manavi. “The first set was much closer than the second”, Nicole said. “We were a bit nervous and we did not know our opponents.”

The twins have been playing together all their life and would not prefer it any other way. “We don’t have to talk a lot to understand each other. The communication is much better. We definitely prefer to play with each other instead of somebody else”, Megan said.

Both sisters are enthusiastic about the U21 event so far. Nicole: “It’s very well organized with hospitable people. Only the heat is bothering us, but there’s nothing you can do about that.”

Germany out to better themselves

Germany’s Nadja Glenzke and Lara Schreiber also qualified for main draw. They also had a bye in the first round and later on won both of their qualification matches against home team Papagianni/Thrasyvoulou (21-5, 21-9) and Babenka/Mileuskaya from Belarus (21-13, 21-15).

“Our first match was against Cyprus, it was a very young team”, said Schreiber. “So let’s say, it was easy to win.”

“They were small and we are big”, added Glenzke. “It was good for us to start the tournament with this match.”

In the final round against Belarus, the German girls won the first easily but were trailing one or two points in the second. They took a time-out to regroup and then leapt away to 20-12, to finish the game on their third match point.

Schreiber: “I guess it was a good match for both sides. It was good that we took a time-out. To slow things down. After that we pushed and had some great services.”

For Schreiber and Glenzke this is their first U21 World Championships, but both played at the U19 in Porto last year. Schreiber (19) even made it to the final four but finished 4th in the end with Sarah Schneider, Glenzke (18) ended up 9th with Maria Eckelmann.

“Our coaches try different teams each year”, Schreiber said. “We played two tournaments in Germany together this year, it was a good preparation for the World Championships here.”

Both players are hoping to better their U19 results. “Of course”, Schreiber said, “but it will be difficult, because the players here are older.” Glenzke: “We’ll see. We are happy to be in the main draw now and let’s see what happens next.”

The other two teams that qualified for main draw are Austria’s Saria Gschöpf and Mona Gesslbauer and USA’s Delaney Knudsen and Alexa Strange.

Unfortunately for the home fans none of the six Cypriot teams made it to the main draw. That leaves the host country with two teams in the main tournament.

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