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Caps, cake and first place for the McNamara twins

Nicole and Megan McNamara of Canada celebrated their birthday winning the pool
Porto, Portugal, August 1, 2014 - Megan and Nicole McNamara topped their pool early on Friday at the FIVB U19 World Championships by defeating Germany’s Leonie Welsch and Constanze Bieneck 2-0 (21-19, 23-21) in a direct match for first place in pool A.

As expected it was a tough match with great rallies. It was point-by-point in the first set until the Canadians scored two points coming from 19-19. In the second set the twins took a three point lead in the middle, but the Germans fought back to reach set point at 20-18.

The McNamaras stayed calm though, levelled at 20-20 and claimed the match and first place on their second match point. “We just stayed calm and fought hard for the side-outs”, said Nicole. Her sister Megan added: “It was for first in the pool, so it was nerve wracking, but in the end it worked out well.”

Right after the winning point, there was a big ‘happy birthday’ coming from the stands. It was mom McNamara, who gave birth to the twins exactly 17 years ago.

“Our parents and grandparents came over”, said Megan. “They just wanted to come and watch us play. They had never been to Portugal. And it just happened we had to play on our birthday.”

After the match they were given a nice birthday present from the players of Namibia: their national cap. “Of course it is nice to win on our birthday”, Megan continued. “We definitely did not want to lose, so it made us work that much harder.”

“It would not have been the end of the world if we would have”, Nicole added. “Because automatically both of us would have advanced.”

“But it is nice to have the bye into the second round of play-offs, to have the rest of the day off”, said Megan. Nicole: “Because in Cyprus we lost in the first round of play-offs, so we have already beaten our last finish.”

The U21 World Championships in Cyprus last week was their first ever FIVB event. The twins finished 17th over there, but the experience helped them a lot.

“For sure with the nerves”, said Megan. “Because we already gotten that one. We were super nervous at the beginning in Cyprus, but here we just knew what to do and it’s more familiar now.”

And this in only the start of their beach volleyball career, they are enrolling in the American beach volleyball programme to play in the college competition.

“We are verbally committed to UCLA in Los Angeles”, said Nicole. “Even before volleyball, our dream was California, so it worked out perfectly. There is really not a better place to play volleyball than California. We have given up indoor for this next year.”

For now the twins are going to enjoy a well deserved rest with their family. No more matches until Saturday morning. Nicole: “We are going to have a nice family dinner, with cake of course.”

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