Spain’s Lobato/Soria upset Canada’s Humana-Paredes/Pischke
The 22-year old Spanish girls defeated their biggest competitors for top seed in pool D: Melissa Humana-Paredes and Taylor Pischke from Canada. Lobato and Soria were down one set against the 2013 bronze medallists, but managed to come back and win the tiebreak: 19-21, 21-18, 15-13.
“This was a very important win”, Lobato said. “Because if we win tomorrow we will pass as the first team. We are really happy because it was a very tough match, as was the match this morning against Russia.”
Earlier Lobato and Soria, who are part of the beach volleyball programme at the University of Alicante set up by olympic medallist Javier Bosma, had already defeated Russia’s Dabizha/Gorbunova in two sets (21-16, 21-14). But the real challenge of the day was the match against 4th seeded Humana-Paredes and Pischke, who had also booked three wins so far.
Spain did not play very consistent in the beginning of the match, with too many unforced errors. They were trailing most of the time and the Canadians secured the first set on their second set point.
In the second the Spanish girls cleaned up their game and started targeting blocker Pischke, who could not handle so much pressure. “We watched all their games, so we knew how to play them”, said Lobato.
It was point-by-point in the beginning, both teams making their side-outs, but at 15-15 Lobato and Soria took the lead to have their first set point at 20-16. It took two more to get the game into a tiebreak: 21-18.
Although Pischke served strong in the beginning of the set, Spain took over from 5-5. The Canadians levelled a couple of times but at 14-12 Spain had their first match point. Canada came back to 14-13, but in the next rally Soria secured the win with a smart shot over Pischke’s block.
“We have been playing well, although we played better this morning”, Lobato said about the match. “I don’t know if it will be good enough for the podium. There are a lot of good teams here. We are a team that can play the best or the worst. But if we continue playing like this it’s possible.”
This year they were already very close to a podium place in only their second World Tour event. After not making main draw in Prague, the Spanish worked their way up from qualification to the semifinals of the Anapa Open. Unfortunately they lost both the semifinal and the bronze medal match.
“But this experience has helped us a lot”, said Lobato. “Before we played good, bad, good, bad, not consistent. In Anapa we played a lot of matches and gained a lot of confidence.”