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Talita and Larissa net gold medal and richest prize

 
FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° (right) presents the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals trophy to Talita Antunes (left) and Larissa Franca of Brazil

Fort Lauderdale, Fla., October 4, 2015 - In addition to winning the richest women’s first-place prize in Beach Volleyball history with US$100,000 pay check here Saturday at the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals, Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca extended their international winning streak to 27-straight matches with  a gold medal victory over Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst.

Entering the event as the No. 2-ranked team on the FIVB World Tour behind compatriots Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas, Talita and Larissa secured their seventh international gold medal this season and 11th since forming their partner in July 2014 by defeating Ludwig and Walkenhorst 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) in the 39-minute gold medal match before an over-flowing crowd of more than 4,000 on the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park center court.

Talita and Larissa’s last defeat on the FIVB World Tour was in the quarter-finals of the Japanese Grand Slam at the end of July in Yokohama where Ludwig and Walkenhorst posted a 2-0 (21-18, 21-18) win in 37 minutes to eliminate the Brazilians from the event.  The only other meeting in the series between the two teams was a 2-1 (12-21, 23-21, 17-15) by the Germans in 56 minutes at the United States Grand Slam in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Despite finishing second, Ludwig and Walkenhorst collected their biggest payday at a FIVB World Tour event with $60,000 for a silver medal finish.  Like Talita and Larissa, the Germans finished the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals pool play with a 4-0 mark and advanced to the finals with a semi-final victory over Agatha and Barbara.

Sunday’s final was the 15th gold medal meeting between Brazil and Germany since the start of the women’s FIVB World Tour in 1992.  The Brazilian women have now won 13 times, but Ludwig and Walkenhorst won the last title meeting before Sunday’s match with the Brazilians by defeating Agatha and Barbara in the Japanese Grand Slam gold medal match.

With the gold medal and the $100,000 paycheck in their hands, Talita and Larissa have now earned $435,000 this season to break the single-season women's FIVB World Tour winnings record of $409,750 set in 2005 by Larissa and Juliana Felisberta.

In the women’s bronze medal match, Agatha and Barbara scored a 2-1 (22-20, 14-21, 15-10) win in 58 minutes over the Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan of Canada.  Agatha and Barbara split the $30,000 third-place prize with Bansley and Pavan splitting $15,000 for the non-points event featuring the top eight teams on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour as of September 6 along with two “wild card” entries.

It was the third-straight win by Agatha and Barbara over the Canadians on the FIVB World Tour with Bansley and Pavan’s only win being in a 2014 Brazilian Grand Slam in Sao Paulo last September.  The two teams met for a FIVB gold medal earlier this season in the Czech Republic with Agatha and Barbara winning the Prague title.

Laura Ludwig

“This makes us confident playing in the FIVB World Tour Finals. We played well all tournament. Not as well in the final, but overall we are satisfied with how we played.:

“This tournament was so fun. The Americans love this sport, you can feel it. We love playing here."

Kira Walkenhorst

“We fought for every point, from the beginning. We don’t feel good now, but later we will feel better with our season.”

“They are a really good team. All players from Brazil are talented and play well together. They are always top teams that are tough to beat."

Larissa Franca

“We try to take everything point-by-point. When we scored that last point, we could feel the energy of the crowd. We worked so hard. It’s been a long, hard season.”

“We can’t wait to celebrate at home in Brazil.”

Talita Antunes

“I never dreamed when I stared playing that I would have gotten this far. It is so hard to get out of Brazil because there are so many good teams. I am so happy.”

“Our chemistry is really good. We know each other so well. We are so happy playing together."



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