Latvia’s Samoilovs/Smedins roar to bronze medal win at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam
But the Latvians also got a bonus to add to their achievement. Their 21-18, 21-19 win Sunday over Italians Alex Ranghieri and Marco Caminati enabled them to capture the FIVB World Tour season points title, edging Americans Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena.
The 2016 FIVB World Tour regular season is concluding in the United States with the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball being held through Sunday on a colorful purpose-built venue at Alamitos Beach adjacent to Marina Green Park on East Shoreline Drive. The medal bronze and gold medal matches are being played on Sunday and the awarding ceremonies for each gender are being held after the gold medal match for each gender. The women’s gold medal match played after the men’s bronze medal features USA’s top-seeded Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross against Spain’s seventh-seeded Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo.
“It was so important because we were fighting against Nick and Phil for points ranking winner,” said Samoilovs, a three-time Olympian. “I know that they always play well at home and almost every tournament they’re in the final. We knew that we needed to get a medal to guarantee first place.
“After a not-so-successful Olympic Games it was good for our confidence. We had a great season if we’re not counting the Olympic Games. Almost every tournament we played in the final four, but the key tournament was the Olympics for sure so it’s a little bit bittersweet.”
Samoilovs and Smedins, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, will return home and play in the CEV Jurmala Masters, then they will return to North America to play in the SWATCH World Tour Finals in Toronto next month, where the top prize is US$100,000.
They pocketed US$32,000 for topping Ranghieri and the 23-year-old Caminati, a team that was playing only its second tournament together, and they had to work for it.
FIVB LONG BEACH GRAND SLAM PURSE/POINTS
The gold medal teams at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam will split $57,000 and 800 points, the silver $43,000 and 720 points, the bronze $32,000 and 640 points and fourth place $24,000 and 560 points.
The first set was tied 16 times, the last at 18-18, until the Latvians put it away. The second set turned out to be more challenging, even after Samoilovs/Smedins broke a 15-15 tie and took a 19-16 lead. But consecutive blocks by Ranghieri tied the set at 19-19.
After siding out, the Latvians rolled the dice and served Ranghieri, who was surprisingly blocked by Smedins to end the match.
“We served mostly to Marco but also a few times to Alex,” Smedins said. “The last one also, I just said to Aleks put it in the wind and I will try to block it and I did.”
Ranghieri, who will also be in Toronto with regular partner Adrian Carambula, couldn’t complain about the week with his young partner.
“I’m really happy the way we played all week,” said Ranghieri, who will split US$24,000 with Caminati. “OK, we finished fourth, but it’s great for Marco because he deserves to stay up there with the big ones. Even if I play with Adrian he’s going to find his way out. And he’s young.”
The Italians will head home for the Italian Championships in Catania, Sicily.
While the cornerstone of the beach volleyball celebration is the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam (regular season finale of the 2016 FIVB World Tour), the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball encompasses a wide variety of additional elements . Also part of the beach festival has been live entertainment, a special celebrity center court match, an expansive vendor’s village, multiple open, junior and youth beach volleyball tournaments and the very special legends of the game tribute dinner all at the event venue. For complete details regarding the entire ASICS WSOBV lineup of events and activities including premium seating tickets, visit the event website at www.wsobv.com.
ON THE HORIZON
Following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, there are two more events scheduled on the 2016 FIVB World Tour calendar. First event scheduled is in the United States--the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball at the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam (Aug. 23-28) and the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals (Sept. 13-18, Toronto, Canada). The Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals, with $100,000 going to each winning team, will feature the top eight point leaders in each gender from the current FIVB World Tour plus four wild card teams in each gender.
The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball at the $800,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam in the United States is the 350th men’s tournament since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 311th FIVB women’s tournament since their competition started in 1992.