TALKIN’ STATS: 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour—July 29
The 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is holding its fourth event this week that is part of a special schedule segment of four consecutive FIVB Grand Slam events in four countries over four weeks.
This week, the FIVB World Tour is back in Austria after a one-year absence for the double-gender $800,000 FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam on the shores of the majestic Lake Wörthersee.
With 10 men’s events and 11 women’s tournaments now completed, rapidly brewed is another pot of mouth-watering 2014 FIVB World Tour pot of stats from last week’s FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam and the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships in Larnaka, Cyprus:
• Number 50 for Kerri – Kerri Walsh Jennings of the United States added another milestone to her impressive career at the FIVB Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach with FIVB World Tour gold medal number 50. Earlier this season, Kerri moved ahead of Brazil’s Larissa Franca into the all-time career victory lead with gold medal 47 at the season-opening FIVB Fuzhou Open in April. Winner of three consecutive Olympic Gold medals (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, and London 2012), Tour Champion with Misty May-Treanor in 2002, and three-time FIVB Most Outstanding Player in 2007, 2012, and 2013, Kerri has only one more major milestone to add to her impressive career. She ranks fourth in FIVB World Tour women’s career winnings with US$1,231,670, just a little over $200,000 behind leader Juliana Felisberta of Brazil, who is still active. Larissa Franca, who just returned to the FIVB World Tour after a 23-month layoff ranks second and retired Shelda Bede, also from Brazil, is third.
• Battle Royale Number 90 – FIVB World Tour superpowers, Brazil and the United States, met for the 90th time in a women’s gold-medal match at the FIVB ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach with top-seeded April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings representing the United States and fifth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas representing Brazil. The two teams had already played twice this season, splitting the two meetings, with Ross/Walsh Jennings winning 22-20 and 21-11, in 37 minutes, in the round of 16 at the FIVB Fuzhou Open back in April, and Bednarczuk/Seixas getting revenge in the quarterfinals the following week at the FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam, 21-19 and 21-17 in 38 minutes. The victory in Long Beach by the United States gives the North American nation a 50-40 edge in the series with Kerri and April contributing 30 of those victories. April and Kerri are now 4-0 in gold-medal matches against Brazil while Kerri was 24-11 with Misty May-Treanor, Rachel Wacholder Scott, and Holly McPeak and April was 2-6 with Jen Kessy. This was the first time either Agatha or Barbara have played the United States in the finals.
• Another Bronze for the Slovak Republic – For the second time this season, Natalia Dubovcova/Dominika Nestarcova of the Slovak Republic made the semi-finals in a FIVB World Tour event. Following their bronze medal finish at the FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam in June, Natalia and Dominika brought home another bronze medal in Long Beach. Their progression into the semi-finals was a pleasant surprise for the duo following their 25th-place and 17th-place finishes in Gstaad and The Hague, the two events since Stavanger. The bronze in Stavanger was the first time a team from the Slovak Republic, in either gender, had finished higher than 5th place in a FIVB World Tour event, a feat that Dubovcova/Nestarcova had accomplished three times before finally cracking the semi-finals – including two last season in Rome and Long Beach and one in 2012 in Gstaad.
• The Battle of 29s and a 30 – The FIVB ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach had two classic second set battles and a classic first set clash. Tying for the women’s highest scoring second sets for the FIVB 2014 World Tour season, Italy’s Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth defeated Nina Grawender/Karin Lundquist of Sweden 21-11 then 29-27 in 44 minutes in Pool A while Brazil’s Maria Antonelli/Julia Felisberta defeated Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug of Argentina 22-20 and 29-27 in the highest scoring two-set match of the 2014 season, with 98 total points, in Pool B. Both winners went on to finish in 9th place and both losers finished 17th. Not to be outdone, Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat of the United States needed 30 points in the first set to defeat Antonelli/Juliana in the women’s quarterfinals, finally winning 30-28, 21-17 in 53 minutes, the longest duration women’s 2-set match of the 2014 season. Antonelli/Juliana also played a 27-25 first set in defeating Nicole Branagh/Whitney Pavlik of the United States in Pool A.
• April and Kerri Still Perfect in Pool Play – On the way to winning their gold medal at the FIVB ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach, April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings won all three matches in their pool to gain an automatic bye into the round of 16 elimination round. This is becoming commonplace for the duo, who has won their pool in all eight events they’ve entered in the 2014 FIVB World Tour season – all with perfect 3-0 records. They are the only team, men’s or women’s to have an undefeated pool play record on the FIVB World Tour in 2014. The next best women’s team is Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic, who is 15-3 in six events, while the top men’s team is Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal from the United States with a 22-2 record in eight events.
• Americans Get Revenge on Poland – Last week in the FIVB The Hague Grand Slam in The Netherlands, Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek/Marius Prudel won their country’s first-ever FIVB World Tour gold medal at the expense of Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal of the United States, 21-18, 13-21, and 15-13 in 59 minutes. This week at the FIVB Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach, the Americans evened the score with a 22-24, 21-17, and 15-9 win over the Polish duo in one hour. The American’s victory evens the all-time series between the two teams at 2-2 with Dalhausser/Rosenthal winning the initial meeting at the 2013 FIVB Fuzhou Open and the Fijalek/Prudel winning in the semi-finals of the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam last month. In the country vs. country gold-medal series, the United States now leads Poland 2-1 with their other victory coming in the 2011 Stare Jablonki Grand Slam with Dalhausser/Todd Rogers defeating Fijalek/Prudel 21-15, 15-21, and 15-13 in 53 minutes.
• Fourth American Team to Win a Medal – With their bronze medal at the FIVB ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach, Todd Rogers/Theo Brunner of the United States became the fourth team from the North American nation to win a medal on the 2014 FIVB World Tour. Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal also won a medal in Long Beach (gold), their 5th of 2014 (three gold, one silver, one bronze), Ryan Doherty/Nick Lucena won a silver in the FIVB Berlin Grand Slam and a bronze in the FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam, and Tri Bourne/John Hyden struck gold at the FIVB Berlin Grand Slam. With the exception of Dalhausser/Rosenthal, all four medals by the other three American teams were won as a team advancing from the qualifier into the main draw. Rogers/Brunner became the seventh men’s team to win a medal as a qualifier this season, breaking the record already set earlier this season. While neither four different teams nor eight different players medaling in one season for a nation are records, the Americans have now matched the German women, who also have four different teams and eight different players with a medal on the 2014 FIVB World Tour.
• Toughest Pool Ever – Men’s Pool A at the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach seemed to be no more difficult than any other pool on the FIVB World Tour. The seeds were evenly matched just like all the other pools, and top-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal, of the United States, was the only team that ever finished higher than 5th-place in a previous FIVB World Tour event. However, all six of the matches in Pool A needed three sets to complete – the first-time that has ever happened in the 1,457 four-team six-match pools on the FIVB World Tour. Only 19 previous times, in either gender, have five of the six matches required three sets – the last time for the men occurring in Pool H at last season’s FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam. In addition to the toughness of the pool play, two teams from Pool A reached the semi-finals where Dalhausser/Rosenthal again defeated the 16th-seeded Germans, Alexander Walkenhorst/Stefan Windscheif in just two sets, 21-13 and 21-12. The other two teams in the pool, 17th-seeded Germans Markus Bockermann/Mischa Urbatzka, the team with one previous 5th-place finish, finished at the bottom of pool for a 25th-place finish, and Canadian qualifiers and 32nd-seeds, Josh Binstock/Sam Schachter lost in the first elimination round to finish 17th.
• Canada and the United States Qualify Two – Both Canada and the United States advanced two men’s teams from the qualifier into the main draw at the FIVB Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach. This is the second time this season that two countries have advanced two men’s teams into the main draw with Brazil and China accomplishing the feat at the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open. While this is the second time that Canada has advanced two teams from the qualifying tournament, also advancing two at the season-opening FIVB Fuzhou Open, the United States has now accomplished this six times in 2014, including the FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam, FIVB Moscow Grand Slam, FIVB Berlin Grand Slam, FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam, and FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam.
• Canada Wins its First Women’s FIVB Age Group World Championship – Canadian’s Sophie Bukovec/Tiadora Miric won the first-ever women’s age group World Championship for Canada at the FIVB Under 21 World Championships in Lanarca, Cyprus. Going through the tournament with a record of 8-1, losing only to second-seeded, defending Under 21 World Championship gold-medalists, Jagoda Gruszczynska/Katarzyna Kociolek of Poland in pool play, the Canadian duo avenged that loss in the quarterfinals, and then defeated teams from Switzerland and Lithuania in the semi-finals and finals, respectively to strike gold. This is Canada’s second age group World Championship gold, with Garrett May/Sam Schachter winning the FIVB Under 21 World Championships in Alanya, Turkey back in 2010. The previous best for Canadian women was a silver medal by Victoria Altomare/Melissa Humana-Paredes at the FIVB Under 21 World Championships in Halifax, Canada in 2011.
• Poland Continues its Age Group World Championship Dominance – Michal Bryl/Kacper Kujawiak of Poland won their second age group World Championship at the FIVB Under 21 World Championships in Lanarca, Cyprus, following their FIVB Under 19 World Championship gold medal in 2012, also in Lanarca. This is the 13th age group World Championship gold medal for the European nation since the inaugural event in 2001, with at least one every year since 2009. The list of teams from Poland who have won an age group World Championship:
o Katarzyna Urban/Joanna Wiatr, FIVB Under 18 World Championships, 2004, Termoli, Italy
o Michal Kadziola/Jakub Szalankiewicz, FIVB Under 19 World Championships, 2007, Myslowice, Poland
o Michal Kadziola/Jakub Szalankiewicz, FIVB Under 21 World Championships, 2009, Blackpool, England
o Monika Brzostek/Kinga Kolosinka, FIVB Under 21 World Championships, 2009, Blackpool, England
o Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak, FIVB Under 21 World Championships, 2010, Porto, Portugal
o Lukasz Kaczmarek/Maciej Kosiak, FIVB Under 19 World Championships, 2011, Umag, Croatia
o Karolina Baran/ Katarzyna Kociolek, FIVB Under 19 World Championships, 2011, Umag, Croatia
o Michal Bryl/Kacper Kujawiak, FIVB Under 19 World Championships, 2012, Larnarka, Cyprus
o Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak, FIVB Under 21 World Championships, 2012, Halifax, Canada
o Jagoda Gruszczynska/Katarzyna Kociolek, FIVB Under 21 World Championships, 2013, Umag, Croatia
o Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak, FIVB Under 23 World Championships, 2013, Myslowice, Poland
o Michal Bryl/Kacper Kujawiak, FIVB Under 21 World Championships, 2014, Larnaka, Cyprus
o Maciej Kosiak/Maciej Rudol, FIVB Under 23 World Championships, 2014, Myslowice, Poland
As part of the initiatives of FIVB President Dr Ary S. Graça F° and his leadership team, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball international calendar also includes a record four age-group FIVB World Championships along with the 2014 Nanjing (China) Youth Olympic Games (Aug. 17-27). The FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships (Acapulco, Mexico, July 15-20) will debut this year while the FIVB U23 World Championships (Myslowice, Poland, June 10-15) debuted in 2013. This year will mark the 14th annual FIVB U21 World Championships (Larnaka, Cyprus, July 23-27) and the 13th annual FIVB U19 World Championships (Porto, Portugal, July 29-Aug. 3).
The 2014 FIVB age groups world championships got started in Poland with Poland’s Maciej Kosiak/Maciej Rudol winning the men’s gold medal for the home country and Australia’s Mariafe Artacho/Nicole Laird capturing the women’s gold medal at the FIVB U23 Beach Volleyball World Championships. Last week’s FIVB U17 World Championships in Mexico saw Switzerland’s Florian Breer/Yves Haussener when the men’s gold and USA’s Morgan Martin/Kathryn Plummer took home the women’s gold in an all-USA finale. In the FIVB U21 world champions in Larnaka, Cyprus, men’s gold went to Poland’s Michael Bryl/Kacper Kujawiak and the women’s gold was won by Canada’s Sophie Bukovec/Tiadora Miric.