Women’s pool play ends Thursday at FIVB SWATCH Junior World Championships
Halifax, Nova Scotia, August 30, 2012 – Following Thursday’s last of three pool play matches, 24 of the world’s best young-adult women’s tandems have advanced to single-elimination play as they enjoy the Halifax Harbor sunshine, soothing summer breezes and the heated competition at the 2012 FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH Junior World Championships for players under the age of 21. This year’s 12th annual double-gender event began Wednesday in Halifax, a regional municipality of over 300,000 residents located in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia on the east coast of Canada.
Winning their respective pools with undefeated records to earn automatic advancement to Friday’s second round of the single-elimination bracket phase of the tournament are teams from eight countries—Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Russia, Switzerland and the United States.
The world championship event is being held through Sunday at the purpose-built beach volleyball complex on the Salter Lot of the Halifax Waterfront. This is the not only the second time in the event’s 12-year history that it is being held in North America, but also the second straight year in Halifax.
The teams started pool play on Wednesday divided into eight four-team pools for round-robin play of three matches per team. The women began with two rounds on Wednesday and one on Thursday, while the men had two rounds on Thursday and one on Friday.
The top three teams in each pool (24 total) are advancing to the single-elimination bracket phase of the tournament. The women will begin their single elimination phase with two rounds on Friday followed by the women’s quarterfinals and semifinals on Saturday. Men will play their first elimination round on Friday, followed by the second round and quarterfinals on Saturday and the semifinals on Sunday morning.
The bronze and gold medal matches for each gender will be held on Sunday event at the SEA stadium center court.
Canada’s top-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes/Taylor Pischke won their pool with a 2-0 record and Switzerland’s second-seeded Nina Betschart/Anouk Verge-Depre won their only match to win their pool as travel issues eliminated two teams from their pool.
Because the field is 30 teams instead of 32 due to visa and travel issues with several countries forcing withdraws from the tournament, a draw will be held Thursday night between the top two fourth-place pool finishers to determine the final two spots to begin elimination play on Friday.
In the deciding matches in two pools, a pair of 2-0 teams faced off with Germany’s Aulenbrock/Behrens defeating Norway’s 13th-seeded Irmelin Sannarnes/Signe Tauboll in three sets and Russia’s Dabizha/Karapischenko winning their pool by beating Austria’s eighth-seeded Lena Plsiutschnig/Katharina Schuetzenhoefer in two sets.
Playing in their first tournament together, Ross/Hughes earned their first-round bye with their Thursday win over Mexico’s 14th-seeded Maura Martinez/Claudia Rios, 21-17, 23-21 in 34 minutes.
Down 19-21 in the second set, Ross/Hughes rallied by outscoring Martinez/Rios, 6-2 to end the set and earn their third pool play match victory.
Said Ross Thursday following her team’s third win in the tournament, “Even though we have never played together before, we have known each other several years and we are starting our partnership very well overall. In all three of our wins in pool play we started strong in the first set and then in the second set of the last two against Australia and Mexico our opponents rallied but we closed them both out so we didn’t have to go three sets. Now the tournament gets really tough and there are a lot of very good teams here in Halifax.”
In winning their abbreviated pool, Humana-Paredes/Pischke, who two weeks ago won the Canadian National Championship, earned their second win on Thursday, defeating Israel’s 16th-seeded Yael Lotan/Viktoria Nesterov, 21-9, 21-7 in just 24 minutes.
Humana-Paredes commented after her team’s impressive win, “There is a lot of tough competition here in Halifax. It’s going to be a dog fight, but a good one. Playing with Taylor makes us a different team than in the past. Taylor is a permanent blocker and is a huge force and I am a defender and a finesse player so I think we will be a factor as the tournament moves forward. We definitely have a good start in winning our pool and putting us into the second round of elimination.”
As the host nation, Canada has three men’s teams and four women’s teams qualified into their respective 32-team fields. Besides Humana-Paredes and new teammate Pischke, the three other women’s teams representing Canada are Julia Hamer/Charlotte Sider, Sophie Bukovec/Julie Longman and Meaghan MacDougal and Hillary Monette. In pool play, Humana/Paredes/Pischke were 2-0, Hamer/Sider were 1-2 and both Bukovec/Longman and MacDougal/Monette were 0-3.
Dabizha, on the other hand, won the bronze medal (Larnaka, Cyprus) in 2012 and had ninth place finishes in 2010 (Porto, Portugal) and 2011 (Umag, Croatia) at the FIVB SWATCH Youth World Championships.
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Produced by Canada’s Sports and Entertainment Atlantic (SEA) in association with Volleyball Canada and the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), more information is available at www.fivb.org with live streaming from center court available at www.sandjamhalifax.ca.
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