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Women end Pool Play, start eliminations this afternoon at FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam

Brazil's Taiana Lima/Talita Antunes won their pool this morning with a 3-0 record while winning all six sets to advance to Thursday's second round in the elimination bracket at the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam in the United States.

Long Beach, Calif., USA, July 24, 2013—With talented Brazilian women leading the way, seven women’s teams from four countries, ended pool play  undefeated Wednesday morning as the main draw field was reduced by eight to 24 teams entering the first round of single-elimination play which starts late Wednesday afternoon at the $440,000 FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam double-gender tournament. The FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is back in the USA for the first time in a decade and while the men’s teams are playing the second of three pool play matches on midday today, four top-seeded women’s teams from Brazil flexed their muscles to win their respective four-time pools with unblemished 3-0 records as three of the four did not lose a single set in pool play.

With no rest for the wearing under continuing sunny Southern California skies, the second and third place teams in each of the eight pools will meet late this afternoon in the first round of single-elimination play to end Wednesday third day of competition. The eight women’s pool winners received first round byes and will play the winners of the first round of elimination on Thursday morning starting at 8:00 a.m. The 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is back in the USA for the first time since 2003 when the tour played in Carson, Calif.

With the event being held for the first time in Long Beach, the purpose-built site is located on the expansive glistening sands of Marina Green Park on East Lakeshore Drive. General admission is free to the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam, presented by ASICS and VIP tickets are on sale through the event website at The last match is scheduled to start on each of the four courts at 5 p.m. today.

All four of Brazil’s women’s teams, seeded second through fifth, all completed pool play Wednesday with victories to win their respective pools. The Brazilian women’s teams in Long Beach are No. 2-seeded Taiana Lima/Talita Antunes, No. 3-seeded, Barbara Seixas/Liliane Maestrini, No. 4-seeded Maria Claira Salgado/Carolina Salgado and No. 5-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk/Maria Antonelli. Overall, Brazil’s four men’s teams were 3-1 Tuesday giving the South American powerhouse a combined 15-1 pool play record after the first day and a half in Long Beach.

While the USA men’s teams compiled a 4-1 record on Tuesday, the USA women’s teams ended pool play with a record of 10-5, giving the USA a combined event record of 14-6 through noon on Wednesday. Of the five USA women’s teams in the tournament, the one pool winner with a 3-0 record was No. 8-seeded Lauren Fendrick/Brittany Hochevar. They clinched their pool Wednesday with a two-set win over Switzerland’s No. 9-seeded Nadine Zumkehr/Joana Heidrich, 21-10, 21-19 in 38 minutes.

Finishing 2-1 in pool play for the United States Tuesday in Long Beach were USA’s No.1-seeded April Ross/Jennifer Kessy, No. 15-seeded Emily Day/Summer Ross and No. 27-seeded Annett Davis/Whitney Pavlik.

Besides the four Brazilian and one USA team, the two other undefeated women’s teams who finished pool play with a win on Wednesday morning were Switzerland’s No. 17-seeded Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre and Czech Republic’s No. 10-seeded Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova.

Switzerland’s Forrer/Verge-Depre completed their pool play sweep by Poland’s No. 32-seeded Agnieszka Pregowska/Aleksandra Wolak, 2-15, 21-17 in just 28 minutes while Czech Republic’s Kolocova/Slukova won their match by upsetting Germany’s No. 7-seeded Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, 21-10, 21-13 in 29 minutes.

Spain’s No. 6-seeded Liliana Fernandez/Elsa Baquerizo won their pool with a 2-1 record after coming from behind to defeat Australia’s No. 11-seeded Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy, in three sets, 16-21, 21-12, 15-11 in 47 minutes.

Currently leading the 2013 FIVB World Tour, Brazil’s Lima/Antunes won all six sets they have played so far and ended pool play with by defeating USA’s youthful Day/Ross, 21-15, 21-18 in 36 minutes.

Afterwards, the veteran Antunes commented, “We are playing very well this year and playing together on our national team this past year has helped us improve and get all the competition we can handle.  We didn’t do that well in the on the Brazilian national tour, but it definitely prepared us well for the world tour. Every match is a new ball game but I think Taiana are continuing to improve and that what we want to do. The sand has gotten as hot as our sand in Brazil the past two days and I actually got blisters on my feet playing in the stadium court where it is even hotter. We aren't totally where we want to be, but we are further along than we were five months ago.”

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