Brazil, United States to battle for men’s gold at FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam
São Paulo, Brazil, October 12, 2013 – With pool play and single elimination rounds all completed, Saturday’s men’s semifinal winners Brazil’s second-seeded Pedro Salgado/Bruno Schmidt and USA’s 18th-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Casey Jennings will now meet Sunday for the gold medal during the final day of the $440,000 FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam double-gender tournament as the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is back in Brazil for the 27th consecutive year.
With the 2013 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour resuming in South America, the gold medal matches in each gender of the ninth 2013 FIVB Grand Slam event will be played Sunday morning. The event is being held for the first time in São Paulo in the purpose-built site that is located on the expansive grounds of Parque Villa Lobos on the west side of the massive city.
GOLD MEDAL PREVIEW
USA’s Dalhausser/Jennings suffered their only loss in pool play, a three-set loss to Brazil’s Salgado/Schmidt, 12-21, 21-19, 12-15 in 58 minutes on Thursday. Sunday’s rematch should ignite the large pro-Brazilian crowd expected to enjoy the gold medal match of the FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam.
When Dalhausser’s regular teammate this year-Sean Rosenthal-withdrew from the tournament last Saturday with an injury, journeyman Jennings gladly accepted the opportunity to not only play but to watch in person his wife Kerri Walsh Jennings earned a spot in the women’s gold medal match as well here in the FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam. Now they will both be taking turns cheering for each other in the finales of this event as the first-ever couple in the 27-year history of the FIVB World Tour to both be playing in their respective gold medal matches in the same event.
Both FIVB veterans, Brazil’s Salgado/Schmidt are playing in their 11 FIVB World Tour event together and playing consistently to lead the FIVB World Tour/FIVB Open point standings, this is their sixth FIVB final four appearance as a team with one gold medal, two silvers, one bronze and one fourth place finish. Individually, this is the 108th career FIVB World Tour event for Salgado, his 36th FIVB final four with 12 gold medals and seven silvers. Schmidt is playing in his 74th FIVB career event, his 12th FIVB final four with one gold and four silver medals. Earlier in their careers, Salgado/Schmidt team to win the gold medal at the 2006 FIVB U-21 World Championships in Myslowice, Poland.
Also both FIVB veterans, USA’s Dalhausser/Jennings are playing in just their first FIVB World Tour event. Individually, this is Dalhausser’s 70th career FIVB World Tour event, his 48th FIVB final four with 26 gold and seven silver medals. For Jennings, this is his 62nd career FIVB World Tour event, his fifth FIVB final four with one gold and one silver medal.
BRONZE MEDAL FOR LATVIA
After their bronze medal victory, Latvia’s Samoilovs/Smedins will leave São Paulo with a 6-1 record in the tournament, a third place finish and $16,500 in prize money. As a team, this was their 11th FIVB World Tour event, their fifth final four placement and first bronze medal. They have also won two gold medals and two silvers. Individually, this was the 105th career FIVB World Tour event for Samoilovs, his sixth FIVB final four finish and first bronze medal. For Smedins, this was his 73rd career FIVB World Tour event, his ninth FIVB final four finish and second bronze medal.
After their loss in the bronze medal match, Spain’s Herrerra/Gavira will leave São Paulo with a 4-4 record in the tournament, an official fourth-place finish and $12,900 in prize money. A veteran team, who finished ninth in the 2012 London Olympic Games, this was their 48th FIVB World Tour event as a team, 15th FIVB final four and fifth fourth-place finish. Individually, Herrera, who won the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, this was his 114th career FIVB World Tour event, his 20th career FIVB final four and his sixth fourth-place finish. Gavira now has played in 75 career FIVB World Tour events, earning 16 FIVB final four finishes including five fourth place finishes.
In the final semifinal of the day, USA’s Dalhausser/Jennings pulled off a huge upset in defeating Spain’s Herrera/Gavira in straight sets, 21-18, 21-19 in 43 minutes.
The first semifinal pitted Brazil’s Salgado/Schmidt and Latvia’s Samoilovs/Smedins who are locked in a tight battle in not only the FIVB World Rankings but also the 2013 FIVB World Tour/FIVB Open point standings. This was the third meeting this year on the FIVB World Tour between the two teams and Salgado/Schmidt increased their series edge this year to 3-1 series edge. Their last meeting On June 6 in Hague, Netherlands, was the gold medal match won by the Brazilians. In April in the FIVB World Tour event in Corrientes, Argentina, the Latvians defeated the Brazilians in the semifinals on their way to winning the gold medal.
With an enthusiastic near-capacity crowd cheering loudly and consistently, Brazil’s Salgado/Schmidt controlled the first set gradually pulling away at the finish. The second set was just opposite as Latvia’s Samoilovs/Smedins tuned out the crowd, made some adjustments and squeaked out the overtime win. In the third and deciding set, Brazil looked like they would swamp the Latvians, quickly jumping out to a 3-0 only to see it evaporate as Samoilovs/Smedins scored three straight of their own. From there, the Latvians took a brief 8-7 lead but Salgado/Schmidt re-focused, regained the lead at 11-10 and with the crowd lifting them even higher with their continuous chants and cheers, Salgado closed with two kills and a block for points and Schmidt scored on a poke shot down the line.
Reviewing the second semifinal, ironically, not only was it the biggest upset of either the men or women’s semifinals in this event, it was the only semi that didn’t go into three sets to be decided. While USA’s Dalhausser and Spain’s Herrera/Gavira are both Olympians, the Dalhausser/Jennings team is a huge surprise here in Brazil.
Spain’s Herrera/Gavira never quiet seemed in sink in this match which isn’t uncommon when you are playing against a new team. The first set was close throughout with the team’s exchanging points and ties as late as 16, 17 and 18 until USA’s Dalhausser/Rogers put together a little run at the end to win it on a Jennings poke shot.
In the second set, USA scored early and often hold a three-point edge much of the set. Dalhausser/Jennings stretched the lead with Dalhausser blocks and Jennings’ hits to increase their lead from 5-2 to 19-13 when Herrera/Gavira mounted a last-ditch attempt to get back in the set and match. The Spaniards whittled away with great kills and blocks, closing to within one point at 20-19 when Jennings ended the second set as he did the first, with another creative poke shot that landed just inside the sideline.
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