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Nine men’s teams win twice Wednesday at FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open

During their first of two pool play match victories Wednesday for the host country, Mexico's top-seeded Juan Virgen sends the Mikasa to teammate Lombardo Ontiveros lead their pool as play continues at the 2014 FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, May 7, 2014—Teams from Austria, Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Latvia, host country Mexico and the United States all enjoyed the cooler temperatures and the special sand Wednesday to win both of their pool play matches with one remaining on Thursday in the 32-team main draw at the double-gender US$150,000 FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open, the third event on the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar.  

Thursday’s busy schedule on the picturesque purpose-built complex on Playa Camarones will include the last of three rounds of men’s pool play as well the first round of men’s single elimination rounds on the four sand competition courts.

Also on Thursday, the women’s 32-team main draw will see each team play two of their three pool play matches in their eight pools of four teams each.

To the cheers of home country fans, Mexico’s Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen lead the undefeated teams after their twin wins Wednesday over teams from China and Norway. On Thursday, the Mexican duo will finish pool play with a match against 16th-seeded Sam Pedlow/Grant O’Gorman on the Playa Camarones stadium court.

The other 2-0 teams following Wednesday’s pool play are Latvia’s second-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins, Czech Republic’s third-seeded Robert Kufa/Jan Hadrava, Chile’s fourth-seeded Marco Grimalt/Esteban Grimalt, Austria’s ninth-seeded Tobias Winter/Lorenz Petutschnig, USA’s 11th-seeded John Hyden/Tri Bourne, Italy’s 14th-seeded Paolo Ingrosso/Matteo Ingrosso, Germany’s 21st-seeded qualifying team of Armin Dollinger/Clemens Wickler and Brazil’s 26th-seeded qualification team of Thiago Santos/Marcio Araujo.

The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) international tour is back in Mexico for the first time since 2006 for its first event in Puerto Vallarta being held on Playa Camarones adjacent to the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort and Convention Center. The FIVB World Tour has had eight previous tour stops in Mexico. Acapulco hosted double-gender events in 1999, 2005 and 2006 and Rosarito hosted one double-gender tour stop in 2000.

Pleased to win two pool matches in their home country on Wednesday, Ontiveros said, “We have played very well. We have been playing together for a year and eight months as an official team, things have been doing great. We understand each other well and the results have started to improve since we began two years ago participating in some tournaments together for the Olympic qualification. I think we both made a good choice in becoming a team.”

Virgen is also pleased with the alliance, commenting, “The main goal is to qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016. We have a lot of teams who have great talent, the teams are very competitive and it not getting easier. We are working very hard to give it a shot and Rio is a very real possibility if we keep working hard and keep improving every tournament.”

The FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open is the 300th FIVB men’s event since the FIVB began play in 1987 and the 263rd FIVB women’s tournament since each started play in 1992.

The second of 10 FIVB Open events in 2014, the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open has men’s action running from Tuesday through Saturday and women’s competition running from Wednesday through Sunday. The tournament format has a one-day qualification tournament in to determine the final eight spots in each gender’s 32-team main draw tournaments followed by round-robin pool play and a single-elimination bracket for the final 24 teams. The men’s semifinals and medal matches will be held Saturday while the women’s semis and medal matches will be played on Sunday at the purpose-built stadium at Puerto Vallarta’s Playa Camarones.

As the host nation, Mexico had three teams in each gender pre-seeded into the main draw. Besides the undefeated Virgen/Ontiveros in men’s pool play, the two other home-country teams both lost both of their matches on Wednesday-No. 30 Ricardo Galindo/Aldo Miramontes and No. 31 Juan Revuelta/Miguel Cardenas.

Visiting Puerto Vallarta for the first time, the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will be the ninth and 10th all-time FIVB World Tour men’s and women’s FIVB World Tour women’s tournament in Mexico. All double-gender events, the FIVB World Tour visited Acapulco in 1999, Rosarito Beach in 2000 and Acapulco again in both 2005 and 2006.

Mexico is also hosting the Inaugural FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships this year in Acapulco (July 15-20).

The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will each split $11,000, the silver $8,000, the bronze $6,000 and fourth place $4,500. The men medal matches will be held on Saturday and the women’s medal matches will be held on Sunday.

Based in Lausanne, Switzerland as the international governing body for the Olympic sports of Beach Volleyball and Volleyball, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar features a record purse of US$10.2 million with a season that extends from late April to mid-December competing at 21 venues in 18 countries.  This year’s FIVB World Tour includes a record 10 FIVB Grand Slam events, the inaugural Grand Slam Finale and 10 FIVB Open Tournaments throughout the world, helping expand the door for development of the sport even further.

The 10 FIVB Open tournaments in 2014, seven double-gender, two men only and two women only, have $150,000 total purses for the double gender events and $75,000 for the single-gender competitions.

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