Latvia’s Samoilovs/Smedins claim men’s gold at FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open
Sunday’s event-ending women’s schedule will have the internationally-televised semifinals, bronze medal match and gold medal finale on the picturesque purpose-built complex on Playa Camarones.
GOLD MEDAL MATCH
Latvia’s Samoilovs/J. Smedins, who spent one month training at a beach resort in Egypt that is similar weather conditions to what they faced in this tournament in Puerto Vallarta, defeated Italy’s P. Ingrosso/M. Ingrosso in straight sets, 21-17, 21-15 in 44 minutes before an enthusiastic crowd enjoying the first FIVB World Tour held in Puerto Vallarta.
With Italy’s methodical Ingrosso twins coming out of the gate fast, they started the gold medal match with ease and fluidity using a ‘side out’ plan with few mistakes to take the early lead, eventually increasing it to 19-17 before Latvia’s Samoilovs/J. Smedins hard-hitting and aggressive-playing rallied to the first set 21-17. In the second set the start was totally different as the Lavtia’s more confident Samoilovs/J. Smedins burst out to a 4-1 lead before extending it twice to eight point margins at 14-16 and 18-10 and the set and match ended on a Samoilovs block of a P. Ingrosso kill attempt.
Both 12-year FIVB veterans, Latvia’s Samoilovs/J. Smedins, who teamed up last year on the advice of their parents and achieved the FIVB World Ranking No. 1 spot, had played 16 FIVB World Tour events together with eight final four appearances including three gold medals. In the first two events this year, the Latvian duo reached two final fours including a silver medal last week in Shanghai.
Lavtia’s gold medal winners ended their first trip to Puerto Vallarta with an unblemished 7-0 record including winning all 14 sets they played, the FIVB gold medal and they will share $11,000 in prize money for their fourth career FIVB World Tour gold medal as a team. Playing in their 17th FIVB World Tour event together, the Latvian duo now have nine final four finishes since becoming a team at the start of the 2013 season.
Looking back on the tournament and the gold medal match, Latvia’s Samoilovs said, “We started tentatively in all of our matches here in Mexico but in all of them we just kept getting stronger and were able to win all of them. Against the Italians, whom we only played against once before last year in Durban (So. Africa), we were about unsettled at first but when we found our grove we didn’t make many mistakes and the momentum built up to where we ended up with a much easier win in the second set. This was a great place for us to play and we look forward to the opportunity to return again. The sand was remarkable in texture and stayed cool even when it was very, very hot.”
Italy’s Ingrosso twins have played on the FIVB World Tour since 2008 and this was their first final four finish and first silver medal. They were also attempting to help Italy win three consecutive FIVB World Tour gold medals as the first two tour stops this year in China (Fuzhou and Shanghai) were both won by Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo. Prior to this year, Italy had never won a men’s gold medal on the FIVB World Tour.
With their best career finish on the FIVB World Tour, Italy’s P. Ingrosso/M. Ingrosso leave Puerto Vallarta with a 6-1 tournament record, the silver medal and they will also have $8,000 in prize money to divide up.
MEXICO WINS BRONZE MEDAL
Giving their home country fans something to cheer about in the bronze medal match, Mexico’s top-seeded Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen came out strong and then gallantly held on overcome Germany’s eighth-seeded Eric Koreng/Finn Dittelbach, winning the first set 21-16, dropping the second 18-21 and then rallying in the deciding third set to win the match 21-19 in a very heated 62 minutes, the third-longest match of the men’s tournament.
In recording the highest finish in the history of the FIVB World Tour for Mexico, Ontiveros/Virgen won the bronze medal by taking the third set that saw them tie the score at 11-11 and then exchange points well past the regulation 15 total of points. Counting the 11-11 score, the set was tied 11 times before Germany’s Dittelbach went wide left on a kill attempt to end the set and match.
Extending themselves to the limit, Mexico’s Ontiveros/Virgen have both played in FIVB World Tour events for more than seven years, but together this was their eighth event and this is the first final four and first bronze medal recorded by a team from Mexico. Their highest previous finish was a ninth place that they earned this year in Fuzhou. Mexico’s Ontiveros/Virgen leave Puerto Vallarta with not only the bronze medal, but also the $6,000 prize for third place.
A veteran of 12 FIVB seasons, Koreng has only played six FIVB tournaments with Dittelbach and the pair has one final four last year in Anapa, Russia. Koreng has one FIVB career gold medal, 2010 in Stavanger, Norway. After their bronze medal match loss on Saturday, Germany’s Koreng/Dittelbach leave Puerto Vallarta with official fourth-place finishes and $4,500 to split in prize money.
In the first semifinal, Latvia’s Samoilovs/J. Smedins held off the attack from Germany’s Koreng/Dittelbach to win in twin sets, 21-17, 21-18 in 47 minutes.
Both sets were close as the two teams battled back and forth with neither taking huge leads. In the deciding second set, the teams were tied at 13-13, 14-14 and 15-15 before Latvia scored twice on aggressive net play by both Samoilovs and Smedins to take a two point margin that they never relinquished.
With Latvia ahead at 18-16 following two Dittelbach hitting errors and a Samoilovs kill, Germany called a medical time out as Dittelbach required treatment for overheating in the hot, humid playing conditions. When play resumed, Dittelbach promptly served an ace to close to 17-18 and after Latvia went to 20-18, Koreng saved match point with a poke down the line over Samoilovs but Smedins ended the match on the next rally with his own poke to the left corner for the win.
In the second semi, Italy’s P. Ingrosso/M. Ingrosso outlasted the valiant effort of home country favorites in Mexico’s Ontiveros/Virgen in two sets, 28-26, 21-17 in 55 minutes as the Italian twin brothers now move to their first FIVB World Tour gold medal match.
In the marathon first set, the score was tied from 20-20 for seven consecutive points to 26-26 when Paulo Ingrosso scored on a kill down the middle and then ended the set with a vicious block at the net of Virgen. In the second set, there were seven ties and three lead changes with the Italians taking the lead for good at 12-11. With the score 19-17, Matteo Ingrosso hammered a kill and Paulo Ingrosso ended the set and match with a poke to the right corner over Virgen.
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 had men’s action ran from Tuesday through Saturday and has women’s competition running from Wednesday through Sunday. The tournament format had 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 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.
Mexico is also hosting the Inaugural FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships this year in Acapulco (July 15-20).
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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