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Talking Stats: 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour—June 30

Warmly known as 'six feet of sunshine' USA's gritty three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh Jennings, 35, celebrates during her third gold medal of the 2014 FIVB World Tour with new teammate April Ross as the new duo has a 29-2 match record this year.
Lausanne, Switzerland, June 30, 2014 — Rapidly reaching the mid-point of the season with seven men’s events and eight women’s tournaments now completed, the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) will see its 2014 US$10.2 million FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour enjoy a brief, but well-earned rest this week.

Having just completed three successful FIVB Grand Slam tournaments in as many weeks, the 2014 FIVB World Tour will resume July 8-13 with a string of four consecutive massive major events in four countries. Launching this schedule segment will be the US$800,000 FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam in Switzerland.

Fresh from the North Sea, here are some dandy delectable delights from the FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam, as the FIVB World Tour enjoys a brief holiday. A selection of the latest faire of FIVB Beach Volleyball favorites:

•    American gold medal sweep – The United States swept both genders’ gold medals at the FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam with April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings winning the women’s title on Saturday, and Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal winning the men’s on Sunday.  It is the 13th time that the United States has won gold medals for both genders at a single event on the FIVB World Tour with the last time in July, 2012 at the FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam when Walsh Jennings won with Misty May-Treanor and Rosenthal won with Jake Gibb.  Only three other countries have pulled off a double-gender gold sweep with Russia doing it once at the Anapa Open in 2013, China also one time at the Moscow Grand Slam in 2010, and Brazil achieving the feat 55 times.

•    Still no Spanish gold – Spain’s Elsa Baquerizo and Liliana Fernandez reached the women’s final in Stavanger, but failed for the third time to bring home a women’s gold medal for Spain.  Elsa and Lili also reached the finals in the FIVB World Tour 2013 season-opening Fuzhou Open, losing to China’s Chen Xue/Xi Zhang 14-21 and 10-21 and missed their best chance at the FIVB Aland Open in 2012, losing to Germany’s Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler in three sets, 18-21, 21-19, and 9-15.  In the history of the FIVB World Tour, Spain has entered 340 women’s teams in 172 events with Baquerizo and Fernandez having all four of their nation’s medals, three silvers and one bronze.

•    Best finish for Slovak Republic – With their semifinal appearance in the FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam, Natalia Dubovcova/Dominika Nestarcova became the first team from the Slovak Republic, in either gender, to make a final four in an FIVB World Tour event.  Their bronze medal was the first for the European country whose best previous FIVB World Tour finish was three fifth-place finishes by Dubovcova/Nestarcova at the FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam in July, 2012, the FIVB Rome Grand Slam in June, 2013, and the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam in July, 2013.

•    Three USA women’s teams in Elite Eight – Three women’s teams from the United States advanced to the quarterfinals in Stavanger.  Along with gold medalists April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings, Emily Day/Summer Ross and Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat also had fifth-place finishes.  While this is the 57th time that the United States has had at least three women’s teams with a fifth-place finish or better in an FIVB World Tour event, it marks the first time the American women have achieved the feat since the FIVB Stare Jablonki Grand Slam in July, 2011.  The Americans did it three times that season including the FIVB World Championships in Rome (silver and two fifth-places) and the FIVB Brasilia Open (silver, bronze, fourth).

•    Round of 16 battles – All eight women’s round of 16 matches at the FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam required three sets, marking the first time this has happened for the women in an FIVB World Tour 32-team pool play, 24-team single elimination format.  The previous women’s record was six three-set matches at the FIVB Rome Grand Slam last season.  Counting both genders in the 112 previous FIVB World Tour events with this format, it has happened only once previously, at the men’s FIVB Berlin Grand Slam last season.  There have also been three events with no three-set matches in the round of 16, with all three happening earlier this season in the men’s FIVB Anapa Open,  the women’s FIVB Prague Open, and the women’s FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam.

•    Winless streak finally broken – Before winning the gold in Stavanger, United States Olympians Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal hadn’t won an FIVB World Tour event in eleven months, since the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam in July of last season.  While this was only their seventh FIVB World Tour event together during that time frame, it was easily their longest “gold-less” streak since swapping Olympic partners to start the 2013 season.  The pair, who won three FIVB World Tour events last season has four wins in their 13 events together.  

•    Two More qualifiers in the final four – Following up last week’s success in the FIVB Berlin Grand Slam where three men’s teams from the qualifying tournament graced the podium, two more qualifying teams made the semifinals in Stavanger.  This is only the fifth time in FIVB World Tour history that at least two men’s qualifying teams have made the final four and the first time that both lost their semifinal matches.  The 26th- and 29th-seeded teams are the two lowest combinations to make a final four, topping the 27th- and 24th-seeded teams last week in Berlin.

•    Lowest three seeds in final four – Except for the top-seeded gold medal winning team of Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal in Stavanger, the other three seeds in the semifinals tied the lowest combination of all-time at 69 with 14th-seeded Alvaro Filho/Ricardo Santos of Brazil, 26th-seeded Alexandr Dyachenko/Alexey Sidorenko of Kazakhstan, and 29th-seeded Philip Gabathuler/Mirco Gerson of Switzerland.  The record this event tied was the 13th, 25th, and 31st seeds in the FIVB Berlin Grand Slam last season.

•    Best finish for Kazakhstan – With their semifinal berth at the FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam, Alexandr Dyachenko/Alex Sidorenko of Kazakhstan captured their country’s best all-time FIVB World Tour finish for either gender.  The previous best men’s finish for the Asian nation was a seventh-place by Dyachenko and Oleksiy Kulinich at the FIVB Dubai Open in October, 2008.  The previous best women’s finishes for Kazakhstan are two fifth-places in the FIVB Xiamen Grand Slam last season and the FIVB Thailand Open in 2012.

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