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First FIVB title for Canada’s Bukovec/Miric at the U21 in Larnaka

Tia Miric (left) and Sophie Bukovec claimed gold in their first FIVB final
Larnaka, Cyprus, July 27, 2014 - Sophie Bukovec and Tia Miric claimed their first gold on Sunday at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships. The Canadians defeated Lithuania’s Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte 2-1 (21-19, 18-21, 15-10) in their first final ever.

Bukovec and Miric, with 18 and 17 the younger pair in the final, proved to have the strongest nerves in the tiebreak. It was point-by-point in the beginning until the Canadians created a gap from 6-6 to 10-6. At their first match point Bukovec served an ace to wrap up the gold.

“We had our ups and downs this season”, said Bukovec. “But us staying together is what made us come through the adversity and that’s why we ended up with the gold medal and I couldn’t be happier with our coach. She is fantastic.”

They were challenged hard by the Lithuanians, who won gold two years ago in Larnaka at the U19 World Championships. It resulted in some great rallies with both defence players, Povilaityte and Miric, digging balls of the sand from left to right.

“They are a tough team”, Bukovec said. “They play hard and they fight for everything. I have to give them that. But after the second set we just had to come out and win it. There is nothing to lose here, the environment is beautiful. We just had fun with each other and that is what got us the gold medal.”

Dumbauskaite and Povilaityte put aside their disappointment to be happy with silver. “The best team won tonight, I have to admit that”, Dumbauskaite said. “They were better than us, especially in the final set. Last night I dreamed that we would win the silver medal and here we are now celebrating second place.”

Second bronze for USA’s Claes/Hughes

USA’s Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes won their second FIVB bronze medal. After finishing third at the U19 World Championships in Porto last year, they claimed bronze with a 2-1 (21-16, 21-23, 15-7) win over Nina Betschart and Nicole Eiholzer from Switzerland.

“After losing the semifinal it was not easy in such a short time to play another game”, said Hughes. “But we had to focus quickly, the match was not easy winning in three sets.”

“It was a bit disappointing to lose the second set”, added Claes, “but we were tired from the semifinal. So we had to find any strength we had, to win the final set which came easier than we first thought at the beginning of the set.”

They would have liked to add another colour to the U19 bronze. “When we first came here our aim was to win the gold medal, but going home with the bronze medal in our suitcases is not bad after all.”

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