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Talking Stats: FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour - August 4

The huge crowd at the FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam shows it was Brazil week last week as teams from the South American powerhouse swept the women's podium in Austria and won the men's gold there and for both genders at the FIVB U19 World Championships.
Lausanne, Switzerland, August 4, 2014 - Another ‘immaculate reception at last week’s double-gender $800,000 FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam, earned Brazil a sweep the women’s podium for the 20th time as well as Brazil winning the men’s gold medal. The Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) produced another spectacular performance with a return to a venue for the ages in Klagenfurt, Austria.

The 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is now going on a two-week break after a run of four events in four weeks in four counries.

This past week, the FIVB World Tour was back in Austria after a one-year absence for the double-gender $800,000 FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam on the shores of the majestic Klagenfurt am Wörthersee.  The women’s final was on Saturday and the men’s on Sunday.

With 11 men’s events and 12 women’s tournaments now completed, rapidly brewed is another pot of mouth-watering 2014 FIVB World Tour pot full of stats from last week’s FIVB Klagenfurth A1 Grand Slam in Austria and the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championships in Porto, Portugal.

•    Former Partners Meet in Finals – In beach volleyball it’s not unusual for partners to split after seasons of playing together and then meet again with their new partners.  For Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca, who played 108 FIVB World Tour events together over nine seasons from 2004-2012, won seven Tour Points Championships together, a World Championship in 2011, and a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics, their meeting in the finals at the FIVB Klagenfurt Grand Slam was their second such meeting on the 2014 FIVB World Tour, and the first with a gold medal on the line.  Adding to the drama was the fact that their partners Talita Antunes, playing with Larissa, and Maria Antonelli, playing with Juliana, were also successful partners, playing 51 events together with eight FIVB World Tour gold medals from 2009-2012.  The first meeting, in Pool B last week at the FIVB Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach, was won by Larissa/Talita in a convincing manner, 21-15 and 21-17 in 39 minutes.  The gold-medal match in Klagenfurt was more competitive, but the results were the same with Larissa/Talita winning 22-20 and 21-19 in 38 minutes.  The victory secures Larissa in second-place in the all-time FIVB World Tour victory count with 47 to Juliana’s 45.  Had the results been reversed, both would have been tied for second with 46 behind USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings who won number 50 last week at the FIVB Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach.

•    Brazil Sweeps Podium – Beach volleyball powerhouse Brazil, swept the women’s podium for the 20th time at the FIVB Klagenfurt Grand Slam with Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes winning gold, Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta taking the silver, and Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas grabbing the bronze.  This is the 42nd time that Brazil has advanced at least three teams to the semifinals.  Only the United States, which has accomplished the feat twice in 2004 and 2008, has managed to sweep the women’s podium at an FIVB World Tour event.  The last time Brazil swept the podium was at the FIVB Quebec Open in July of 2011. Brazilian women’s teams accomplished a sweep five times in 2005 and four times in 1996.

•    Talita Becomes seventh Millionaire Winner – After winning her semifinal match at the FIVB Klagenfurt Grand Slam, Talita Antunes became the seventh woman to top the US$1Million mark in career winnings on the FIVB World Tour with $1,008,225.  Talita achieved the milestone after playing in 132 FIVB World Tour events and one FIVB Challenger.  She has won $87,875 this FIVB World Tour Season, and her best season was 2009 when she won $154,475 in 14 FIVB World Tour events with Maria Antonelli.  The other six “Millionaire” women in order of winnings are Juliana Felisberta (Brazil), Larissa Franca (Brazil), Shelda Bede (Brazil), Kerri Walsh Jennings (United States), Adriana Behar (Brazil), and Misty May-Treanor (United States).

•    19th, 22nd Seeds in Semifinals – The semifinals of the FIVB Klagenfurt Grand Slam featured two teams seeded 19th and 22nd, gold medalists Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes of Brazil and Italy’s Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth, who finished in first and fouth place, respectively.  This marks only the third time in FIVB World Tour history that two women’s final four teams have been seeded 19th or higher.  The first time was at the FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam in July 2006 with 23rd-seeded Stephanie Pohl/Okka Rau of Germany finishing fourth and 25th-seeded Leila Barros/Ana Paula Henkel winning the bronze medal.  The last time was at last-season’s FIVB Anapa Open with 27th-seeded Heather Hughes/Kaitlin Nielsen of the United States finishing in fourth place and Germany’s 24th Teresa Mersman/Isabel Schneider winning the silver medal.

•    Fendrick/Sweat Play Another Epic Battle – Following last week’s 53 minute two-set thriller, in the elimination round of 16, over Brazil’s Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta, 30-28 and 29-27 at the FIVB Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach, Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat outdid themselves this week at the FIVB Klagenfurt Grand Slam with a 55 minute two-set match.  Setting the 2014 FIVB World Tour record for longest two-set match for the second week in a row, the American pair lost this time to Jamie Broder/Kristina Valjas of Canada in Pool B action 25-23 and 23-21.  The 55 minutes is still 14 minutes shy of the all-time record for a women’s two-set match, set in the bronze-medal match of the FIVB Cape Town Open in November of 2005 when Brazil’s Maria and Carolina Salgado defeated fellow Brazilians Talita Antunes/Renata Ribeiro, 26-24 and 31-29 in one hour and nine minutes.

•    Brazil Finally Strikes Gold – FIVB World Tour powerhouse Brazil hadn’t won a men’s gold medal in the last eleven FIVB World Tour events, since the FIVB Xiamen Grand Slam in late October of last season.  All that changed when Alison Cerutti/Bruno Oscar Schmidt defeated Italy’s Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai in the finals of the FIVB Klagenfurt Grand Slam, 21-14 and 21-17 in 33 minutes to claim the gold.  Alison/Bruno had other opportunities to break the winless streak this season, including a gold-medal match loss to the same Italian team in the season-opening FIVB Fuzhou Open and also a finals loss to American’s Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal at the FIVB Gstaad Grand Slam last month.  The last Brazilian men’s team to strike gold was Alison and Vitor Felipe, who also had an opportunity to break the streak with his new partner, Ricardo Santos before losing also to Dalhausser/Rosenthal in the finals of the FIVB Stavanger Grand Slam, also last month.

•    An Unlikely Semifinalist – For Isaac Kapa/Christopher McHugh, it must’ve seemed like they were the most unlikely team to make the semifinals in the FIVB Klagenfurt Grand Slam.  Even though this has been a topsy-turvy season with eight men’s qualifying teams making the final four, the 21st-seeded Australians had finished no better than ninth this season, in their first event of 2014 at the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam in mid-June, and in their other five events, twice they had failed to advance to the 24-team elimination round, and three times they had lost in the first round to finish 17th.  What’s even more surprising is that the Aussies had won a mere 34.5% of their matches on the 2014 FIVB World Tour on the way to the semifinals in Klagenfurt, including a 6-15 won-loss record in pool play.  In addition the last time a men’s team from Australia made the semifinals was six years earlier at the FIVB Stare Jablonki Open in June of 2008 when Andrew Schacht/Joshua Slack won the bronze medal.

•    70 Point First Set – 2013 World Champions, Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands needed 36 points to win the first set in their match in the elimination round of 24 against Switzerland’s Philip Gabathuler/Mirco Gerson in Klagenfurt.  The 36-34 score, for 70 points, is the highest scoring men’s first set of the 2014 FIVB World Tour Season.  It breaks the record of 34-32 set by Poland’s Michal Kadziola/Jakub Szalankiewicz defeating Jon Stiekema/Christiaan Varenhorst of the Netherlands 34-32, 22-20 in 49 minutes at the FIVB Shanghai Grand Slam in early May.  The all-time record is 80 points in the semi-finals of the FIVB Stare Jablonki Grand Slam in August of 2010 when Phil Dalhausser/Todd Rogers recovered from the first set loss to defeat Brazil’s Marcio Araujo/Ricardo Santos 39-41, 21-19, and 15-12 in one hour and 28 minutes.   Despite winning the lengthy set, Gabathuler/Gerson prevailed in three sets 34-36, 21-19, and 15-10 in one hour and six minutes over the Dutch duo.  

•    Only Three Qualifiers in the Elimination Round – In a season where eight men’s teams have already advanced to the final four after making the main draw via the qualifying round, seven of which have won medals, only three qualifying teams advanced past pool play into the elimination round of 24 at the FIVB Klagenfurt Grand Slam.  That is the lowest men’s total for 2014 and ties for the third-lowest all-time.  Once before only one team advanced to the elimination rounds, and once two teams advanced; however it was a 16-team knock-out instead of the present-day 24-team version.  Both times, however, six of the non-advancing finished in 25th place, which would not have advanced them to the elimination round in 2014.  The first time was at the FIVB Mallorca Open in September of 2002 where Brazil’s Rogerio ‘Para’ Ferreira/Harley Marques was the only team to advance, finishing in 4th place, while Germany’s Kjell Schneider/Drazan Slacanin finished 17th. The second time was in July of 2003 at the FIVB Marseille Grand Slam where the only two teams to advance were Brazil’s Pedro Brazao/Paulo Emilio Silva, who finished in 9th place, and Dain Blanton/Jeff Nygaard, who won the bronze medal.

•    Brazil Sweeps Both U19 World Championships – Brazil matched its men’s and women’s sweeps at the FIVB Klagenfurt Grand Slam this weekend with a sweep of the Men’s and Women’s FIVB U19 World Championships in Porto Portugal.  Arthur Mariano/George Wanderley won for the men over Illia Kovaliov/Oleh Plotnytskiy of Ukraine 21-18, 21-23, and 15-11 in 49 minutes, and Eduarda Lisboa defended her U19 World Championship title of last year with Andressa Cavalcanti as they defeated Lisa Arnholdt/Sarah Schneider of Germany, 21-14, 13-21, and 19-17 in 44 minutes.  The two victories continue a long line of 13 previous Brazilian World Championships in the Age Group Divisions.  The following teams from Brazil have now captured gold medals in FIVB age-group World Championships:

o    Shaylyn Bede/Maria Clara Salgado, Women's Under 21 World Championships, 2001, Le Lavandou
o    Pedro Cunha/Anselmo Sigoli, Men's Under 21 World Championships, 2001, Le Lavandou
o    Juliana Felisberta/Taiana Lima, Women's Under 21 World Championships, 2002, Catania
o    Ian Borges/Pedro Salgado, Men's Under 18 World Championships, 2002, Xylokastro
o    Pedro Cunha/Pedro Salgado, Men's Under 21 World Championships, 2003, Saint Quay Portrieux
o    Taiana Lima/Carolina Salgado, Women's Under 21 World Championships, 2004, Porto Santo
o    Carolina Aragao/Barbara Seixas, Women's Under 19 World Championships, 2005, Saint Quay Portrieux
o    Camilla Saldanha/Carolina Salgado, Women's Under 21 World Championships, 2005, Rio de Janeiro
o    Carolina Aragao/Barbara Seixas, Women's Under 21 World Championships, 2006, Myslowice
o    Pedro Salgado/Bruno Oscar Schmidt, Men's Under 21 World Championships, 2006, Myslowice
o    Liliane Maestrini/Barbara Seixas, Women's Under 21 World Championships, 2007, Modena
o    Gustavo Carvalhaes/Allison Cittadin, Men's Under 21 World Championships, 2013, Umag
o    Eduarda Lisboa/Taina Silva, Women's Under 19 World Championships, 2013, Porto
o    Andressa Cavalcanti/Eduarda Lisboa, Women's Under 19 World Championships, 2014, Porto
o    Arthur Mariano/George Wanderley, Men's Under 19 World Championships, 2014, Porto

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