Alanya, Turkey, September 19, 2010—Playing with the pride and poise of veterans, USA’s Tara Roenicke and Summer Ross made Beach Volleyball history as they defeated Italy’s talented Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth Sunday to win the women’s gold medal at the 2010 SWATCH FIVB Junior World Championships for Beach Volleyball players under the age of 21. The five-day, double gender event was held for the first time in Turkey at Milli Egemnlik, Obakoy in Alanya, on the Turkish Mediterranean.
USA's Tara Roenicke, left, watches while teammate Summer Ross jousts for the Mikasa at the SWATCH net with Italy's Viktoria Orsi Toth during USA's gold medal victory Sunday at the 2010 SWATCH FIVB Junior World Championships.
The event, which started 78 total men and women’s teams representing 32 nations saw Sunday’s medal matches in each gender televised live throughout Turkey on SportTV.
After dropping the first set, Roenicke, 19 of Alta Loma, Calif. and Ross, 17 of Carlsbad, Calif., came from behind on the sweltering, sun-drenched Alanya center court sand to win the gold medal match over the veteran team of Menegatti, of Rovigo and Orsi Toth, of Santeramo, 19-21, 26-24 and 15-13 in 74minutes, the longest match in the entire tournament for either gender. The Americans had leads in all three sets and had to fit back to stay in the match and win the final two sets over the more experienced and very talented Menegatti/Orsi Toth.
With the victory, Ross became the first athlete to win both the SWATCH FIVB Youth World Championships and the SWATCH FIVB Junior World Championships in the same year. Ross, who is home-schooled, won the youth title with Jane Croson in July in Porto, Portugal before returning to Alanya where she finished fifth in last year’s junior tournament here.
After the Italians won the first set, the Americans had several leads evaporate in the second set and after eight ties were able to finish it on a Roenicke kill off of an Orsi Toth block attempt. In the Third set, the Italians overcame an 11-6 deficit to tie the score at 13-13 before the USA secured the gold medal on a Ross kill to the back line and a Ross stuff of Menegatti’s block attempt at the net.
“I am speechless, I almost don’t know what to say I am so happy,” commented Ross following the very close championship match. “Tara and I tried to stay calm, be focused and just play point by point and somehow in the end it worked for us although the Italians were as tough a team to beat as I can remember playing at this level. Tara works so hard and makes so many great plays and between her and Jane I am know a double FIVB World Champion. I am really humbled and wouldn’t be here without them.”
Roenicke/Ross, who gave their the United States its first women’s medal and final four finish in this event, were undefeated at 7-0, winning five of the seven matches in two sets in Alanya.
Climbing to the top of the podium, Roenicke/Ross marched to the gold medal by first beating Check Republic’s Eliska Galova/Adela Machova (21-12 and 21-18 in 33 minutes), then besting Spain’s Maria Corral/Paula Soria (21-17 and 26-24) and Poland’s Beata Galek/Kinga Kolosinka (19-21, 21-14, 15-9 in 48 minutes) in pool play. In the single-elimination bracket play, the champions defeated Mexico’s Paola Avalos/Ana Rios (21-16 and 21-15 in 29 minutes) in the round of 16, Czech Republic’s Martina Bonnerova/Barbora Hermannova (21-16, 19-21 and 15-13 in 53) in the quarterfinals and Brazil’s Fabi Boogaerdt/Julia Schmidt (21-15 and 21-18 in 36 minutes) prior to their stunning gold medal victory over Menegatti/Orsi Toth.
In earning the silver medal, Menegatti/Orsi Toth, who finished with a 6-1 record, gave Italy its first women’s medal and first final four placement in the 10-year history of this event.
In another exciting match, Brazil’s Fabi Boogaerdt and Julia Schmidt, both of Rio de Janeiro came from way behind and then held off Germany’s Victoria Bieneck, of Weilheim and Chantal Laboureur, of Berlin, in three sets and 11-21, 21-18 and 16-14, to capture the Bronze Medal, in 51 minutes. In the first set, the German’s came out strong and seemed to be on their way to winning, but things got close in the second and then even closer in the tiebreaker third set that went overtime before the winner was decided.
In the deciding set, Brazil had two-point leads twice early, but then Germany caught up and the two teams exchanged points until a Laboureur cross court kill went wide just outside the team to end the match with Brazil on top.
Boogaerdt and Schmidt ended the international tournament with a 6-1 record while Bieneck/Laboureur left Turkey with a 5-2 mark.
The women’s podium placement gives Brazil nine women’s medals in the 10 years of this event. Brazil now has 10 women’s teams advance to the final four while Germany added its fourth team to the elite final four list.
This was the second-straight year that Turkey staged a world finale and fifth FIVB international beach volleyball event after hosting the 2009 SWATCH FIVB Youth World Championships for players under 19 years old last August in Alanya. The 2010 SWATCH FIVB Junior World Championships are was produced by Su Ltd. of Istanbul in association with the Turkish Volleyball Federation, based in Ankara. Erol Unal Karabiyik was President of the TVF and Dunya Baltacioglu is Tournament Director.
An IMG television crew was also-site to produce special segments from both genders to air internationally on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour highlight shows to air later this fall.
Additional event information is available at www.fivb.org as well as at www.beachvolleytr.com.