London, Great Britain, July 29, 2012 – Effervescently enjoying effervescently the opportunity to perform on the international stage of the London 2012 Olympic Games, 24 women’s beach volleyball teams from 17 countries will begin round 2 of 3 pool play matches Monday in the purpose-built, sold-out 15,000-seat stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade as the majestic venue also includes a portion of adjacent St. James Park in historic central London.
Being treated as graciously by the mostly British crowd as they would be visiting British royalty in Buckingham Palace, round robin pool play continues with three sessions on Monday starting at 9 a.m. and continuing to the final match of the day starting at 11 p.m. with these 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams playing their third and final pool play matches of these Olympic Games on Wednesday.
Looking to inspire a generation at the historic iconic venue, the 24 teams in each gender took to the sand starting Saturday in the magnicificent stadium that rests on hallowed ground in the shadow of legendary British Army commanders-in-chief memorial statues and the next door neighbor of No. 10 Downing Street, better known as the home of British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Saving a showcase match for the end of Monday’s action, closing the day at 11 p.m. Monday under the London lights like they did Saturday in a match between a pair of teams 1-0 in pool play will be USA’s equally-inspiring two-time defending Olympic gold medalists Misty May-Treanor/Kerri Walsh, who defeated Australia, will play Czech Republic’s 10th-seeded Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova who beat Austria Saturday.
USA’s May-Treanor/Walsh will be look to extend their perfect record 15-0 record in the Olympic Games history and the Americans lead the series with the Czech team, 2-0. It will also be May-Treanor's 35th birthday on Monday.
Both hoping to rebound from first day pool play losses on Saturday, opening play at 9 a.m. on Monday at Horse Guards Parade will be Czech Republic’s Lenka Hajeckova/Hana Klapalova (who lost to Germany) against Maritius’ 24th-seeded Elodie Li Yuk Lo/Natacha Rigobert (who were beaten by Brazil on Saturday). The two teams have not met on the court before.
In between will be four additional women’s matches, but none potentially bigger than a pair of 1-0 teams dueling in the arena at Horse Guards Parade. Brazil’s top-seeded six-time FIVB SWATCH World Tour champions and 2011 FIVB SWATCH World Champions Juliana Felisberta Silva/Larissa Franca facing off with Germany’s 12th-seeded Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler as the first women’s match in the second session at 3:30 p.m. Juliana/Larissa lead the series between the two teams, 6-2.
Juliana/Larissa and Hotlwick/Semmler played near-flawless in their first pool play match wins, Brazil defeating a team from Maritius and Germany overpowering a team from the Czech Republic, both teams winning in two impressive sets.
In looking forward to Monday’s match against Brazil, Semmler said, “In order to be the best you have to play the best and beat the best and this is what we are looking forward to on Monday. We’re just the second German team so there is no pressure on us and we hope to use the support we have from the spectators to help us reach another level to challenge Juliana and Larissa. They have no weak points, only strong ones so we just have to play without errors and know we have done our best.”
In the second women’s match in the morning session, after suffering a huge upset loss on Saturday in the first match of these Olympic Games, the 10 a.m. match will feature China’s second-seeded Chen Xue/Xi Zhang (to Russia) meeting Switzerland’s 11th-seeded Simone Kuhn/Nadine Zumkehr, who won their opening match on Saturday against Greece. China’s Xue/Zhang lead the series between the two teams, 5-1, although Kuhn/Zumkehr won the last meeting between the two teams in Rome in June.
Greece’s 14th-seeded Vasiliki Arvaniti/Maria Tsiartsiani, who lost on Saturday to Switzerland, will be the second women’s match of the midday session at 4:30 p.m. Monday meeting Russia’s youthful 23rd-seeded Anastasia Vasina/Anna Vozakova, who upset second-seeded China on Saturday. This will be the first meeting between the two teams.
In Monday‘s first match of the evening session at 10 p.m. will be a pair of 0-1 teams in Austria’s 15th-seeded sisters Doris Schwaiger/Stefanie Schwaiger (who lost to a Czech Republic team Saturday) and Australia’s 22nd-seeded NatalieCook/Tamsin Hinchley (who lost to USA on Saturday). The Schwaigers have a 3-2 lead in the series history between the two teams, including winning the last two meetings this year in Sanya, China and Rome.
The tandems in London have been split equally into six pools, playing each team in their group, with the top two advancing to the single-elimination knockout phase that begins on August 3 along with the two best third-placed teams. The remaining four third-place teams will then compete in playoff matches to determine which pairs will fill the final two places in the 16-team eliminaation bracket’s first round.
Sixteen teams qualified for the Games through the Olympic Ranking which is based primarily on world tour standings, with five more joining as winners of the AVC, CAVB, CEV, CSV and NORCECA Continental Cup Finals and two from the World Cup Olympic Qualification Tournament. Great Britain was granted a berth as hosts.
The sold-out beach volleyball competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games is being held through Aug. 9 in a purpose-built 15,000-set stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade in central London. For current information, visit www.fivb.org.
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