London, Great Britain, August 6, 2012 – With the thunder of ancient jousts on the hallowed grounds echoing inside the stadium, today’s knights of the battleground fought ferociously Monday as Brazil’s Alison Cerutti and Emanuel Rego eventually outlasted the gallant efforts of Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel to win the first men’s quarterfinal of the night on the road to the gold medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games beach volleyball competition at Horse Guards Parade in central London.
A total 24 men’s beach volleyball teams from 19 countries started playing in London last July 28 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.
As the overflow crowd that filled the 15,000-seat stadium for the 10 consecutive day as loudly and as supportively as any royal military festival on this site in ancient times, Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel finally edged by in the slightest of margins in the three-set joust, 21-17, 16-21 and 17-15 in 58 minutes.
The men’s quarterfinal matches are being held Monday in two sessions with two quarters in each session, the first started at 6 p.m. and the second session for the final two quarterfinals will start at 10 p.m. The quarterfinal winners will advance to the Tuesday’s semifinals that will also include the two women’s semis.
Brazil’s 2011 FIVB SWATCH World Champions and 2011 FIVB SWATCH World Tour titilists Alison/Emanuel needed every bit of their experience, strength and talent to hold off Poland’s Fijalek/Prudel, the first team from their country to qualify for beach volleyball in the Olympic Games.
Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel now have a 3-0 record over Poland’s Fijalek/Prudel but the first two wins were nowhere as close as this quarterfinal match. Poland’s Fijalek/Prudel end leave London with a 3-2 record and a fifth place finish in the London 2012 Olympic Games including a pool play victory over USA’s Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal.
It may be an ancient word, but joust genuinely described this spectacular match as the two teams jousted so closely that it was unable to predict who might close it out as after two close sets, the final joust known in these days as a tie-breaker went to overtime before Brazil’s Alison/Cerutti could pull at the win to advance to their first Olympic semifinal as a team. Emanuel himself is the only men’s five-time Olympian in this relative young sport on the Olympic medal list.
The first set saw ties at points one through eight as neither team would give an inch and was a total of 14 times the last at 17-17 before Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel pulled away with Emanuel scoring on a poke shot over Prudel to break the tie, Alison blocked and the return fell off the net out of bounds for another point.
The final two points of the first set were scored on an Alison block and ended on Alison’s diving opposite of the net hit an overhead dig that made it just inside the back line to score the point and win the set.
The second set had five ties and two lead changes as the Poland’s gritty and determined Fijalek/Prudel wouldn’t quit and took the win in the set by a five point margin as Prudel ended the set with an ace serve.
The deciding tiebreaker set was tied eight times including points one through four and the last one was at 15-15 after Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel had just taken the lead they would not relinquish as there were just three lead changes in the set. Poland’s Fijalek/Prudel’s biggest lead was at 11-8 and Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel had their largest lead at the final score.
Statistically for Brazil, Alison had three ace serves, nine kills, five blocks and six digs while Emanuel recorded 27 kills and 16 digs in a superlative effort on defense. For Poland, Fijalek had 16 kills and 14 digs and Prudel had one ace, 15 kills, two blocks and three digs.
Following the hard-fought match, Emanuel said, "It was a great game and very difficult. They played unbelievably and were very comfortable at the net where they gave us big problems. That type of match happens and Alison helped me a lot. The semifinal is going to be a great match and it is special to be in the semifinals."
Poland’s Fijalek commented, "I made many mistakes with my side-outs, too many. It was normal match and there was no stress, but there were too many mistakes and that ended the game."
In Monday’s second quarterfinal following the Brazil/Poland match, USA’s Jake Gibb/Sean Rosenthal will take on Latvia’s Martins Plavins/Janis Smedins.
Starting the late evening session at 10 p.m. Monday will be Germany’s Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann meeting Brazil’s Pedro Cunha/Ricardo Santos.
In the final quarterfinal match at 11 p.m., Netherlands’ Reinder Nummerdor/Richard Schuil will battle against Italy’s Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai.
For current information on the event, visit www.fivb.org.
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