London 2012

Press release

Latvia’s Plavins/Smedins start Thursday with major upset

In a major upset in Thursday's morning, Latvia's 17th-seeded Martins Plavins, pictured, and Janis Smedins, overwhelmed Netherlands' fifth-seeded Reinder Nummeerdor/Richard Schuil to finish pool play at the London 2012 Olympic Games

London, Great Britain, August 2, 2012 – Starting the fireworks early Thursday morning, Latvia’s Martins Plavins/Janis Smedins pulled off a stunning upset Netherlands’ fifth-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Richard Schuil to win the pool they were both in as Day 5 began for the London 2012 Olympic Games beach volleyball competition.

All the crowd-pleasing, heart-pounding action is being held in the purpose-built, sold-out 15,000-seat stadium on the grounds of the iconic Horse Guards Parade as the majestic venue includes a portion of adjacent St. James Park in historic central London.

With four matches in Thursday’s morning session, the last of three pool play matches were played to begin the completion process of setting the stage for the elimination bracket rounds, Latvia’s 17th-seeded Plavins/Smedins completed pool play with a 3-0 record after a dominating two-set upset of Netherlands’ fifth-seeded Nummerdor/Schuil, 21-14, 21-18 in 38 minutes. Latvia’s Plavins/Smedins had a 6-1 set record in their three round-robin matches as the second team from Latvia in London improved to 1-3 against the veteran Dutch duo following their first win in the series.

With two men’s and two women’s matches each session, Thursday’s competition is featuring the last of three pool play round robin matches with other half of the 24 total teams for each gender in action today.

Some teams were fighting to win their pools and gain a better placement in single elimination while others were battling not to be eliminated. A total of 16 teams in each gender will advance to the elimination rounds which start with the Round of 16 for each gender split into two days of competion, the first on Friday and last on Saturday. Drawing for bracket placement for the other advancing teams besides the pool winners will be as play finishes Friday night.

Both entering the match undefeated at 2-0, Latvia’s Martins/Smedins took charge early and never let up to finish first in their pool and move forward in a good bracket position for the single-elimination bracket play. Statisically for Latvia, Plavins had one service ace, 15 kills and eight digs while Smedins contributed one ace as well along with 16 kills, three blocks and seven digs to the winning effort.  For Netherlands, Nummerdor had six kills and 13 digs while Schuil had 18 kills and three blocks.

Plavins said after the upset win, “We were surprised they made so many mistakes in the first set. In my opinion they are one of the teams that can win a medal, so I am surprised we beat them. The weather was great this morning and there were lots of Latvians in the huge crowd. We’re happy, but we can’t relax as the next match will be much harder. There are no easy games now, only the highest level.”

On the women’s side, a first-time meeting between Netherlands’ ninth-seeded Sanne Keizer/Marleen van Iersel eliminate Argentina’s 21st-seeded Ana Gallay/Virginia Zonta with their third pool play setback, 21-12, 21-16 in 36 minutes. Both teams entered the match without a win and Netherlands’ still have an opportunity to advance to single-elimination play with a 1-2 pool play record.

Statistically, Netherlands’ Keizer had 17 kills, three blocks and six digs and van Iersel had two aces, 10 kills and 10 digs. For Argentina, Gallay had one ace, five kills, four blocks and four digs while Zonta had 13 kills and four digs.

Overjoyed with relief, Keizer commented after her team’s win “I feel relieved. We won our first match with very good play. Now we need to win some more to help our sport grow even more in Holland.”

In the other men’s match of the session, Brazil’s top-seeded Alison Cerutti/Emanuel Rego held off the challenge by Italy’s 13th-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai, 26-24, 21-18 in 43 minutes to win their pool with a 3-0 record while Italy struggled to a 1-2 round-robin record. The winners are now 7-1 all-time over the Italians. Italy must now wait the final match in their pool between Switzerland and Austria to determine if they will advance or be eliminated. Brazil’s Alison/Emanuel won their pool with a 6-1 set record.

In the other women’s match of the morning session, which also involved an Italian team, Italy’s seventh-seeded Greta Cicolari/Marta Menegatti completed a 3-0 run in pool play after overcoming 19th-seeded Marie-Andree Lessard/Annie Martin who gamely fought but were eliminated in three sets with an 0-3 record, 21-12, 23-25 and 15-10 in 56. Italy is now 2-0 all-time against this Canadian team. Italy’s Cicolari/Menegatti won their pool with a 6-2 set record.

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