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NEWS

FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam women’s pool play hot on chilly day

 
In a battle of 2012 Olympians at the FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam, Argentina's Ana Gallay focuses intensely as Austria's Doris Schwaiger sets the Mikasa as Gallay and Maria Zonta upset Doris and her sister Stefanie Thursday night,
 

Corrientes, Argentina, May 23, 2013—Hoping to create the opportunity to advance to Friday’s round of 24 single elimination phase, eight women’s teams are undefeated after playing Thursday’s two of three rounds of pool play at the $440,000 FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam double-gender tournament. Undefeated with 2-0 records are three teams Germany, two from Brazil and one each from Czech Republic, Netherlands and the United States advanced. Using a tie-breaker point ration, leading the other pool is another team from Brazil with a 1-1 record.

Main Draw round-robin four-team pool play finishes with one match Friday morning. Pool Play will identify the final 24 teams for the single-elimination bracket where two additional rounds will also be played on Friday. The women’s portion of round 2 of the 10-event 2013 FIVB World Tour will conclude Saturday with the women’s quarterfinals, semifinals and medal matches. With the event being held for the first time in Corrientes the purpose-built site is located on the sands of Arazati Beach – Costanera Sur.

For the women, the eight undefeated teams are Germany’s Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, Karla Borger/Britta Buthe and Julia Grossner/Victoria Bieneck, Brazil’s Maria Antonelli/Agatha Bednarczuk and Taina Lima/Talita Antunes along with Czech Republic’s Marketa Slukova/Kristyna Kolocova, Netherlands’ Madelein Meppelink/Sophie van Gestal and USA’s Jennifer Kessy/April Ross.

Seven of these eight teams lead their respective pools except Czech Republic’s Slukova/Kolocova who have a lower point ratio than Brazil’s Lima/Antunes. Brazil’s Lima/Antunes and Czech Republic’s Sluova/Kolocova will meet tomorrow to decide the winner of their pool.

All eight pool winners will receive an automatic bye into the second round of the single-elimination tournament.

Tied with 1-1 records, Brazilian sisters Maria Clara Salgado/Carolina Salgado lead the other pool with a higher point ratio. All four teams in the pool have the same record. Besides the Salgados, the other teams are Russia’s Maria Prokopeva/Irina Chaika, Switzerland’s Stefanie Schwaiger/Doris Schwaiger and Argentina’s own Ana Gallay/Maria Zonta.

The lighted stadium court has been built to seat 7,500 spectators. With competition on the final four days schedule into the evening, the women’s semifinals and medal matches will be held on Saturday with the men’s semifinals and medal matches closing the tournament on Sunday. The men’s semifinals and medal matches will start at 2:30 p.m. local time on Sunday for the men’s final four matches.

In one of the biggest upsets of the day, played under the lights in front of an enthusiastic partisan crowd of several thousand to encourage them, Argentine 2012 Olympians Ana Gallay/Maria Zonta came from behind to defeat veteran Swiss Olympians Stefanie Schwaiger/Doris Schwaiger. Gallay/Zonta stopped the Swiss sisters, 11-21, 21-19 and 15-13 in 54 minutes. The victory was even sweeter as the Argentinean team lost their first match of the day in two sets to Russia’s Maria Prokopeva/Irina Chaika.

In Friday’s final pool play match, Argentina’s Gallay/Zonta will face Brazil’s Salgado sisters who lost the battle of the sisters earlier Thursday to the Schwaigers.

“We are very happy because they are a couple who reached the finals of the last FIVB World Tour and are one of the best teams in the world, Gallay after their match. After losing the first set, we could recover thanks to our strength. If we can have the same energy tomorrow, we can win so we hope people keep on cheering us.”

USA’s Kessy/Ross, the 2012 Olympic silver medalists, started their tournament with a strong performance defeating teams from Argentina and Kazhkstan.  They recorded the highest point ratio of any women’s team on Thursday at 1.527, scoring 84 points for the day while giving up 55 total points.

As the host nation, Argentina received three teams in each gender pre-positioned into the main draw. The women’s teams pre-positioned from Argentina are 2012 Olympians Ana Gallay/Maria Zonta, Natalia Flaviani/Georgina Klug and Alejandra Graino/Florencia Di Cesare.  While Gallay/Zonta where 1-1, the other two teams both ended the day 0-2.

The fiercely competitive opening day saw an average of two three-set matches in each pool and the longest women’s match of the day was 62 minutes between two Brazilian teams.  Fighting to the finish, Antonelli/Bednarczuk came from behind to defeat Barbara Seixas/Liliane Maestrini, 22-24, 21-17, 16-14.

The gold medal teams in each gender in the FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam will each split $33,000, the silver $22,000, the bronze $16,500 and fourth place $12,900. The women’s medal matches will be held on Saturday and the men’s medal matches on Sunday. The FIVB Corrientes Grand Slam is the 286th FIVB men’s event since the FIVB began play in 1989 and the 248th FIVB women’s tournament since they started in 1992.





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