Brazil hold off Norway to advance to main draw
In a tight match that lasted over an hour the number one seeds lost the first set to Norway’s Benedicte Maaseide and Cecilie Woie, but came back strong in the second. In the tiebreak the Brazilian girls survived three Norwegian match points to finish the game at their second: 20-22 21-10 19-17.
“I was so nervous because it was our first game and it was also my first international match with the national selection”, Paula said. “So, I am very happy we won.”
The 16-year old did not compete in any other FIVB age group event yet, but participated in a beach volleyball event for Portuguese speaking countries in Portugal before. “Porto feels like home, I think Brazil is not so different from here. It’s the same language and it makes me feel at home.”
Paula and Andressa will join the other Brazilian team, 14-year old U23 silver medallist Eduarda Santos Lisboa and her partner Taina Silva Bigi, in the main draw on Thursday.
“I want to play my best volleyball here”, Paula said, “And get the highest ranking possible.”
French girls out to better themselves
Another team advancing to the main draw was France’s Margaux Carrere and Ophelie Lusson. They defeated Dunja Gerson and Anja Licka from Switzerland 2-0 (21-8 21-19) and had another 2-0 (23-21 21-19) win over USA’s Skylar Caputo and Delaney Knudsen.
The 17-year olds finished 9th at the U21 World Championships in Umag just a few weeks ago and are determined to better themselves. “We want to improve our result here. Maybe a final”, Carrere said.
The French girls are experiencing their first summer of beach volleyball after their coach got them excited for the game. They are getting better and better, but were not that happy with their play on Wednesday.
“It was a very difficult match. We made a lot of mistakes, so it was difficult for us to win, but we did”, Carrere said. “We are tired because we had a competition in France. But tonight we will get a good sleep and do better tomorrow.”
The girl's main draw starts on Thursday with a round robin competition in eight pools with each four teams. The semifinals and medal matches are scheduled for Sunday.