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Men battle through heated first matches at FIVB U17 World Championships

France's Marc Darrieux, right, goes up high over the night to block poke shot by Turkey's Mehmet Yildiz during France's two-set win over the team from Turkey during pool play Wednesday at the inaugural FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships
Acapulco, Mexico, July 16, 2014 — Setting the stage for double-intense battles in the sand on Thursday, some of the top international under 17-years-old men’s stars of the future played one match Wednesday to open the men’s competition at the inaugural FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships being held through Sunday in Acapulco, Mexico.

A total of 25 men’s teams representing each of the five FIVB Confederations have gathered at Playa Tamarindos in Acapulco Bay alongside of the glistening Pacific Ocean to chart history in each gender to determine the first FIVB U17 World Champions on Sunday.

Playing in the sand steps of FIVB World Tour stars who graced Playa Tamarindos three times previously for FIVB Open events, the FIVB U17 World Championships has men’s teams split into five pools for three round-robin matches within their respective pools. The top teams will then advance to the knockout, single-elimination rounds of the tournament to eventually lead to the first FIVB U17 titles.

As the host nation, Mexico has three men’s and four women’s teams in their respective main draws. Mexico’s men’s teams in the championships on Wednesday gave the host country plenty to cheer about, compiling a 2-1 record on opening day.

Mexico’s Jose Cardena/Raymond Stephens, both of Colima, opened the tournament on the Playa Tamarindos center court with a three-set crowd-pleasing, one hour, four-minute  three-set victory over Portugal’s Joa Alves/Simao Pedrosa, 21-16, 16-21, 15-11.

The next Mexican duo, Carlos Hernandez/Wilfrido Martinez , both from Coatzacoalcos, lost to the United States tandem of Will Schlotman Bantle, 12-21, 17-21 in 36 minutes before Mexico’s Miguel Verduzco/Miguel Sarabia, both from Tijuana, provided the host country another three-set win, coming from behind to defeat Canada’s Jordan Pereira/Taryq Sani, 15-21, 21-19, 17-15 in 59 minutes.

Following his team’s exciting victory, Sarabia said, “That was an exciting match. The competition here is tough but we are happy to be here. We want to learn beach volleyball, be competitive and work for an opportunity to play on the FIVB World Tour against the world’s great pro players.

After pausing to drink another quick bottle of water, Sarabia continued, “It was hot out there today, but this is our country and we love it so with the fan’s helping us we didn’t seem as bothered by the heat as the Canadian team.”

In addition to Mexico, other countries with two teams each in the men’s field are Australia, Canada, Portugal, Russia and the United States. Australia, Canada, Russia and the USA teams each split their opening matches while both teams from Portugal lost their matches.

As part of the initiatives of FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° and his leadership team, the 2014 FIVB Beach Volleyball international calendar also includes a record four age-group FIVB World Championships along with the 2014 Nanjing (China) Youth Olympic Games (Aug. 17-27). The FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships are debuting this year while the FIVB U23 World Championships (Myslowice, Poland, June 10-15) debuted in 2013. This year will mark the 14th annual FIVB U21 World Championships (Larnaka, Cyprus, July 23-27) and the 13th annual FIVB U19 World Championships (Porto, Portugal, July 29-Aug. 3).

The 2014 FIVB age groups world championships got started in Poland with Poland’s Maciej Kosiak/Maciej Rudol winning the men’s gold medal for the home country and Australia’s Mariafe Artacho/Nicole Laird winning the women’s gold medal in the FIVB U23 World Championships.


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