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Women’s pool winners decided Friday at FIVB U17 World Championships

Serbia's Irena Drobnjak, left and Tijana Basic are all pumped up in Acapulco Friday morning after winning their pool to advance to the second elimination round at the inaugural FIVB Beach Volleyball U17 World Championships in Mexico.
Acapulco, Mexico, July 18, 2014 — Completing the last of four women’s round-robin pool play matches Friday morning, the 24 top under 17 year-old women now advance to the single-elimination rounds late Friday afternoon at the inaugural FIVB U17 Beach Volleyball World Championships being held through Sunday in Acapulco, Mexico.

A total of 29 women’s teams representing each of the five FIVB Confederations, started competing Wednesday at Playa Tamarindos in Acapulco Bay alongside of the sparkling Pacific Ocean as they strive to determine the first FIVB U17 World Champions on Sunday.

With temperatures consistently over 85 degrees Fahrenheit with 70 percent humidity under blazing blue sun baking Mexican skies, tournament officials gave an extended five-hour break before playing the first round of elimination play starting at 5 p.m. local time today.

With all the athletes under 17 years old, winning the six pools were women’s teams from the Czech Republic, Latvia, Puerto Rico, Serbia and two teams from the United States. All six teams will automatically advance to the round of 16 on Saturday morning to meet the winners of Friday afternoon’s first round of eliminations.

Winning their respective pools Friday were Czech Republic’s Natalie Honzovicova/Tereza Pluharova, Serbia’s Irena Drobnjak/Tijana Basic, Latvia’s Tina Graudina/Linda Gramberga, Puerto Rico’s Robilee Frederick/Natalie Cruz and the USA tandems of Haley Hallgren/Joy Dennis and Morgan Martin/Kathryn Plummer.

Czech Republic’s Honzovicova/Pluharova, Latvia’s Graudina/Gramberga USA’s Martin/Plummer were all unbeaten at 4-0 in winning their respective pools and also undefeated at 3-0 in their pool (which had one less team than the other five) was Puerto Rico’s Frederick/Cruz.

Serbia’s Drobnjak/Basic and USA’s Hallgren/Dennis won their pools on tiebreaker rules with 3-1 records.

In the final pool play matches that were played Friday morning, Czech Republic’s Honzoficova/Pluharova won in two sets over Costa Rica’s Lucia Gomez/Irene Gomez, 21-9, 22-20 in 34 minutes and Serbia’s Drobnjak/Basic defeated Italy’s Reka Orsi Toth/Silvia D’Este, 21-13, 21-13 in 37 minutes.

Also winning their final pool play matches Friday morning were USA’s Hallgren/Dennis who defeated Acapulco’s own Martha Luna/Daniela Garcia, 21-4, 21-15 in 37 minutes while USA’s Martin/Plummer beat Netherland’s Nika Daalderop/Susanne Kos, 21-9, 24-22 in 41 minutes.

USA’s Martin/Plummer duo was very encouraged with their 4-0 pool play record. Martin said after their win Friday morning, “We came out strong and it was a good battle. We had good ball control, but I have to say that they had a good service and a lot of motivation.”

Echoing similarly, Plummer added, “On the first set we had a consistent plan and it worked. However, on the second one we committed a few mistakes. But we pulled through. Now I’m looking forward to play against the Czech Republic. They won the European qualification tournament to be here and they are a very, very good team.”

Playing in the sand steps of FIVB World Tour stars who graced Playa Tamarindos three times previously for FIVB World Tour Open events, the FIVB U17 World Championships had women’s teams split into six pools for four round-robin matches within their respective pools. The top four teams from each pool, 24 teams, have advaned to the knockout, single-elimination rounds on Friday and Saturday to eventually lead to Sunday’s semifinals, bronze medal match and gold medal match and crowning of the first women’s FIVB U17 World Champion.

Five women’s teams representing Mexico in the championships have enjoyed the continuing enthusiastic home country fans throughout the tournament, compiling a combined pool play record of 9-10.

With all five of Mexico’s women’s teams advancing to the single elimination rounds, leading Mexico’s five women’s teams in pool play was Daniela Torres, Mexico City/Alejandra Tapia, Estado de Mexico with a 3-1 record. Citlali Padilla/Lucia Aguilera, both from Zacatecas, were 1-3 while Rocio Ramirez/Ana Aldape, both of Tamaulipas were 2-2 and Acapulco’s Martha Luna/Daniela Garcia advance with a 1-3 pool play record record.

Because their pool had four teams and the others had five each, Isis Camacho, Guasane/Olga Parra, Culican received a bye and did not play on Wednesday and had a 2-1 record to advance from pool play.

In addition to Mexico, other countries with two teams each in the women’s field are Australia, Russia and the United States. The teams from Australia ended up 2-5 in pool play, Russia’s teams were 3-5 while the USA’s tandems were 7-1.


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