Brazil sweeps Women’s podium at FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam
For the 50th time in the history of women’s competition on the FIVB World Tour there was all-Brazilian gold medal match. This one was held in Klagenfurt, Austria in a purpose-built venue at picturesque Klagenfurt Am Wörthersee. The powerful South American country has now earned FIVB women’s records of 438 final four placements, 360 total medals on the FIVB World Tour, including 133 gold, 113 silver medals, 114 bronze medals and 78 fourth place finishes. It is also the 20th time that Brazil has swept the podium in a women’s FIVB World Tour event and first time since an event in Brazil in 2008.
Sunday, the men will have their semifinals and medal matches to conclude the 2014 FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam. Local event information, including live scoring, match play-by-play and statistics are available at www.beachvolleyball.at.
FIVB PURSE, TOURNEY TOTALS
The FIVB Klagenfurt A1 Grand Slam is the 308th FIVB men’s tournament since its first event in 1987 and the 272nd FIVB women’s tournament since FIVB began women’s competitions in 1992. Gold medal winning teams in each gender in Klagenfurt will split $57,000, silver will receive $43,000, bronze medalists get $32,000 and the fourth place finishers will earn $24,000 of the $800,000 total purse.
GOLD MEDAL REVIEW
In the precisely-played all-Brazilian battle of former teammates, all four are Olympians and Juliana, Larissa and Talita are all also former FIVB World Tour point champions In Klagenfurt, Juliana and Larissa played nine times as a team winning gold medals in 2009 and 2010 in addition to winning the FIVB World Tour points championship seven times and the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Antonelli and Talita played four times together in Klagenfurt with a high of winning the bronze medal in 2012.
In front of an appreciative, applauding overflow crowd in the Klagenfurt stadium center court, Brazil’s 19th-seeded Larissa/Antunes rolled up their sleeves and in workmanlike fashion pushed and pulled just enough to hold off the repeated charges of their Brazilian compatriots fourth-seeded Antonelli/Juliana in two intense and entertaining sets, 22-20 and 21-19 in 38 minutes of an Austrian rhapsody in A1 sharp.
In the two sets, Brazil’s Antonelli/Juliana led in the first set led briefly at 16-15 after knotting up the score for the first time at 13, 14 and 15 before Talita’s pressure with repeated kills and Larissa’s defense and serves Talita ended the set with a cut shot and two blocks on Juliana.
In second set, Brazil’s Larissa/Talita jumped out front 3-0 and kept a cushion of two or three points throughout except for ties at 6-6 and 16-16. Brazil’s Larissa/Talita had set and match point at 20-18, but a Juliana kill down the line put her team within one before Talita ended the match with another kill that went off of Antonelli.
On the other side of the net, Brazil’s Larissa/Talita, 7-1 in Klagenfurt, were playing in just their third FIVB World Tour event as a team and this was their first final four after a pair of ninth-place finishes in The Hague and Long Beach. Individually, Larissa has now played in 118 FIVB events and 89 FIVB World Tour final fours with 47 gold, 20silver, 17 bronze and five fourth place finishes. Talita has now played in 134 FIVB events and has earned 63 FIVB World Tour final fours with 19 gold, 14 silver, 14 bronze and 16 fourth place finishes.
Brazil’s Antonelli/Juliana, 6-1 in Klagenfurt, were playing in their 11th FIVB World Tour event and sixth final four as a team. As a new team, Brazil’s Antonelli/Juliana has won four silver, one bronze and one fourth place finish. Antonelli has now played in 101 FIVB World Tour events, earning 44 final fours with nine gold, 12 silver, 13 bronze medals and 10 fourth place finishes. Juliana has now played 123 FIVB World Tour events and recorded 93 final fours with 45 gold, 24 silver, 18 bronze medals and six fourth place finishes.
This was actually the second meeting between the two new teams with Brazil’s Larissa/Talita winning in two sets in a pool play match last week in Long Beach, USA as well.
Following the post-match awarding ceremony Larissa said, “I want to thank all of the great fans here in Klagenfurt for cheering for us. It was great fun to play against my former partner in the final. The atmosphere was great and the match was really, really tough, today we were a little bit better and therefore we managed to win. Talita had some superb plays at the net and we needed every one of them.”
Talita remarked herself, “The fans in Klagenfurt are awesome. This is the best beach volleyball tournament in the world and I am very happy to have won the gold medal with Larissa. Hopefully we can defend our Klagenfurt title for years to come. We played well as a team today, we had to otherwise we definitely would have lost because Maria and Juliana weren’t fooling around and came very close. But it was our day and it feels unbelievable.”
BRONZE MEDAL REVIEW
Giving Brazil its first FIVB World Tour podium sweep since 2008, Brazil’s third-seeded Bednarczuk/Seixas won the bronze medal by defeating Italy’s 22nd-seeded Menegatti/Orsi Toth, 21-18, 21-18 in 40 minutes in front of an overflow crowd on the Klagenfurt stadium center court.
Both sets were close with Brazil’s Bednarczuk/Seixas playing consistently with just enough fewer mistakes to pull out both sets by the same scores.
Italy’s Menegatti/Orsi Toth duo , 5-3, were playing in just their 14th FIVB World Tour event and this was their third final four appearance. Individually, Menegatti, a 2012 Olympian has now played in 66 career FIVB international tournament with 15 FIVB World Tour final four appearances with four bronze medals and seven fourth place finishes. Viktoria has played in 26 career FIVB international tournaments with three FIVB World Tour final four placements including three fourth place finishes. In 2010 Menegatti/Orsi Toth won the silver medal at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships in Alanya, Turkey.
Brazil’s Bednarczuk/Seixas, 6-1 in Klagenfurt, duo was playing in their 19th FIVB World Tour event together and this is their fifth final four appearance with one gold medal, this year at the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open in Mexico and now four bronze medals as a team. Individually Bednarczuk is playing in her 74th FIVB career tournament while Seixas is playing in her 39th. This is the 10th FIVB World Tour final four for Bednarczuk with one gold medal, four bronze medals and two fourth place finishes. For Seixas, this was her eighth FIVB World Tour final four with one gold medal and five bronze medals.
The teams have now met four times this season with Brazil’s Bednarczuk/Seixas still undefeated at 4-0 for the brief series history, but this was the first time they met in a medal match, having previously met in the round of 16 this year in Long Beach and Stavanger with both going three sets and a two-set match in Berlin prior to Saturday’s win in Klagenfurt.
Seixas said after her team’s bronze medal win, “We have trained a lot and we have worked very hard and have had a very good season so far. It has been an exhausting season for us because we have to travel all the time, but we are happy to be here. I mean to play here with this crowd, this is incredible…amazing.”
With her sentiments, Bednarczuk commented, “It’s the first time we have played here in Klagenfurt, so we had wished so much for this medal. We know that the people know about the game and it was very nice. Part of the people from Austria are crazy fans, we love to play here. We played a much better match than we did in losing our semifinal but we did keep in close and made Larissa and Talita earn their win over us. It was amazing to have three Brazilian teams on the podium.”
Saturday’s final day of women’s competition in Klagenfurt started n the morning with the semifinal matches featuring three teams from Brazil and one from Italy.
Meeting in the first semifinal Saturday morning, Brazil’s Antonelli/Juliana opened the day in front of another huge crowd on the Klagenfurt stadium center court with a convincing two-set win over Italy’s Menegatti/Orsi Toth, 21-8, 21-18 in just 34 minutes.
The second semifinal was an-all Brazilian semifinal where seeds didn’t matter a bit because it was like another tournament on Copacabana Beach in Rio as Brazil’s Larissa/Talita avenged a pool play loss to Brazil’s Bednarczuk/Seixas, winning in two tight sets, 21-19, 21-18 in 35 minutes.
As lacking in drama was the first semifinal, from start to finish, the all-Brazilian semifinal was a daring dual in the Klagenfurt stadium center court sand where another full house saw Brazil’s Larissa/Talita overcome some early first-set mistakes to consistently keep control in both sets, if not by large margins to set up an all-Brazilian gold medal match.
In the first set, was tied for seven points up to 13-13 before Brazil’s Larissa/Talita went on two short runs, building up a 20-16 before their compatriots Bednarczu/Seixas scored three save points before Talita ended it with a vicious kill to the back left corner.
In the second set, the score was tied five times up to 5-5 when Brazil’s Larissa/Talita went on a 7-2 run to build up a 12-7 cushion and kept a three-point edge until Brazil’s Bednarczuk/Seixas closed to one point at 18-19 when Talita scored on two consecutive corner kills to end the set and match.
HOME IN KLAGENFURT
This year marked an unprecedented 17th time in the last 18 years that the Klagenfurt am Wörthersee site has hosted the international circuit. While the men’s world tour was in Klagenfurt 16 straight times from 1997 through 2012 for this magical summer festival, the women’s world tour was previously in Klagenfurt for 12 consecutive years from 2001 through 2012.
Arguably the most popular event of many ‘favorite’ events on the FIVB World Tour, the Klagenfurt venue features a purpose-built 8,000-seat stadium center court and massive two-story VIP hospitality area and private dock along with another private players dock alongside the shore of spectacularly beautiful Lake Woerth in western Klagenfurt, which is located in Southern Austria.