Canada vs. Brazil for women’s Beach Volleyball Nanjing 2014 Olympic Games gold medal
Nanjing, China, August 26, 2014 - It will be North America versus South America for the women’s Beach Volleyball gold medal at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games after pairs from Canada and Brazil won semi-final matches here Tuesday afternoon at the venue located within the Nanjing Sports Park Complex.
In a repeat of the semi-final match in Portugal some 3½ weeks ago at the FIVB under-19 world championships, the McNamara twins (Megan and Nicole) avenged a Porto setback to Lisa Arnholdt and Sarah Schneider by defeating the Germans 2-0 (21-18 and 21-18) in a 33-minute match to open play Tuesday.
The McNamara now play Ana Patricia Silva and Eduarda Lisboa Tuesday evening for the gold medal as the Brazilians continued their winning ways in the second semi-final Tuesday by defeating Nadezda Makroguzova and Daria Rudykh of Russia 2-0 (21-18 and 21-19) in a 38-minute match. The Russians will play Arnholdt and Schneider for the bronze medal to start the evening session.
After winning a nip-and-tuck first set, the Canadians roared to a 15-8 lead in the second set and appeared headed “easily” to their eighth-straight win in the competition. However, Arnholdt and Schneider regained their composure to take a 16-15 lead. As “cool Canadians” as one veteran follower of Beach Volleyball nicknamed the twins, the McNamaras did not crack under the pressure and quickly broke a 17-17 tie to finish the match with a 4-1 run.
“It is a pretty neat feeling,” said Megan McNamara after the match about being guaranteed a medal. “When we found out we were going to be playing them (Germany), we knew they were a great team that would be tough to beat. It will be very hard match with Brazil. They are an amazing team that plays very hard.”
When asked about the Germany run in the second set, Nicole McNamara said “they got the momentum. We kind of unraveled, but we regrouped after the timeout.”
Schneider said “we had our chances. The breaks did not go our way. The Canadians play hard all the time. We could not make the plays we needed to.”
Makroguzova and Rudykh had “late” leads in both sets against Ana Patricia and Eduarda, but the Russians were hampered with mistakes. Trailing 15-12 in the second set, the Brazilians tied the match at 16s and took the lead for good on the next rally to secure their eighth-straight win of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
“I am very happy and it was a very tough match,” said the 16-year old Eduarda after the semi-final meeting with Russia. “We started the match slow, but we were patient and we came back.”
The 15-year old Ana Patricia was also “happy, especially since I am new to Beach Volleyball. I am excited to be doing this well.” As the tallest women in the Youth Olympic Games at 193 cm (6’4”), Ana Patricia said her “blocks kept showing up at the right time.” As for playing Canada, the 15-year old Brazilian said the McNamaras are “very tough competitors. We will need to concentrate.”
Rudykh said she “was disappointed. I have no emotions right now. They (Brazil) are good, but they also make mistakes, so they are beatable.”
In becoming one of the most-decorated junior Beach Volleyball players in history, Eduarda will be seeking her third gold medal at a FIVB-sanctioned event for players under the age of 19. With a personal 17-match winning streak this season to improve her 2014 match record to 27-4, Eduarda teamed with Andressa Cavalcanti to capture the 2014 FIVB U19 world title earlier this month in Portugal.
The Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games is also Eduarda’s eighth appearance in a FIVB-sanction junior event with a current 47-6 match mark. The 2013 U19 world finals were also played in Porto with Eduarda netted the top spot on the podium with Taina Silva after placing second earlier in that season with Thais Rodrigues Ferreira in Poland.