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Women’s final four set for Saturday’s semis, medal matches at FIVB Paraná Open

USA's 27th-seeded Irene Hester, pictured, and teammate Caitlin Ledoux have surprised everyone but themselves while earning a 5-0 match record while advancing to the semifinals of this week's FIVB Parana Open in Argentina.
Paraná, Argentina, October 31, 2014 — Rapidly building to a close, four teams, including three from Brazil and one from the United States endured boiling heat, a day of strong rain showers, and stiff competition to reach Saturday’s semifinals and medal matches at this week’s double-gender US$150,000 FIVB Paraná Open.

Back in Argentina for the sixth time and in Paraná for the first time the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour stop is being held in Paraná through Sunday in a purpose-built venue at Balneario Thompson in Paraná, located in the Entre Rios province on the eastern shore of the Paraná River.

On Saturday, the women’s semifinals and medal matches and awarding ceremony will all be held. On Saturday, the men will begin their single-elimination with the round of 24, round of 16, and quarterfinals to set the stage for Sunday’s men’s semifinals medal matches, and awarding ceremony.

With three spots on the podium awaiting, Saturday’s women’s semifinal matchups will see Brazil’s second-seeded Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes meeting USA’s surprising 27th-seeded Irene Hester/Caitlin Ledoux and Brazil’s 23rd-seeded Rebecca Cavalcanti/Liliane Maestrini will challenge  Brazil’s fourth-seeded Maria Clara Salgado/Carolina Salgado in an all-Brazilian semifinal..

The FIVB Paraná Open is the 312th FIVB men’s tournament since its first event in 1987 and the 276th FIVB women’s tournament since FIVB began women’s competitions in 1992. Gold medal winning teams in each gender in FIVB Paraná Open will split $11,000, silver will receive $8,000, bronze medalists get $6,000 and the fourth place finishers will earn $4,500 of the $150,000 total purse.

With this being the second year of the new Olympic cycles, featuring three new teams of veteran players, the semis will pit teams that have not played against each other in these pairing combos.

In the first semifinal, this is the sixth FIVB World Tour event as a team for Larissa/Talita, 5-0 in Paraná and the pair has won three consecutive gold medals. Larissa is an eight-time FIVB World Tour point champion and Talita won the championship last year before teaming up with each other. Individually, both have over $1 million in career earnings. Larissa has earned 49 FIVB gold medal in her career while Talita has won 21 gold medals including the three from this new partnership.

Attempting to challenge Brazil’s Larissa/Talita will be USA’s Hester/Ledoux duo, who has a 5-1 record in Paraná that is competing in just their second event as a team. Their first FIVB World Tour event was this FIVB Fuzhou Open in China where they earned a ninth-place finish. Individually, for Hester this is just her second FIVB World Tour event. Both former collegiate indoor players, Hester played indoor volleyball in Europe before returning to develop a beach career. LeDdoux recently finished playing for Long Beach State in Southern California.

In the all-Brazilian second semifinal Saturday, the Salgado sisters are playing in their 125 FIVB tournament with 21 previous final four finishes and as a team they have won two FIVB career gold medals. Brazil’s Maestrini/Cavalcanti are playing in just their second FIVB tournament as a team with a ninth place finish at the end of September in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Both teams are 5-0 in the FIVB Paraná Open.

All played under the lights on the Paraná stadium court, the four quarterfinals produced three Brazilian teams and one from the USA for the final four.

Brazil’s second-seeded Larissa Franca/Talita Antunes got things started by beating Czech Republic’s ninth-seeded Barbora Hermannova/Martina Bonnerova, 21-13, 22-20 in 31 minutes, USA’s 27th-seeded Irene Hester/Caitlin Ledoux outstanded Germany’s eighth-seeded Sandra Seyfferth/Anni Schumacher, 18-21, 21-18 and 49 minutes, Brazil’s fourth-seeded Maria Clara Salgado/Carolina Salgado ousted. Canada’s sixth-seeded Jamie Lynn Broder/Kristina Valjas in three more tough sets, 15-21, 23-21 and 15-11 in 50 minutes.
The losers in the quarterfinals all leave Paraná with official fifth-place finishes and purses of $3,375 per team.

In the first four matches in the round of 16 played on Friday morning, Brazil’s Larissa/Talita defeated Greece’s 10th-seeded Maria Ttsiartsiani/Vasiliki Arvaniti, 21-15, 21-9 in 24 minutes, Czech Republic’s Hermannova/Bonnerova beat Venezuela’s 17th-seeded Olaya Perez/Norisbeth Agudo, 21-18, 21-12 in 31 minutes, USA’s LeDoux/Hester upset Canada’s 12th-seeded Kacie MacTavish/Caleigh Whitaker, 21-19, 21-18 in 42 minutes and Germany’s Seyfferth/Schumacher upset Italy’s third-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth, 21-18, 21-19 in 38 minutes,

In the second set of the  round of 16 matches, Brazil’s Maria Clara Salgado/Carolina Salgado held off Italy’s 15th-seeded Giulia Momoli/Laura Giombini, 23-21, 17-21, 15-11 in 55 minutes, Canada’s Broder/Valjas battled back to eliminate France’s 15th-seeded Melinda Adelin/Deborah Giaoui, 21-12, 17-21, 15-10 in 44 minutes, Brazil’s Cavalcanti/Maestrini survived against USA’s 22nd-seed Allison Daley/Emily Stockman in another three-setter, 23-21, 19-21, 15-11 in 55 minutes and Argentina’s top-seeded Gallay/Klug overcame USA’s fifth-seeded Lane Carico/Kimberly Dicello, 21-16, 21-17 in 37 minutes.

The losers in the round of 16 were eliminated and leave Paraná with official ninth-place finishes and purses of $2,000 per team.

As the host nation, Argentina has six men’s and five women’s teams in their respective main draws.

For the women, the main draw teams from Argentina ended Friday 4-1 Olympians Gallay/Klug the only duo that advanced to the elimination rounds as Maria Zonta/Julieta Puntin, Maria Sancer/ Florencia Amieva, Michella Di Cesare/Florencia DiCesare and Melina Churin/Cecilia Peralta all were eliminated with 0-3 records in pool play.

With the grand slam portion of the 2014 FIVB World Tour complete, the tour continues through December with four FIVB Open events remaining spread across the globe. Remaining on the 2014 calendar are three double-gender FIVB Open events along with one men-only FIVB Open tournament.

This week is the 2014 FIVB World Tour is in Argentina for the double-gender FIVB Paraná Open.

After that event, the 2014 FIVB World Tour will head to Qatar for the men-only FIVB Doha Open next week (Nov. 4-8) then on to India for the double-gender FIVB Vizag Open (Nov. 25-30) in India before concluding in South Africa with the double-gender FIVB Mangaung Open (Dec. 9-14).


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