2015-06-13 19:25:00 CEST
For the second week in a row, Brazilian women struck gold in the Swatch Beach Volleyball Major Series – this time on June 13 in Stavanger, Norway. The South American powerhouse also earned silver, with the Netherlands seizing bronze.
Two women’s teams from Brazil were on fire in the gold medal match at the Stavanger Major on Saturday, heating up Norway’s chill in a quest for their first Swatch Major Series win. After Tuesday’s withdrawal by the Brazilian winners of the Poreč Major, Larissa França and Talita Antunes, the door was wide open for the international lineup. But it was Larissa and Talita’s countrywomen who stepped into the limelight and up to the final round, with Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas vying against Juliana Felisberta and Maria Antonelli for the winner’s share of Olympic qualifying points and prize money. Seeded fourth, Juliana and Maria Antonelli delivered a 21-16 smackdown to their top-seeded opponents in the first set and never looked back, earning the second set and the win 21-15.
“I feel so good, but it was very difficult because we play them a lot in Brazil and we know each other so well,“ said Maria Antonelli, clutching the coveted replica of a Viking sword that is the hallmark of beach volleyball victory in Stavanger. Agatha added, “I think the team that wanted to win today had to put the most energy into the game, and Maria’s energy made the difference.“
The bronze medal bout went an intense three sets, with the number 12 seeds, Germany's Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst, refusing to give in to the relentless pressure exerted by second seeds Marleen van Iersel and Madelein Meppelink of the Netherlands. After 57 minutes of leveraging the skills that made them the current European beach volleyball champions, the Dutch women clinched the match to claim the third step of the podium – and the first Swatch Major Series medal for a women’s team from Europe.
Men’s Quarter Final clashes continue into Saturday evening to determine which teams will move on to Sunday's Semi Finals and medal rounds.