A day for twins in Stavanger

Stavanger, Norway, June 9, 2015 - It was a day for “twins” in the Norwegian “oil” capital as the Nystroms of Finland joined the Poniewaz of Germany in winning “key” matches here Thursday to advance to the next rounds of competition in the US$800,000 Stavanger Major, the second stop on the SATCH Beach Volleyball Major Series.

The Poniewaz (Bennet and David) were the first to advance to the next round by winning a men’s country quota match to earn a spot in the 32-team qualification tournament that starts Wednesday morning.  The Nystroms (Emilia and Erika) had to win two matches by posting seed-break-through victories over teams from the United States and Kazakhstan to earn a berth in the “money” rounds of the women competition where pool play starts Wednesday.

The 29th-seeded Nystroms, who have played in more FIVB-sanctioned events (157) together than any other team in the world, opened play Tuesday by posting a 2-1 (19-21, 21-15, 18-16) win over fourth-seeded Lane Carico/Kimberly Dicello before advancing with a 2-1 (21-18, 13-21, 15-10) victory in 45 minutes over 20th-seeded Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova of Kazakhstan.

Finland qualified a second team for the Stavanger Major Main Draw as seventh-seeded Taru Lahti and Riikka Lehtonen eliminated pairs from Thailand and The Netherlands in a pair of three-set matches.  The Fins are currently the sixth-ranked team on the women’s FIVB World Tour.

Other pairs advancing to the 32-team women’s Main Draw are top-seeded Fernanda Alves/Taiana Lima Brazil, second-seeded Ekaterina Birlova/Evgeniya Ukolova of Russia, fifth-seeded Monika Brzostek/Kinga Kolosinska of Poland, 11th-seeded Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland, 14th-seeded Barbara Hansel/Stefanie Schwaiger of Austria and 25th-seeded Mariafe Artacho/Nicole Laird of Australia.

Fernanda and Lima have now won three matches this week with a Country Quota victory Tuesday.  The previous two weeks in Russia and Croatia, the Brazilians had lost to compatriots in the preliminary rounds.  Fernanda and Lima captured a FIVB World Tour gold medal last season in The Hague in their first international event together.

The sixth stop on the 2015 FIVB World Tour calendar for women, the Stavanger Major continues through the weekend with the gold medal teams sharing the $57,000 first-place prize along with garnering 800 points towards their qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.  The women’s semi-final and medal matches will be played Saturday while the men’s “final four” contests will be staged Sunday.

Following this week’s SWATCH Major Series event, the FIVB World Tour crosses the Atlantic Ocean for an event in the United States in St. Petersburg, Fla.  The June schedule ends with the start of the world championships in The Netherlands.  Being played at for sites, world championships start (June 26) and end (with the medal matches July 4 for women and July 5 for men) in The Hague.


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