Long Beach, Calif., USA, August 19, 2015 - The first of two days of pool play for the women competing in the third annual ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball featured 11 undefeated teams for eight countries after two rounds of pool play on the TrueCar Court at Alamitos Beach.
Led by reigning FIVB world champions Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas, four teams from Beach Volleyball power Brazil are unbeaten entering Thursday’s final group matches in the US$800,000 FIVB World Tour event. Agatha and Barbara are the lone undefeated pair in Pool A as are Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca in Pool B and the Salgado sisters (Carolina/Maria Clara) in Pool G.
Brazilians Maria Antonelli and Juliana Felisberta are tied atop Pool C with Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler of Germany as both teams posted 2-0 match marks Wednesday. The Thursday meeting will be the fifth between the two teams on the FIVB World Tour with Brazilians defeating Holtwick and Semmler for the first-time last month in the bronze medal match at the FIVB World Championships in The Hague.
Also posting a 2-0 record were defending ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball champions April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings as the Americans defeated teams from Germany and Brazil. Walsh Jennings is returning to action for the first-time in six weeks after dislocating her right shoulder in a SWATCH Major Series event in Gstaad, Switzerland.
Ross and Walsh Jennings will play Marta Menegatti and Viktoria Orsi Toth of Italy for the Pool H title Wednesday. The two teams have meet eight times on the FIVB World Tour with the Americans winning five times and the Italians capturing the last two matches. In their last meeting, Menegatti and Orsi Toth won by forfeit in the Moscow Grand Slam as Walsh Jennings had dislocated her right shoulder in a pool play match.
Other undefeated teams in the competition are Heather Bansley/Sarah Pavan of Canada (Pool D), Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands (Pool E), Fan Wang/Yuan Yue of China (Pool E) and Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez (Pool F).
The 32-team Main Draws for ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball for both women and men features pool play with the top three group finishers advancing to the elimination rounds. Pool winners are guaranteed a first-round “bye” in the knockout rounds when the 24-team elimination bracket begins Friday.
The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball is the second of two events in the United States this season that are part of the qualifying process for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The first 2015 American Olympic qualifier was held in mid-June at St. Petersburg, Fla. Prior to the St. Petersburg Grand Slam, the last Olympic Beach Volleyball qualifying event in the United States was staged in September 2003 at Carson, Calif.
Following the ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball, the final Grand Slam event on the 2015 FIVB World Tour will be played August 25-30 in Olsztyn, Poland. The “test” event for the Rio 2016 Olympics will be staged on September 2-6 at exactly the same location for the Summer Games’ Beach Volleyball competition on Copacabana Beach.
Prior to returning to the United States for the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (September 29-October 4), the international circuit will stage “open” tournaments in Russia (Sochi, September 8-13) and China (Xiamen, September 22-27).