Stavanger, Norway, June 13, 2015 - Brazil is guaranteed its fourth-straight gold medal on the 2015 women’s FIVB World Tour as Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas and Juliana Felisberta/Maria Antonelli won semi-final matches here Saturday mid-day to advance to the finals of the US$800,000 Stavanger Major.
With the Stavanger Major being the 283rd event on the FIVB World Tour since the start of the women’s competition in 1992, Brazil has now advanced two teams to an international gold medal match 52 times as the South American country will take home its 141st title.
The top-seeded Agatha and Seixas advanced to the SWATCH Major Series finale with a 2-0 (24-2, 21-16) win in 43 minutes over 12th-seeded Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst while fourth-seeded Juliana and Antonelli out-lasted second-seeded Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel of the Netherlands 2-1 (19-21, 23-21, 16-14) in the longest women’s match in the Stavanger Major (63 minutes).
Agatha and Seixas started the Brazilian run of gold medal successes this season by claiming the top spot on the Czech Republic podium four weeks ago in Prague. The past two weeks in Russia and Croatia, Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca, who withdrew late Tuesday from the Stavanger Major, captured the gold medals in Moscow and Porec.
Both Brazilian pairs will be seeking their first “big” FIVB World Tour gold medal after winning “Open” events. Agatha and Seixas collected their first international gold last year in Mexico (Puerto Vallarta) with Juliana and Antonelli topping a FIVB podium in China (Xiamen).
Fifth-place finishers in last year’s Stavanger stop, Agatha and Seixas have a 2-1 record in title matches with a silver medal finish last July at the United States stop in Long Beach. Juliana and Larissa are 1-4 in gold medal matches, including a setback in the Puerto Vallarta finale (2-0, 21-19, 21-18, 39 minutes) to Agatha and Seixas.
The 2014 FIVB World Tour champions and ninth-place finishers in Stavanger last year, Juliana and Antonelli avenged the Mexican defeat by defeating Agatha and Seixas in The Netherlands two months later. Juliana won two of her 46 FIVB World Tour gold medals in Stavanger with Larissa (2006 and 2010).
The sixth stop on the 2015 FIVB World Tour calendar for women, the Stavanger Major continues through Sunday with men’s semi-final and medal matches. The gold medal teams will share the $57,000 first-place prize along with garnering 800 points towards their qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
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 four sites, world championships start (June 26) and end (with the medal matches July 4 for women and July 5 for men) in The Hague.