Stavanger, Norway, June 14, 2015 - After competing in only three international events this season, Pedro Solberg Salgado and Evandro Goncalves are within striking distance of becoming the top-ranked team on the FIVB World Tour as the Brazilians posted a two-set win over a Polish pair here Sunday in the gold medal match of the US$800,000 Stavanger Major.
The second of three SWATCH Major Series events this season, Pedro and Evandro claimed their second medal this season with their first podium-topping performance by posting a 2-0 (21-13, 21-14) win in 33 minutes over 25th-seeded Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak, one of two pairs from Poland in the Stavanger Major “final four”.
With the Norwegian “oil” capital hosting its 15th FIVB World Tour event, Pedro and Evandro shared the $57,000 first-place prize along with earning 800 points that will count towards the qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. With Poland guaranteed a medal, Kantor and Losiak split $43,000 and 720 world tour points.
Two weeks ago when the Kantor and Losiak failed to qualify for the Moscow Grand Slam Main Draw, Pedro and Evandro claimed the silver medal in the Russian capital after defeating compatriots Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt in the semi-finals and losing to Spain’s Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera in the gold medal match.
The only Brazilian men’s team to medal on the FIVB World Tour this season, Pedro and Evandro are ranked second on the international circuit behind reigning world champions Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands (2,540 points). With the Dutch not playing at the next world tour stop in the United States starting Monday in St. Petersburg, Pedro and Evandro (2,000 points) can take over the leadership of the FIVB circuit by placing fourth or better at the Florida event.
With the Stavanger Major being the 319th FIVB World Tour event since the start of men’s play in 1987, Brazil has won 174 gold medals. Sunday’s finale was the second FIVB gold medal match between Brazil and Poland with the South American country capturing a 2011 title match as Marcio Araujo and Ricardo Santos defeated Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel in Stavanger.
Seeded seventh in the competition, Pedro and Evandro opened play Sunday with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) win in 39 minutes over the second-seeded Fijalek and Prudel. Kantor and Losiak, who are both 23, advanced to their first FIVB World Tour gold medal match by posting a 2-0 (21-13, 21-16) in 36 minutes over the 29th-seeded Ingrosso (Matteo and Paolo) twins of Italy.
Both teams enter the Stavanger Major gold medal match with one defeat in the competition during pool play. Pedro and Evandro dropped their first match Thursday to a team from Germany, but rebounded to capture the group. Kantor and Losiak had to win two qualifying matches Wednesday and posted a 2-1 pool mark with their only setback to an American pair after the Poles had already secured the group title.
Pedro, who has a Norwegian father and a legendary Brazilian Volleyball player as a mother, had never finished higher than fifth in Stavanger in seven previous appearances. Pedro’s fifth occurred with Emanuel Rego last season. With Emanuel reuniting with Ricardo Santos at the end of last season, Pedro started playing with Evandro as the team partnership is not typical as both competitors are natural blockers.
A regular on the international circuit since 2006 with the Stavanger Major being his 115th FIVB World Tour event, the 29-year old Pedro netted his 15th gold medal. The 24-year old Evandro started playing full-time on the FIVB in 2012 with Stavanger being his 36th tour stop. Evandro teamed with Vitor Felipe to win the 2013 German Grand Slam in Berlin.
Kantor and Losiak, winners of three international junior world championships (2010 under-19, 2012 under-21 and 2013 under-23) were playing in their 34th FIVB World Tour with their best previous finish being a third last September at the Brazilian Grand Slam in Sáo Paulo. The Poles first played on the FIVB World Tour in 2009 and have compiled a 56-55 match mark.
In the bronze medal match, Fijalek and Prudel rebounded from their semi-final disappointment to defeat the Ingrossos 2-0 (21-13, 21-15) in 39 minutes. The victory cemented Poland’s first-ever double medal finish in a FIVB World Tour event. Fijalek and Prudel shared $32,000 for the third-place finish with 640 points while the Italians left Norway with $24,000 in winnings and 560 points.
In the women’s gold medal match Saturday, fourth-seeded Juliana Felisberta and Maria Antonelli won their first “big” title on the FIVB World Tour by defeating Brazilian rivals Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) in 40 minutes. Second-seeded Madelein Meppelink and Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands claimed the bronze medal with a 2-0 (24-2, 21-16) win in 43 minutes over 12th-seeded Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst.
With the two first-place finishes, Brazil has now won both the men’s and women’s gold medals at the same FIVB World Tour event 58 times. Only the United States (14 times), China (1) and Russia (1) have accomplished the feat. With the Brazilian men winning 11 of the 15 gold medals in Stavanger, the women from the South American country duplicated the men’s feat in Vagen Harbor three times (2003, 2006 and 2015).
Following the completion Sunday of the second of three SWATCH Major Series events this season, 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.