Lucerne, Switzerland, May 17, 2015 - The “third-time” was the charm for Karla Borger and Britta Buthe as the of Germans captured their first FIVB World Tour gold medal here Sunday by besting Madelein Meppelink and Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands in a three-set women’s FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Lucerne Open 2015 final on the Lido center court.
In the final match of the US$150,000 Lucerne Open, the fourth-seeded Borger and Buthe rebounded from a first-set setback to defeat the fifth-seeded Dutch 2-1 (16-21, 21-16 and 15-13) in a 55-minute gold medal match. The Germans trailed Meppelink and Van Iersel 8-4 in the third and final set before recovering to out-score 11 of the last 15 points of the match.
With two silver and a bronze medal to their credit in their first 43 FIVB World Tour starts together, Borger and Buthe were finally successful in their third finale after losing gold medal matches at the 2013 FIVB World Championships in Poland and last July in the Swiss Grand Slam in Gstaad.
“This is great, especially since we live close to here in Stuttgart,” said the 26-year old Borger. “We never quit in the third set when we were trailing by four points. The Dutch are a very good team and we needed to make some plays to win. We kept battling and are thrilled to finally win a gold medal.”
Sunday’s gold medal meeting was the second match between the two teams with Meppelink and Van Iersel defeating the Germans 2-0 (26-24, 21-19) last July in the United States at Long Beach. The match was the second FIVB title match between the two countries as the Dutch bested the Germans in a 2003 world tour finale in China (Lianyungang).
With the win, Borger and Buthe shared the $11,000 first-place prize money while Meppelink and Van Iersel shared $8,000 for second-place. Jamie Broder and Kristina Valjas of Canada, the 10th-seeded team in the inaugural Lucerne Open, posted a 2-0 (21-18, 21-15) win in 37 minutes over 23rd-seeded Barbara Hansel/Stefanie Schwaiger of Austria. The Canadians split $6,000 for third-place and the Austrians shared $4,500
This week’s double gender FIVB World Tour event is also the second event on the qualifying schedule for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. With the win Sunday, Borger and Buthe earned 500 points while the Dutch compiled 450 points. Broder and Valjas, who won the 2015 season opening event last month in China, added 400 points to their Olympic qualifying total and are the provisional leaders with 900 points this season.
ON THE HORIZON
Following Lucerne Open, the men take a week off from FIVB World Tour play while the women proceed to the Czech Republic for the US$75,000 Prague Open starting Tuesday with possible country quota matches. The men rejoin the women on the international circuit in Moscow May 26-31 for the first of five grand slam stops on the 2015 FIVB World Tour calendar.