The Hague, The Netherlands, June 14, 2017 – One would think that a team with a combined 24 seasons on the FIVB World Tour with 261 events, 1,374 matches, 13 gold medals and 55 podium placements to their credit would avoid playing country quota playoff matches to gain entrances into an international Beach Volleyball qualifier.
That was not the case here Tuesday for Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado as the pair had to defeat two Brazilian rivals for their second-straight FIVB World Tour event together to advance to Wednesday’s qualifier in the US$150,000 Dela Beach Open at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark.
After defeating Josemari Alves/Liliane Maestrini 2-1 (13-21, 21-19, 15-10) in 51 minutes Tuesday evening, Antonelli and Carolina posted a 2-1 (21-19, 20-22 and 15-13) win in 61 minutes over Taiana Lima and Elize Maia. The victors are now 4-0 in country quota matches as the Dela Beach Open marks their second FIVB World Tour event together.
Bumping Mikasa during Tuesday's first Brazilian country quota match is Liliane Maestrini
The setback for Taiana ended her quest for three-straight medals in The Hague. After winning the 2014 gold medal on the Dutch seaside with Fernanda Alves, the Brazilians almost duplicated the feat the next year at the FIVB World Championships where the pair dropped the gold medal match to Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas next to the Parliament building in The Hague.
For the 29-year old Carolina, who is returning to international competition after giving birth last July to her first child, the two wins improved her career country quota match mark on the FIVB World Tour to 28-24. The 33-year old Antonelli is now only 13-4 for country quota matches as both players are in the midst of their 12th-season of FIVB World Tour play.
“These matches are never easy,” said Carolina, who was playing in here 139th FIVB World Tour event with a 426-244 match mark with two gold medals and 17 podium placements. “Anyone of these Brazilian teams can reach the podium in any of these events. It is a tough task, especially since you can play anywhere from two-to-four matches before you start competing in the Main Draw. It appears to be impossible to reach the podium, but it can be done.”
In a quick review of FIVB World Tour happenings on BVBInfo.com, the feat for women was accomplished three times with the first being in 2004 when Brazilians Juliana Felisberta and Larissa Franca won two country quota matches on home sand in Fortaleza before posting two qualifying victories and five Main Draw successes to net the bronze medal.
In 2007, Jen Kessy and April Ross pulled of the feat and advanced to the gold medal match where the Americans defeated Jia Tian and Jie Wang of China for the Viking sword in Stavanger, Norway. After winning a country quota and two qualifying matches in Stavanger, Kessy and Ross rebounded from losing their first two Main Draw matches to win six-straight contests to net the gold medal.
Taiana and Vivian Cunha accomplished the country quota to podium feat in 2010 at an international stop in Austria at the end of July as the Brazilians won two country quota matches, netted two qualifying victories before winning five-straight contests in the Main Draw to reach the All-Brazilian finale. After 10-straight wins in Klagenfurt, Juliana and Larissa ended the streak with a gold medal win over Taiana and Vivian.
Disappointment for Taiana Lima Tuesday
With the FIVB World Tour returning to The Hague for the seventh-time, this week’s men’s and women’s Beach Volleyball tournament will be part of a schedule that also features FIVB World League play where The Netherlands hosts Korea, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in Pool I2. It marks the first-time a Beach Volleyball World Tour stop and the Volleyball World League event have been played simultaneously at the same venue.
Following the men’s and women’s qualification, the first of four days of Dela Beach Open Main Draw action starts Thursday with “modified” pool play and concludes Sunday with the medal matches for the seventh double gender event on the 2017 FIVB World Tour calendar.
Beach Volleyball matches at Sportcampus Zuiderpark, a newly-constructed multifunctional sports and education center will be played on both outside and inside courts. The FIVB World League contests will be the first international sporting event to take place at the 3,000-seat venue, which is also the new training center for the Dutch federation's Beach Volleyball program.
Following the Dela Beach Open, the international circuit takes a week off before resuming play with SWATCH Major Series stops in Croatia (Porec, June 27-July 2) and Switzerland (Gstaad, July 4-9). Highlighting the 2017 international calendar for men and women Beach Volleyball players will be the $1-million FIVB World Championships July 28 through August 6 in Vienna and the $800,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals August 23-27 in Hamburg, Germany.