“Golden Girls” at the Dela Beach Open in The Hague - Antonelli & Carolina

The Hague, The Netherlands, June 18, 2017 - Maria Antonelli and Carolina Salgado became only the second women’s team in the history of the FIVB World Tour to win a gold medal after advancing through two rounds of qualification to gain a spot in the “money” rounds of an international Beach Volleyball event as the newly-formed Brazilian pair topped the podium here Sunday afternoon at the US$150,000 Dela Beach Open.

With their 2-0 (21-17, 21-11) gold medal win in 39 minutes over 17th-seeded Joana Heidrich/Anouk Verge-Depre of Switzerland, the 15th-seeded Antonelli and Carolina finished the Dela Open with a 9-0 match mark starting with two country quota wins Tuesday, a qualifying victory Wednesday, two “modified” pool play triumphs Thursday, an elimination success Friday, and quarter- and semi-final conquests Saturday.

The first team to win a FIVB World Tour gold medal after starting an event in the country quota round were Jen Kessy and April Ross of the United States in 2007 at an international stop in Norway.  However, the Americans dropped two of three pool play matches in Stavanger before winning their final six matches in the Norwegian stop.

In securing their first gold medal in only their second FIVB World Tour event together, Antonelli and Carolina shared the $10,000 first-place prize while Heidrich and Verge-Depre split $8,000.  Individually, Antonelli captured her 12th FIVB gold medal with a fourth different partner in 122 World Tour starts.

Following the match, Antonelli said here team had "good energy together, that is the reason we won all our matches here in The Hague."  Carolina agreed and offered that "we help each other a lot.  It doesn't matter if we win or if we lose, we have a good chemistry for sure.  We are positive people, we always think good things will happen.  And I enjoy playing with her a lot."

The top podium placement was Carolina’s third in 139 FIVB World Tour events.  Her previous two gold medal finishes in 2008 and 2013 were with her sister Maria Clara.  In all total, the Salgado family has claimed 21 FIVB World Tour gold medals with 17 by brother Pedro (Solberg) and one for mother Isabel.

Verge-Depre said "we are sad about the final.  But we can look back at a really good week. And I think this is what we have to take with us to the next tournaments and try to perform as we did yesterday and the days before."

To reach the Dela Beach Open gold medal match, Heidrich and Verge-Depre defeated fourth-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa of Brazil 2-1 (24-26, 21-17, 18-16) in a 62-minute semi-final match while Antonelli and Carolina were a 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) winner over 10th-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan of Canada in 39 minutes.

In the Dela Beach Open women’s bronze medal match, Agatha and Duda posted a 2-1 (16-21, 21013, 15-11) win in 47 minutes over Humana-Paredes and Pavan.  The Brazilians split $5,000 for their third-place finish with Humana-Paredes and Pavan sharing $4,000.

The Dela Beach Open podium (left) to right) - Joana Heidrich, Anouk Verge-Depre, Maria Antonelli, Carolina Salgado, Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa

Being played at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark, a newly-constructed multifunctional sports and education center, the Dela Beach Open was the first-ever FIVB World Tour event to stage competition on both indoor and outdoor courts at the same time.  In addition, international Beach Volleyball competition was being held in conjunction with FIVB World League contests where The Netherlands was hosting the Czech Republic, Korea and the Slovak Republic this weekend 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.


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