German girls vie for gold at FIVB Grand Slam in Brazil, Latvian men take bronze
News from the FIVB
São Paulo, Brazil, October 12, 2013. Digging deep to pull out a come-from-behind three-set semifinal victory on Saturday, Germany’s fifth-seeded and 2013 European bronze medalists Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst got the right to meet USA’s 10th-seeded April Ross/Kerri Walsh Jennings Sunday morning for the women’s gold medal match on the final day at the $440,000 FIVB São Paulo Grand Slam double-gender tournament.
This is the first time the two teams will have met although with different teammates all have played each other numerous times.
Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst beat home heroines Agatha Bednarczuk and Maria Antonelli of Brazil 22-24, 21-14, 15-11 in one hour of tough play in what is their ninth tournament together for a third final-four appearance on the FIVB World Tour with one silver medal and one fourth place finish so far. Ludwig is playing in her 99th career FIVB World Tour event and her 18th FIVB final four with no gold medals and eight silvers. Walkenhorst is in her 17th career FIVB World Tour event, her third FIVB final four and she has one silver medal and one fourth place finish. Together, Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst won the silver medal at the last FIVB World Tour stop in Moscow six weeks ago. Ludwig is a two-time German Olympian and a two-time European champion (2008 and 2010) with the now-retired Sara Goller.
In the final match on Sunday morning Ludwig and Walkenhorst will play Ross/Walsh Jennings, USA’s newest team. The Olympic duo is playing in just their second FIVB World Tour Grand Slam event after Olympic careers with different teammates (Jennifer Kessy and Misty May-Treanor). Walsh Jennings has three career Olympic gold medals and Ross won the silver medal last year at the 2012 London Olympics. Ross/Walsh Jennings played together for the first time on the FIVB World Tour in Gstaad, Switzerland on July 10-14 where they finished ninth. Walsh is returning to regular action after giving birth to her third child as she has taken six months off from competition.
On Saturday Brazil’s seventh-seeded Agatha Bednarczuk and Maria Antonelli provided their home country fans plenty to rejoice about as they slipped past Italy’s 21st-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth and won the bronze medal, recording a three-set victory in 54 minutes (25-23, 13-21, and 15-10).
After they had lost their respective semifinals to Brazil’s Bruno Oscar Schmidt/Pedro Salgado and USA’s Phil Dalhausser/Casey Jennings, Latvia’s third-seeded Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins and Spain’s Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera went for a remake of the gold medal match from this year’s European Championship in Klagenfurt as they played for bronze. Samoilovs and Smedins overpowered the 2013 European champions 21-14, 21-12 in just 29 minutes. Neither set was close as the Latvians seemed to take out their disappointment on losing their semifinal match to Brazil’s Schmidt/Salgado and got their revenge for the match they lost in Klagenfurt in early August where the European title was at stake.
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