Fortaleza, Brazil, April 30, 2016 - Making the most of playing a limited international pro beach volleyball schedule, Brazil’s youthful Eduarda Lisboa and her more veteran teammate Elize Maia have earned a spot in a second gold medal match in two months. The fifth-seeded Brazilian duo will be part of an all-Brazilian women’s gold medal match Sunday, challenged strongly by veteran fourth-seeded compatriots Juliana Felisberta/Taiana Lima at the FIVB Fortaleza Open.
Brazil’s Eduarda, just 17 and Elize Maia, 31, advanced to the gold medal match with a two-set semifinal victory Saturday over Vanuatu’s surprising sixth-seeded Miller Pata/Linline Matauatu and Brazil’s Juliana/Taina earned their spot in the finale by winning a thrilling, three set semi match over their Brazilian compatriots 19th-seeded Rebecca Silva/Liliane Maestrini.
Meeting in the women’s bronze medal match Sunday morning prior to the gold medal finale will be Vanuatu’s Pata/Matauatu and Brazil’s Rebecca/Lili. GOLD MEDAL PREVIEW
For Brazil’s Lisboa/Elize Maia, this is just their eighth FIVB World Tour event as a team and they have now earned four final four placements that include one gold medal, one silver medal, one bronze and one fifth place finish. They have a 6-0 in Fortaleza.
After her team’s semifinal victory Saturday, Elize Maia commented, “This was the first time we have played against them,” said Elize Maia. “I have not seen them in action before, but we got some videos to prepare ourselves for this semifinal. We managed to start with a good service that helped us in the first set. They seemed a bit nervous as it was their first time in a such an important match. We kept together the whole game and that was the key to get the victory. We played together as a team for just a year, so we still are developing and aiming to reach bigger accomplishments.”
Brazil’s much-more experienced Juliana/Taiana are playing in just their fourth FIVB World Tour team as a team with no final four finishes, but that doesn’t scratch the surface of their illustrious FIVB careers. In Fortaleza, they have a 5-1 record with the lone loss coming in pool play against USA’s Summer Ross/Lane Carico.
Juliana, who won the bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games with Larissa Franca, is playing in her 99th FIVB World Tour final four with 47 gold, 25 silver, 19 bronze medals and seven fourth place finishes. Taiana is playing in her 18th FIVB World Tour final four with six gold, five silver, three bronze medals and three fourth place finishes. Taiana also won the silver medal at the 2015 FIVB World Championships in the Netherlands, playing with Fernanda Alves.
Taiana explained her team's bounce-back following their pool play loss, saying: "The last three matches we had a positive attitude and we played better than the previous matches on this tournament. We have a lot to improve yet, but we are getting there step by step."
Juliana added regarding their semifinal match: "Lili and Rebecca had an excellent performance in this tournament. They started to play here without big responsibilities so they advanced each round quietly in a way. Taiana and I went through the opposite way, we lost one of our pool play matches than we needed to change the way we behave on court. Now we are in the gold medal match and we will play against a team that is in a very good place right now, but Fortaleza is our hometown so we will play putting all our hearts and souls into it, like the match is our last one."BRONZE MEDAL PREVIEW
In another first-meeting match Vanuatu’s Pata/Matauatu will meet Brazil’s Rebecca/Lili duo for the Fortaleza bronze medal.
This is the 22nd FIVB World Tour event for Vanuatu’s Pata/Matauatu and first final four finish and they also have three fifth place finishes.
Brazil’s Rebecca/Lili are playing in just their third FIVB World Tour event as a team with one previous bronze medal finish as their first and only final four finish (Parana, Argentina in 2014). Individually, Rebecca is playing in her second FIVB final four while Lili is playing in her fifth overall final four with one silver medal and three bronze medals. Lili won the bronze medal at the 2013 FIVB World Championships in Stare Jablonki, Poland with Barbara Seixas.FIVB FORTALEZA OPEN PURSE/POINTS
The gold medal teams at the FIVB Fortaleza Open will split $11,000 and 500 points, the silver $8,000 and 450 points, the bronze $6,000 400 points and fourth place $4,500 and 350 points. The event is the fourth and final regular season Brazilian stop on the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.
The FIVB Fortaleza Open is being played at the purpose built stadium at Praia do Futuro in Fortaleza, site of last week’s regular season finale of the Brazilian National Tour.SEMIFINAL RESULTS
In Saturday’s first women’s semifinal, Brazil’s Eduarda/Elize Maia took advantage of some possible nerves against Vanuatu’s Pata/Matauatu and won the first set 21-10 before Pata/Matauatu regained their composure, took a 17-14 lead over Brazil before Eduarda/Elize Maia rallied and won the match in two sets, taking the second one 22-20. The match lasted 32 minutes.
In the nightcap event under the lights in Fortaleza, Brazil’s Juliana/Taiana and Brazil’s Rebecca/Lili met for the first time on the FIVB World Tour and though big favorites because of the deserved resumes, Rebecca/Lili wouldn’t back down and won the close first set 22-20. In the second set, the more experienced Juliana/Taiana held serve enough to win 21-19. The third set ran point-for-point as well until Taiana, leading 11-9 had help from the net and scored back-to-back ace serves to help secure the set and match which went to 54 minutes.QUARTERFINAL RESULTS
Starting off Saturday’s schedule was the quarterfinals. In the women’s quarters, Vanuatu’s Pata/Matauatu upset the Netherlands’ third-seeded Marleen Van Iersel/Madelein Meppelink in two sets, 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) in 38 minutes to earn their first FIVB final four appearance. Brazil’s Eduarda/Elize Maia overcame relentless pressure to outlast USA’s 24th-seeded Amanda Dowdy/Emily Stockman in three sets, 2-1 (21-11, 22-24, 15-11) in 38 minutes, Brazil’s Rebecca/Lili came back to defeat compatriots in Brazil’s 22nd-seeded Angela Lavalle/Rachel Nunes, 2-1 (24-26, 22-20, 15-11) in 64 minutes and Brazil’s Juliana/Taiana won the second all-Brazilian quarterfinal, defeating compatriots in Brazil’s 18th-seeded Carolina Horta/Ana Patricia Ramos, 2-0 (21-11, 21-12) in 31 minutes.
The eliminated teams in the quarterfinals each leave Fortaleza with official fifth place finishes and $3,375 in prize money.ON THE HORIZON
With placement points for the FIVB Olympic Rankings for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games continuing, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour has resumed with events over eight straight weeks through the end of May. In all, Brazil is hosting five international events in 2016. In addition to Maceió, Rio and Vitoria, this week’s FIVB Fortaleza Open (April 26-May 1) and the Brazil events conclude with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Aug. 6-18).
The FIVB World Tour heads to Europe FIVB Fortaleza Open. Up first will be in Russia for the FIVB Sochi Open (May 3-8) followed by the FIVB Antalya Open in Turkey (May 11-15). The tour then visits the United States for the FIVB Cincinnati Open (May 17-22) and then returns to Russia for the FIVB Moscow Grand Slam (May 24-29).