Germany captures women’s gold medal over Brazil Italy wins bronze over Dutch at FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, October 11, 2015 — Germany’s top-seeded Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst defeated Brazil’s 12th-seeded Eduarda Lisboa/Elize Maia in impressive fashion to earn the women’s gold medal Sunday at the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open, the season opening event on the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour.

Capturing the bronze medal was Italy’s fourth-seeded Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth who won a hard fought battle over Netherlands’ 10th-seeded Sophie van Gestel/Jantine van der Vlist.

The first of three tournaments on the 2015 portion of the 2016 FIVB World Tour schedule was held at the purpose-built event site on Playa Camarones. In Puerto Vallarta for the second straight year, the FIVB World Tour visited Mexico for the sixth time for men and the sixth time for women.

The gold medal team in each gender at the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open will split $11,000, the silver $8,000, the bronze $6,000 and fourth place $4,500. To start the 2016 FIVB World Tour, the gold medal team earned 500 FIVB World Ranking points, while the silver squad received 450 points, the bronze 400 points and the fourth place team earned 350 ranking points.

Meeting for the first time, Germany’s top-seeded Ludwig/Walkenhorst defeated Brazil’s 12th-seeded Lisboa/Maia in two sets for the gold medal at the FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open, 21-18, 21-16 in a 40-minute gold medal match.

Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst seemed in control from the first serve with Walkenhorst’s net play and Ludwig’s ground work and serves, Brazil’s Lisboa/Maia just couldn’t seem to get into any rhythm and while the Brazilians made some brilliant shots, the more experienced German duo just was too strong this day. Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst turned in a near perfect performance in earning their third FIVB career gold medal.

In the second and final set, Germany held off Brazil’s valiant effort, keeping a lead of one or two points and did move to three at 15-12 and 18-15 and after another sensational shot by Lisboa, Brazil closed it to 18-16 before Germany scored the final three points, the match ending on another emphatic cross court kill by Germany’s Ludwig.

This was the 26th FIVB international event for Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst as a team and they have had 11 final four finishes including three gold medals, three silver medals and three bronze medals. Individually, Ludwig has played in 122 FIVB international events and won three FIVB gold medals and Walkenhorst has played in 34 career FIVB international events with three FIVB gold medals as well, all as a team.

In Puerto Vallarta, Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst had a perfect 7-0 record with all of their matches being won in two sets. Germany’s Ludwig/Walkenhorst also won the gold medal at this year’s FIVB Yokohama Grand Slam in Japan and earned the silver medal last week at the FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA.

Brazil’s Lisboa/Maia duo was playing in just their fourth FIVB international event as a team and now have one silver medal and one bronze medal in their four FIVB tournaments. Individually, Lisboa has played in 13 FIVB international tournaments and Maia has played in 12. In Puerto Vallarta, Brazil’s Lisboa/Maia finished 6-2 with four of their victories coming in three sets.

Lisboa, one of the youngest players on the FIVB World Tour at 17 years old, won gold medals at the U19 FIVB World Championships with Taina Silver in 2013 and with Andressa Cavalcanti in 2014. She also won the gold medal at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games with Ana Patricia Silva.

Battling for the bronze medal in Puerto Vallarta Sunday in their first FIVB meeting was two of the top younger teams on the FIVB World Tour that saw Italy’s more experienced fourth-seeded Menegatti/Orsi Toth hold off Netherlands’ 10th-seeded van Gestel/van der Vlist in two sets, 21-19, 21-15 in 44 minutes.

Starting slowing, Italy’s Menegatti/Orsi Toth fell behind early in the first set as Netherlands’ van Gestel/van der Vlist set the pace early and the Italians trailed 17-19 late and then they seemed to regain their composure, scoring the last four points of the first set to win 21-19.

In the second set, Italy’s Menegatti/Orsi Toth reached a higher level with fewer mistakes and huge blocks from Orsi Toth and superb digs and kills by Menegati. Italy score the first three points of the set and held leads of 6-1, 8-2 before Netherlands’ van Gestel/van der Vlist rallied to close within two points at 13-12 and Italy responded with five straight points to lead 18-12 before closing it out at 21-15.

Italy’s Menegatti/Orsi Toth have now played in their 28th FIVB International tournaments and this was their seventh final four finishes with one gold medal, one silver and now two bronze medals. Individually, Menegatti has played in 80 FIVB international events with one gold medal while Orsi Toth has played in 40 with one FIVB gold medal. In Puerto Vallarta, Italy’s Menegatti/Orsi Toth had a 6-1 record in Puerto Vallarta, including winning their pool with a 3-0 record.

This was just the seventh FIVB international tournament for Netherlands’ van Gestel/van der Vlist, and this was their second final four appearance and their second fourth place finish. Individually, van Gestel has played in 43 FIVB international events with one gold medal and van der Vlist has played in 67 with three fourth place finishes.  In Puerto Vallarta, they compiled a 5-3 record.

Rejoicing joyfully, Germany’s Ludwig said after her team’s gold medal victory, “We had a great tournament which win you get the gold it’s always good, but this was even more because of the weather and how we played all week. In the gold medal match, we faced a Brazilian team we had never played and we stuck to our game plan and held off all of their charges. They are a good team and will be even better as Eduarda matures.”

Ludwig’s teammate Walkenhorst commented, “It’s hard when you come from playing two weeks in a row. We’re tired but happy at the same time that we have a gold medal in our hands after playing really hard and fighting for every point every match this entire week. Laura is such a great player and she has taught me so much about the beach game.  But more importantly, she leads by example and you just have to keep playing harder to stay on the court with her.”

The FIVB Puerto Vallarta Open was the 330th men’s event since the FIVB began men’s competition in 1987 and the 294th FIVB women’s tournament since they started in 1992.

After the season-opening event in Puerto Vallarta, the 2016 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, with placement points counting in the FIVB Olympic Rankings for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, continues with the two remaining 2016 FIVB World Tour events on the 2015 portion of the schedule. The first will be the double-gender $150,000 FIVB Antalya Open in Turkey (Oct. 20-25) and the final event in 2015 will be the men’s only $75,000 FIVB Doha Open in Qatar (Nov. 9-13).


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