High Stakes on Polson Pier Saturday

Toronto, Canada, September 17, 2016 - There will be plenty at stake for the world’s “elite” beach volleyball players here Saturday at the US$500,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals starting with women’s semi-final matches and ending with the men’s quarter-final contests on Polson Pier.

Due to a schedule change with the women’s gold medal match being moved to Sunday, Saturday’s schedule will feature 11 contests at the last “major” event on the 2015-2016 international schedule that started last October in Mexico.  The SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals is the 20th women’s event and 23rd men’s tournament on the FIVB calendar.

With the women’s finale moved to Sunday, the sixth and final day of SWATCH FVB World Tour Finals will feature five matches starting with the men’s semi-finals and ending with the medal matches.  The winning teams will share the $100,000 first-place prizes.

Saturday’s first women’s semi-final will be an All-Switzerland affair with Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre being challenged by compatriots Joana Heidrich and Nadine Zumkehr.  The match will be the seventh FIVB World Tour meeting between the two rivals with the series tied 3-3.  Recently, Forrer and Verge-Depre defeated Heidrich and Zumkehr for the Swiss national championship.

The second “final four” contest Saturday will be a rematch of the Rio 2016 Olympic semi-final as eventual Copacabana gold medal winners Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany play Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca of Brazil.  The Germans lead the FIVB World Tour series between the two teams 4-1, including a 2-0 (21-18, 21-12) Rio semi-final victory in 36 minutes on August 16.

Talita and Larissa’s only FIVB win over the Germans was a 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) victory in 39 minutes in the gold medal match at the 2015 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in the United States on Fort Lauderdale Beach in south Florida.  In mid-June, the two teams vied for another international title with Ludwig and Walkenhorst posting a 2-1 (21-18, 15-21, 15-10) gold medal victory in 41 minutes over the Brazilians at the Olsztyn Grand Slam in Poland.

Reigning Olympic and FIVB world champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt headline this week’s men’s field as the Brazilians have now won eight-straight SWATCH FIVB World Tour matches, including six last October at the 2015 event in the United States where the South Americans defeated Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena of the United States in gold medal match.

Alison and Bruno have defeated teams from Italy and Mexico this week to win Pool A and earn a “bye” for the first-round of elimination Saturday.  The SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals is Alison and Bruno’s first event since capturing their Olympic gold medal August 19 on iconic Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro.

Joining the Brazilians as men’s group winners this week are Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins of Latvia (Pool B), Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak of Poland (Pool C) and Tri Bourne/John Hyden of the United States (Pool D). .Here is Saturday’s men’s elimination schedule.

Round 1
Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel, Poland vs. Josh Binstock/Sam Schachter, Canada
Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk, Canada vs. Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, The Netherlands
Dalhausser/Lucena, United States vs. Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen, Mexico
Adrian Carambula/Alex Ranghieri, Italy vs. Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg, Brazil

Alison/Bruno, Brazil vs. Fijalek/Prudel, Poland or Binstock/Schachter, Canada
Kantor/Losiak Poland vs. Saxton/Schalk, Canada or Brouwer/Meeuwsen, The Netherlands
Bourne/Hyden United States vs. Dalhausser/Lucena, United States or Ontiveros/Virgen, Mexico


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