Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Santos Lisboa became the ninth team with a safe spot in the direct elimination stage of the Tokyo 2020 women’s Olympic beach volleyball tournament, as five matches were played on Thursday at Shiokaze Park in the Japanese capital.
Stam & Schoon snatch first Olympic victory
World ranking leaders Agatha and Duda book spot in the Round of 16
Opublikowane 01:23, 29 lip 2021
22-year-old Katja Stam and 19-year-old Raisa Schoon achieved their first victory of the Olympic Games to finish third in Pool A and secure at least one more appearance at the magnificent stadium at Shiokaze Park. In a hard-fought survival battle with experienced Germans Julia Sude and Karla Borger, the rising stars of Dutch beach volleyball achieved a 2-0 (24-22, 21-16) win. In the first set, Stam and Schoon had a triple set point at 20-17, but Sude and Borger fought their way back to level the score and push it to overtime. The Germans denied the Dutch two more opportunities to take the set before succumbing on the sixth one. In the second set, Stam and Schoon came back from a three-point deficit to edge ahead and cruise on to the victory.
The Dutch pair finished the pool on a 1-2 win-loss record and, based on how they compare to other third-placed teams in the pools, they will need to play a lucky-losers match.
“First of all, we are really happy!” Stam told Volleyball World after the match. “We started this game really aggressive again. We knew this was the last chance to go to the knockout phase. The thing we missed in the second pool match was that we didn’t finish the game. We needed to do it in this one and we are really happy that it worked.”
“You can’t see it because of my mask, but I am very happy and proud of how we did!” Schoon added.
The first place in the pool went to reigning world champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes of Canada. They finished the stage on a 3-0 win-loss record after handing Switzerland’s Anouk Verge-Depre and Joana Heidrich their first defeat of the tournament. With both teams already qualified for the knockout stage, the Canadians clearly dominated the first set, but had to fight hard into the overtime to win the second, 2-0 (21-13, 24-22).
“We knew that after the one-sided first set, they would refocus and come back much stronger in the second,” Pavan said. “I think we needed that! We needed to be pushed and we needed it to be really close to get us ready for the playoffs. This was an incredibly difficult pool. Every single team in this group is very talented and to come out of it with 3-0 and the first place is so exciting.”
In a crucial match for the second place in Pool C, world’s number one Agatha Bednarczuk and Eduarda Santos Lisboa outplayed Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson for a solid 2-0 (21-18, 21-18) victory. This way, the Brazilians stamped their pass to the last 16 of the tournament, while the Canadians finished third and may have to win a lucky-loser match to move forward to the knockouts.
Just before that match, China’s Fan Wang and Xinyi Xia confirmed their spot on top of the pool standings with a 2-0 (21-14, 21-13) shutout of Argentina’s Ana Gallay and Fernanda Pereyra. The Asian pair finished the pool unbeaten, while the South Americans have to leave the tournament without a win.
USA’s Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil rounded off the second leg in Pool D with a 2-0 (21-8, 21-6) blowout of Kenya’s Gaudencia Makokha and Brackcides Khadambi to improve to 2-0 and take the lead in the pool standings. Before their last match with Ana Patricia Ramos and Rebecca Cavalcanti on Saturday, the top two spots in the pool are still up for grabs, as both the Brazilians and Latvia’s Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka are right behind the Americans with one win each.