Cubans Post Opening FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championship Win

The Hague, The Netherlands, June 27, 2015 - Playing in their first-ever FIVB World Tour event together in one of Beach Volleyball’s premiere events, Nivaldo Diaz and Sergio Gonzalez of Cuba posted a win over a highly-regarded Polish team here Saturday to highlight the six-match schedule on the sand at The Hofvijver stadium court in front of The Netherlands' center of government.

Seeded last in the 48-team men’s competition at the US$1-million FIVB “senior” Beach Volleyball World Championships, Diaz and Gonzalez scored a 2-1 (20-22, 21-13, 15-12) in 53 minutes over 24th-seeded Michal Kadziola and Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland, who are playing in their 68th world tour event together.

Despite the lack of FIVB World Tour credentials, the Cubans have been a force on their continental circuit where they have won six medals in the last 13 months, including four podium-topping performances in NORCECA. With the win, Diaz and Gonzalez are tied for the Pool A leadership in the men’s completion with top-seeded Reinder Nummerdor and Christiaan Varenhorst of The Netherlands.

Pool A play continues Sunday for Nummerdor and Varenhorst meeting Kadziola and Szalankiewicz, who placed ninth in the 2013 FIVB World Championships in Stare Jablonki, Poland. Diaz and Gonzalez play 25th-seeded Carlos Escobar and David Vargas of El Salvador Monday and close out group play Tuesday against Nummerdor and Varenhorst.

The top-seeded Nummerdor and Varenhorst posted a 2-0 (21-13, 21-13) victory in 34 minutes over Escobar and Vargas in Friday’s second match during the opening night of the 2015 FIVB World Championships at The Hofvijver stadium court. The Dutch are currently ranked fourth on the international standings after placing second last week at the United States Grand Slam in the United States.

Winning other men’s matches Saturday at The Hofvijver were ninth-seeded Tri Bourne/John Hyden of the United States and 16th-seeded Philip Gabathuler/Mirco Gerson of Switzerland in Pool I. The Americans defeated 40th-seeded Tim Oude Elferink/Daan Spijkers of The Netherlands 2-0 (21-9, 21-14) in 35 minutes while the Swiss posted a 2-0 (21-15, 21-11) win in 34 minutes over 33rd-seeded Erick Haddock/Roberto Rodriguez-Bertran of Puerto Rico in Saturday’s final match.

In women’s Pool H at The Hofvijver stadium court, eighth-seeded Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez of Spain defeated 41st-seeded Gabriela Tomasekova/Martina Turnerova of the Slovak Republic 2-0 (21-17, 21-15) in 37 minutes while 17th-seeded Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia downed 32nd-seeded Gabriela Filippo/Michelle Valiente of Paraguay 2-1 (17-21, 21-8, 15-1) in 41 minutes.

In the final women’s match Saturday, 24th-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes/Taylor Pischke of Canada scored a 2-0 (21-11, 21-7) in 30 minutes over 48th-seeded Orellana sisters (Maria A. and Maria J.) of Guatemala. With the win, the Canadians are tied with top-seeded Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel of The Netherlands in Pool A.

The two teams meet Sunday afternoon in the second FIVB meeting between the two teams. Meppelink and Van Iersel defeated Humana-Paredes and Pischke last September in the Brazilian Grand Slam in Sao Paulo. Playing in the first match Friday, Meppelink and Van Iersel scored a 2-1 (21-19, 20-22, 15-12) win in 58 minutes over 25th-seeded Tatyana Mashkova and Irina Tsimbalova of Kazakhstan.

The second full-day of competition at the FIVB World Championships will be Sunday with pool play action at The Hofvijver stadium court along with competition in Amsterdam, Apeldoorn and Rotterdam. In addition to playing for the $60,000 first-place prize money, the 2015 FIVB World Championships will also reward the country with the gold medal team a berth in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Pool play for the 48 teams in each gender’s competition will continue through Tuesday (June 30) with the elimination rounds beginning Wednesday leading to the medal matches July 4 for women and July 5 for men.


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