The Hague, The Netherlands, June 26, 2015 - Playing before a packed house on the sand at The Hofvijver stadium court in front of The Netherlands' center of government, the Dutch pairs of Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel and Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst posted opening wins here Friday in the US$1-million FIVB “senior” Beach Volleyball World Championships.
With both teams being seeded No. 1 and competing in the Pool As in the women’s and men’s competitions, the host country teams posted wins over tandems from Kazakhstan and El Salvador to cap the first day of competition that also included opening ceremonies.
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. It was the first win this season for the Dutch over Mashkova and Tsimbalova and the second overall in two meetings on the FIVB World Tour. Meppelink and Van Iersel defeated Friday’s foe last season in Shanghai.
“It was an amazing atmosphere tonight,” said Meppelink after the match. “Our opponents played really well and thank goodness we made the plays at the end. The pressure was on us due to playing here in The Netherlands. We survived and now we have a day to prepare for our next match against a team from Guatemala.”
The reigning European champions, Meppelink and Van Iersel will have an off-day Saturday before resuming Pool A play Sunday against 48th-seeded Orellanas (Maria A. and Maria J.) of Guatemala. Mashkova and Tsimbalova’s next match is also Sunday against 24th-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes/Taylor Pischke of Canada. The group concludes its schedule Monday with Meppelink and Van Iersel facing the Canadians and the Orellanas challenging Mashkova and Tsimbalova.
Nummerdor and Varenhorst posted a 2-0 (21-13, 21-13) victory in 34 minutes over 25th-seeded Carlos Escobar and David Vargas of El Salvador in the second match Friday. It was the first meeting between the two teams as Escobar and Vargas are competing together in their first-ever FIVB World Tour event.
“Christiaan carried the old man tonight,” said the 38-year Nummerdor after the match. “After all the work to prepare for this event, it was great to see a full house tonight. I am glad to get a day off Saturday as we prepare for a match against Cuba. I don’t know much about them, but I heard they are very athletic and have played well on their continental tour.”
The pool play continues Sunday for Nummerdor and Varenhorst with a match against 24th-seeded Michal Kadziola/Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland. Escobar and Vargas meet 48th-seeded Nivaldo Diaz/Sergio Gonzalez of Cuba in their next match Sunday. The group finishes pool play Tuesday with the Dutch playing Diaz/Gonzalez and the Poles meeting Escobar and Vargas.
The first full-day of competition will be Saturday 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.