Four cities, 48 women’s teams, 12 pools begin round-robin play Friday

The Hague, Netherlands, June 23, 2015 – In the planning stages for over two years, the dream takes form and becomes reality this week as the most unique, memorable event in the history of the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) is held in the Netherlands. Starting Friday, the $1,000,000 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships featuring the world’s best players, will be held in four cities in the Netherlands.

A total of 48 women’s and 48 men’s teams have been split into 12 four-team pools for three rounds of pool play with plenty of promising matchups in 144 group matches among 12, four-team pools.

Launching the journey to the FIVB World Championship in The Hague on Friday will be the official opening ceremonies at 4:30 p.m. local time in the Royal City Hall followed by two matches, one from each gender, featuring a team in each from the host country. In the opening women’s match at 19.40 local time, Netherlands' top-seeded Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel will meet Kazakhstan's Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova followed by the opening men’s match between Netherlands’ top-seeded Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst playing against El Salvador's Escobar‘Tato’/Vargas‘Pep from El Salvador.

With a total of 96 tandems (48 in each gender), two-person teams will be competing for part of a $1 million purse as the Netherlands hosts an FIVB international event for the sixth consecutive year.  Anchored in The Hague round-robin Pool Play will be played in The Hague, Amsterdam, Apeldoorn and Rotterdam along with the first three rounds of elimination play for the 32 teams remaining per gender following three rounds of pool play. There will be three pools (12 teams) from each gender in each city for the three rounds of pool play and elimination rounds through the quarterfinals. The quarterfinal winners will then move to the semifinals and medal matches for each gender to be played in The Hague. The event starts Friday with the women’s medal matches on July 4and the men’s on July 5.

The gold medal winning teams in each gender will earn $70,000 while the silver medalists will take home $52,000 with the bronze medalists netting $40,000 with $30,000 going to the fourth place finishers.

Seven significant events have been played so far on the 2015 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar that includes five FIVB Grand Slams, the new FIVB Swatch Major Series of three events, seven FIVB Opens and a special Swatch FIVB World Tour Season Final in the United States. The showcase event in this Olympic qualifying period is this week’s FIVB World Championships in the Netherlands.

While there are certain to be the predictable numerous upsets during pool play as great athletes step up to meet the challenge, there are also some very interesting matchups based on the pool assignments determined by the Drawing of Lots in The Hague in early April.

As a prelude to the start of this year’s FIVB World Championships in the Netherlands there were seven tournaments (six double-gender, one women-only) on the 2015 FIVB World Tour which will raise the level of competition even higher in the Netherlands. Several of these teams met prior to the tournament during the FIVB World Tour events prior to June 26. With one of the top 12 seeds in the tournament in each of the 12 pools, here, by venue and by pool, is a brief look at some key women’s Pool Play matchups at the door starting Friday of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships the Netherlands 2015:

POOL A –The Hague
Top-seeded Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel of Netherlands are both veteran players but have played in just 11 FIVB World Tour events as a team with a 21-15 match record against the team’s in this championship, two career bronze medals and one fourth place finish entering this season. In her nine previous years on the FIVB World Tour, Meppelink has one gold medal and in her four years on the tour, Van Iersel has two gold medals. In Pool A, two key match ups will be with Canada’s Melissa Humana-Parades/Taylor Pischke (six career WT events) and with Kazakhstan’s Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova (46 WT events). The Dutch team has a 1-0 record against the Canadians and have not yet played against Kazakhstan’s Mashkova/Tsimbalova.

POOL H – The Hague
Spanish Olympians Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez have played in 72 FIVB World Tour events as a team with a 42-19 record against this field entering 2015 with three career silver medals, one bronze medal and three fourth place finishes and they also have a 5-1 record against Australian Olympian Louise Bawden and her current teammate Taliqua Clancy, who have played in 21 WT events.

POOL I – The Hague
Another of the new teams of veteran players, Brazil’s Fernanda Alves/Taiana Lima has played in six WT events entering 2015 with one gold medal and one fourth place finish and they are 1-0 against both of the Swiss teams in their pool, Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr, Switzerland and Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre, Switzerland although the win against Heidrich/Zumkehr went three sets.

In the only women’s pool with two teams from the same country, Switzerland’s Heidrich/Zumkehr (18 FIVB WT events) and compatriots Forrer/Verge-Depre (32 WT events) are 1-1 in previous WT matches and this looks to be another key match to determine which teams advance to the elimination rounds in The Hague.

POOL B - Amsterdam
In the most prolific new team on the FIVB World Tour, Brazil’s Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca duo had a 19-3 match record against this field entering 2015 with four gold medals in just six FIVB World Tour events together and both have played on the WT for 13 seasons. Both Brazilian two-time Olympians with different teammates, Talita has played in 137 WT events with 22 gold medals and Larissa has played in 122 with 50 gold medals entering 2015.  Providing stiff competition for the Brazilian tandem in pool play should be Switzerland’s Tanja Goricanec/Tanja Huberli. In their only previous meeting, Brazil won, but it took three sets to close it out.

POOL G - Amsterdam
One of the four super-talented teams from Brazil is another new team with veteran players Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta, Brazil. The Brazilian duo were No. 1 in the 2014 FIVB World Ranking and won the 2014 FIVB World Tour point title, competing in 14 events with one gold medal, four silvers, one bronze and one fourth place finish and a 34-19 overall match record together against the teams in this tournament. This will be the fourth appearance overall for Antonelli and sixth for Juliana in the FIVB World Championships. Antonelli won one bronze with Talita and Juliana won one gold medal, two silver medals and one bronze in four appearances with Larissa.

In their pool, Brazil’s Antonelli/Juliana will face a strong German duo in Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude. Brazil is 1-0 against the Germans who have played together nine times over the past few years prior to 2015 with one silver medal and one fourth place finish.

POOL J - Amsterdam
Winners of the silver medal in the 2013 FIVB World Championships in Stare Jablonki, Poland, Germany’s Karla Borger/Britta Buthe, have a 35-23 overall match record against the field in this year’s world championships and in 43 tournaments as a team, they have won two silver medals, one bronze and they also have one fourth place finish. The German’s and USA’s Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat have not met before but it is expected to be a very interesting pool play match as the American duo are both experienced and have two fifth place finishes in just eight tournaments as a team. Individually, Fendrick has four fourth place finishes in 70 career FIVB World Tour events and Sweat has one bronze medal in 23 world tour participations

POOL C - Apeldoorn
Two of the most decorated American players are now a team as USA’s April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings have both won FIVB World Championships and both have Olympic medals on their resumes. The legendary Walsh Jennings with three consecutive Olympic gold medals and three gold medals at the FIVB World Championships while playing with the retired Misty May-Treanor. Ross won the silver medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games and the gold medal at the 2009 FIVB World Championships with former teammate Jennifer Kessy. Great resume, but they are also older than most players with a combined age of 68 years and a combined 27 years experience on the FIVB World Tour.

Together, Ross/Walsh Jennings have a match record of 40-7 against this field entering 2015, went a perfect 30-0 in Pool Play in 2014 while winning six gold medals in the 13 FIVB World Tour events they have played as a team entering the 2015 season. Individually through 2014, Ross has played in 96 FIVB World Tour events with 16 gold medals and Walsh Jennings has competed in 99 with 50 gold medals to her credit.

A major challenge could be waiting for them in Pool Play from Canada’s Heather Bansley/Sarah Pavan. The Canadians have lost both times previously to USA’s Ross/Walsh Jennings with one going three sets. Through 2014, Canada’s Bansley/Pavan duo has played in 18 FIVB World Tour events as a team with four fifth-place finishes. While Bansley has played nine years with the FIVB, Pavan has four seasons in after a long and successful indoor career.

POOL F - Apeldoorn
Brazil’s Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas tandem is another well-prepared, experienced team from the South American powerhouse having played in 21 FIVB World Tour events as a team with a 31-16 record against the teams in this tournament through 2014 with one gold medal, one silver medal, three bronze medals and six fifth-place finishes. Individually, Bednarczuk has been playing internationally for nine years and played in 76 tournaments while Seixas has 10 years experience with 41 events. A strong pool challenge could come from USA’s Emily Day/Jennifer Kessy, another very new duo with lots of experience. This is the Americans first year playing as a team although Day has been playing with the FIVB for five years, appearing in 31 events with one silver medal and Kessy has been an FIVB star for 14 years with 105 events, 10 gold medals including winning the 2009 FIVB World Championship and the silver medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games with former teammate April Ross.

POOL K - Apeldoorn
Considered by many as a talented team that could easily end up on the podium, Germany’s Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst are back together again after Walkenhorst was forced to the sidelines during last season with an illness. Through 2014, together the Germans have played in 15 FIVB WT events, with a 21-11 match record against this field, with one gold medal, two silver medals, two bronze medals, one fourth place and three fifth place finishes including a fifth place finish in the 2013 FIVB World Championships in Poland. Individually through last season, Ludwig, a German Olympian, has been playing in FIVB events for 12 years with 111 tournament participations and her younger teammate Walkenhorst, who has been playing internationally for five seasons with 23 events completed.

A stiff pool play challenge for the Germans could come from the Natalia Dubovcova/Dominika Nestarcova of the Slovak Republic. Making significant improvement with tremendous experience Dubovcova/Nestarcova have played as a team for seven seasons, competing in 43 tournaments with two bronze and three fifth-place finishes through 2014. The Germans won the only meeting between the two teams.

POOL D - Rotterdam
Leading the four women’s teams from Germany is the very experienced Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler duo that has a 54-23 record against the field in this year’s FIVB World Championships through 2014 and as a team they have played in 88 total FIVB tournaments as a team through 2014  with two gold medals, five silver medals, six bronze medals and four fourth-place finishes. Both veterans of 13 FIVB international seasons, this is their fourth participation in the FIVB World Championships.

Czech Republic’s Martina Bonnerova/Barbora Hermannova is another improving team that is expected to challenge Germany’s Holtwick/Semmler for pool supremacy. Czech Republic’s Bonnerova/Hermannova ended the 2014 FIVB World Tour with a gold medal and the long-time team that has played 37 FIVB World Tour events together and finished last year’s season with a pair of fifth-place finishes before winning their first gold medal. The Germans do hold a 2-0 edge in the series history between the two teams.

POOL E - Rotterdam
Coming of their best season on the FIVB World Tour in 2014, Czech Republic’s fifth-seeded Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova, are clear favorites to win their pool in Rotterdam, but they will be tested along the way. The Czech Republic Olympians have been a team for a decade and they have a 36-23 record against the teams in this year’s FIVB World Championships through 2014. As a tandem, they have played in 56 FIVB World Tour events and won two gold medals and one bronze medal on the 2014 FIVB World Tour, their first podium finishes.

A possible challenge for the Czech Republic’s Kolocova/Slukova during Pool Play competition is Canada’s Jamie Lynn Broder/Kristina Valjas, a NORCECA wild card selection after China’s Xinyi Xia/Chen Xue was a late injury withdraw.

The other team in Pool E that the Czech Republic team is very familiar with having a 4-2 record against them through last season is Poland’s Monika Brzostek/Kinga Kolosinska. The Polish pair has played in 35 FIVB World Tour events as a team and they are former FIVB age-group World Champions. This will be their second FIVB World Championships after finishing ninth in their home country in 2013.

POOL L - Rotterdam
Starting at the top of Pool L in Rotterdam is China’s Fan Wang/Yuan Yue, a team with experience as Wang has played in 43 FIVB World Tour events and Yue has competed in 60 through 2014. Together through last season, they have a 23-21 record against the teams in this year’s event and as a team they have played in 17 FIVB tournaments as a tandem with two silver medals and one fourth-place finish.

Top challenger in the pool will be the Italian duo of Olympian Marta Menegatti and fellow 24-year old Viktoria Orsi Toth. As a relatively new team Menegatti, who has played in 69 FIVB international tournaments, and Orsi Toth, who has been in 29, have competed in 17 as a team with one silver medal and two fourth place finishes. This will be Menegatti’s third FIVB World Championship and second for Orsi Toth.

Also in Pool L in Rotterdam is Netherlands’ Danielle Remmers/Michelle Stiekema who earned a wild card birth as the winners of the Dutch Premier League to give the host nation four women’s teams in the event.

For more information, schedules and results, visit
June 26-July 5, The Netherlands

THE HAGUE (seed)
POOL A in The Hague
(1) Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel, Netherlands
(24) Melissa Humana-Paredes/Taylor Pischke, Canada
(25) Tatyana Mashkova/Irina Tsimbalova, Kazakhstan
(48) Maria A Orellana/Maria J Orellana, Guatemala

POOL H in The Hague
(8) Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez, Spain
(17) Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy, Australia
(32) Gabriela Flippo/Michelle Valiente, Paraguay
(41) Gabriela Tomasekova/Tina Turnerova, Slovak Republic

POOL I in The Hague
(9) Fernanda Alves/Taiana Lima, Brazil
(16) Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr, Switzerland
(33) Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre, Switzerland
(40) Randy Williams/Palesa Sekhonyana, South Africa

POOL B in Amsterdam
(2) Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca, Brazil
(23) Tanja Goricanec/Tanja Huberli, Switzerland
(26) Julaluk Radarong/Manerat Udomchavee, Thailand
(47) Jantine van der Vlist/Sophie van Gestel, Netherlands

POOL G in Amsterdam
(7) Maria Antonelli/Juliana Felisberta, Brazil
(18) Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude, Germany
(31) Linline Matauatu/Pata Miller, Vanuatu
(42) Louiza Bayou/Meriem Boucheta, Algeria

Pool J in Amsterdam
(10) Karla Borger/Britta Buthe, Germany
(15) Lauren Fendrick/Brooke Sweat, United States
(34) Ekaterina Birlova/Evgeniya Ukolova, Russia
(39) Priscilla Agera/Isabela Eyetsonetan, Nigeria

POOL C in Apeldoorn
(3) Kerri Walsh Jennings/April Ross, United States
(22) Heather Bansley/Sarah Pavan, Canada
(27) Mariafe Artacho/Nicole Laird, Australia
(46) Rimke Braakman/Jolien Sinnema, Netherlands

POOL F in Apeldoorn
(6) Agatha Bednarczuk/Barbara Seixas, Brazil
(19) Emily Day/Jennifer Kessy, United States
(30) Bibiana Candelas/Claudia Rios, Mexico
(43) Lianma Flores/Leila Martinez, Cuba

POOL K in Apeldoorn
(11) Laura Ludwig/Kira Walkenhorst, Germany
(14) Natalia Dubovcova/Dominika Nestarcova, Slovak Republic
(35) Karolina Baran/Jagoda Gruszczynska, Poland
(38) Nathalia Alfaro/Karen Charles, Costa Rica

POOL D in Rotterdam
(4) Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler, Germany
(21) Martina Bonnerova/Barbora Hermannova, Czech Republic
(28) Norisbeth Agudo/Olaya Perez, Venezuela
(45) Fabiana Gomez/Maria Nieto, Uruguay

POOL E in Rotterdam
(5) Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova, Czech Republic
(20) Monika Brzostek/Kinga Kolosinska, Poland
(29) Jamie Broder/Kristina Valjas, Canada
(44) Ikram Ettayafi/Mahassine Siad, Morocco

POOL L in Rotterdam
(12) Fan Wang/Yuan Yue, China
(13) Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth, Italy
(36) Ana Gallay/Georgina Klug, Argentina
(37) Danielle Remmers/Michelle Stiekema, Netherlands


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