Lucena and Brunner lead semifinals charges as Amsterdam closes for business

Amsterdam, the Netherlands, July 2, 2015 – Nick Lucena and Theodore Brunner ensured that they wrapped up their Amsterdam campaign in unbeaten fashion by reaching the Netherlands 2015, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships semifinals on Thursday. 

All four semifinals and the medal matches will take place in The Hague over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The US pair defeated Qatar’s surprise package Jefferson Santos Pereira and Cherif Younousse 2-0 (21-19, 21-19). They have been based in Amsterdam in the whole tournament and have now ensured that they leave with six wins from six in Dam Square. 

“They played great and had nothing to lose,” Lucena said. “We stuck in there and stole two games. Theo picked me up when I was down and I did the same too. This is a great team win and we’re stoked.”

It is a continuation of the form that earned them the bronze medal at the most recent FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour event in St Petersburg, Florida. 

'No expectations'

“We tried not to have any expectations, but now we can enjoy this moment,” Brunner said. “We have the day off tomorrow. It was a great team win today.”

Juliana Felisberta and Maria Antonelli finally brought the curtain down on the Amsterdam venue with a slick 2-0 (23-21, 21-18) victory over Canada’s Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan. 

Earlier in the day they knocked out fellow Brazilians and their former partners Larissa Franca and Talita Antunes, but showed no ill effects and after a close match took control of the second to reach the last four. 

“It is difficult to play after you’ve just played against another Brazilian team, because we put everything into,” Maria Antonelli said. “We feel that the job isn’t finished, but we only had 30 minutes to study the Canadians and Pavan is so big and hard to get around.”

Juliana is aiming to add a fifth World Championships medal to her collection after winning gold at Rome 2011 and a further two silver and one bronze, all alongside ex-teammate Larissa. 

“I know about this stage, I know the way,” she said. “Now we have to rest because it is a long tournament in a long season. We have to remain positive and go and play the semifinals and try to finish with strength and confidence.”


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