Photos courtesy of FIVB.
The third annual ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball in Long Beach's final day of competition on Sunday was fierce, to say the least. The series began on Tuesday at Alamitos Beach and featured heated matches between the world’s top competitors, a spectacle that locals and out-of-towners flocked seaward to watch throughout the week and weekend.
Reigning FIVB (International Volleyball Federation) world champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt captured their fourth-straight gold medal on the International Beach Volleyball circuit after an intense three-rounds against the American competition, Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, during the finals on Sunday.
The second-seeded Cerutti and Schmidt fought the good battle for an impressive 75 minutes against the 24th-seeded Dalhausser and Lucena, winning 2-1 with the scores 21-16, 20-22, 15-13, completing the 51st “Brazilian sweep” of a FIVB World Tour event.
Brazilian “Golden girls” Talita Antunes and Larissa Franca seized the women’s gold medal match before a packed stadium on the TrueCar Court. The second-seeded team posted a 2-0 (21-18, 21-16) win in 54 minutes over the eighth-seeded American volleyball favorites April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings.
Sunday was the 10th time in FIVB World Tour history that both the women’s and men’s gold medal matches featured teams from the South and North American countries, according to Long Beach Grand Slam’s post-event report. In addition to the gold medal and 800 team qualifying points for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the podium-topping teams each took home the $57,000 first-place prize.
United states FIVB World Tour silver medalists Dalhausser and Lucena and Ross and Jennings each split their $42,000 earnings. For the women, sixth-seeded Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany won 2-0 (21-17, 21-13) in 47 minutes for the bronze against seventh-seeded Louise Bawden and Taliqua Clancy of Australia, while 10th-seeded Adrian Gavira and Pablo Herrera of Spain rebounded to capture the bronze against Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands, posting a 2-1 finish with the scores 9-21, 21-17, 15-12.
The ASICS World Series of Beach Volleyball is the second of two events in the United States this season that are a part of the qualifying process for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The first 2015 Olympic qualifier was held in mid-June in St. Petersburg, FL.
Following the weekend’s athletic triumphs, the final Grand Slam event on the 2015 FIVB World Tour will take place in Olsztyn, Poland August 25 through the 30th. The “test” event for the Rio 2016 Olympics will be staged September 2 through 6 in the same location for the Summer Games’ Beach Volleyball competition on Copacabana Beach.
According to the release, before returning to the United States for the SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale, FL September 29 through October 4, the international circuit will stage “open” tournaments in Russia (Sochi, September 8-13) and China (Xiamen, September 22-27).