The Hague, The Netherlands, June 28, 2015 - After playing only eight matches during the first two days of competition on the sand at The Hofvijver stadium court in the 2015 FIVB “senior” Beach Volleyball Championships, the schedule here Sunday in front of The Netherlands' center of government became more intense with six women and five men’s matches.
Posting wins Sunday for the Netherlands were the top-seeded pairs in both the men’s and women’s competition - Madelein Meppelink/Marleen Van Iersel and Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst. Both teams are competing in the first group (Pool A) and are currently 2-0 in the FIVB World Championships.
Meppelink and Van Iersel, the reigning European champions, were the first Dutch team on the on the sand at The Hofvijver stadium court and did not disappointing their family, friends and fans by posting a 2-0 (21-15, 21-14) win in 36 minutes over 24th-seeded Melissa Humana-Paredes/Taylor Pischke of Canada. It was Meppelink and Van Iersel’s second win over the Canadians on the FIVB World Tour with the first being last September in the Brazilian Grand Slam in Sao Paulo.
With the triumph, the Dutch clinched the Pool A title before learning that their final group match Monday against 48th-seeded Orellana sisters (Maria A. and Maria J.) of Guatemala would be forfeited due to injuries. In the second set of the Orellanas’ Sunday match with 25th-seeded Tatyana Mashkova and Irina Tsimbalova of Kazakhstan, Maria A. suffered a left knee injury and could not continue. Mashkova and Tsimbalova, who dropped 2-1 (21-19, 20-22, 15-12) decision Friday to Meppelink and Van Iersel in 58 minute, had won the first set 21-7, but were trailing 2-1 in the second when the injury occurred.
The 38-year old Nummerdor and the towering Varenhorst (211 cm, 6’11) gained control of their pool with a 2-1 (21-18, 14-21, 15-12) win in 47 minutes over 24th-seeded Michal Kadziola and Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland. The Dutch conclude group action Tuesday against 48th-seeded Nivaldo Diaz and Sergio Gonzalez of Cuba.
Playing in their first-ever FIVB World Tour event together, Diaz and Gonzalez scored a 2-1 (20-22, 21-13, 15-12) victory in 53 minutes over Kadziola and Szalankiewicz Saturday. The Cubans play 25th-seeded Carlos Escobar and David Vargas of El Salvador Monday before meeting the Dutch Tuesday.
Dutchmen Tim Oude Elferink and Daan Spijkers, the last team to qualify for the 2015 world championships via a playoff with other pairs from The Netherlands, dropped their second match of the competition with a 2-0 (21-15, 21-11) setback in 34 minutes to 16th-seeded Philip Gabathuler/Mirco Gerson of Switzerland in Pool I.
Oude Elferink and Spijkers still have an opportunity to advance to the elimination rounds, but must defeat 33rd-seeded Erick Haddock/Roberto Rodriguez-Bertran of Puerto Rico and hope to finish among the top eight third-place finishers in group play. The Puerto Ricans lost to ninth-seeded Tri Bourne/John Hyden of the United States in Sunday last match 2-0 (26-24, 21-19) in 40 minutes. Bourne and Hyden play Gabathuler and Gerson Monday for the Pool I title and a continued stay in The Hague.
Two groups (men’s H and women’s I) played their first world championship matches Sunday. In the men’s Pool H, eighth-seeded Jonathan Erdmann/Kay Matysik of Germany defeated 41st-seeded Grant Goldschmidt/Leo Williams of South Africa 2-0 (21-13, 21-13) in 32 minutes with Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk of Canada posted a 2-0 (21-14, 21-14) in 34 minutes. Erdmann and Matysik were bronze medal winners at the 2013 FIVB World Championships in Stare Jablonki, Poland.
Women’s Pool I featured an All-Swiss confrontation along with a Brazilian pair that captured the 2014 FIVB World Tour stop in The Hague - Fernanda Alves/Taiana Lima. The ninth-seeded Brazilians opened with a 2-0 (21-5, 21-12) win in 23 minutes over ninth-seeded Randy Williams/Palesa Sekonyana of South Africa. In the first Pool I match Sunday, 33rd-seeded Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Verge-Depre defeated 16th-seeded compatriots Joana Heidrich/Nadine Zumkehr 2-0 (22-20, 21-13) in 42 minutes.
The top two teams in women’s Pool H won as expected. Eighth-seeded Elsa Baquerizo/Liliana Fernandez of Spain defeated Gabriela Filippo/Michelle Valiente of Paraguay 2-0 (21-16, 21-16) in 44 minutes while 17th-seeded Louise Bawden/Taliqua Clancy of Australia posted a 2-0 (21-11, 21-11) victory in 29 minutes over 41st-seeded Gabriela Tomasekova/Martina Turnerova Slovak Republic. The Spaniards and Aussie meet Tuesday to decide the pool winner.
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. 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.