Lucerne, Switzerland, May 15, 2016 – Canadian twins Megan and Nicole McNamara stormed into the semifinals of the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships on Sunday. The 18-year olds booked a solid 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) win over Paraguay’s Erika Mongelos Bobadilla and Michelle Valiente Amarilla.
In the semifinals on Monday the 18-year old McNamara’s are up against fourth seeded Russians Nadezda Makroguzova and Svetlana Kholomina. In the other semi youth olympic champions Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa Santos and Ana Patricia Silva Ramos from Brazil take on USA’s Sarah Sponcil and Torrey Van Winden.
“It felt good, a good win”, Megan McNamara said about their quarterfinal against Paraguay. The Canadian team was leading throughout the match and reached their first match point at 20-16. They grabbed victory with a clever dink over Erika on their third match point.
What really made the difference in the match against Paraguay was the serving pressure the jump-serving twins are know for, but that also means taking risks.
“The strongest part of our game is probably our serving”, Megan said. “So we like to take that risk, get some aces and accept a few errors. And even if it’s not an ace, put the other team in trouble and get an easier ball back. It definitely paid back in this game.”
The twins finished 17th at the 2014 U21, but won bronze at the U19 that year and silver at the Youth Olympic Games. In Lucerne they have only lost one game, the first pool match against Lithuania, which cost them the pool win.
Megan: “We had a tough loss in the very first game. We just came out and weren’t playing aggressively and the game just got away from us. But that was kind of a wake up call. So we have been giving it our all for the rest of the games.”
The UCLA-students have never played their opponents in the semifinals, Russia’s Makroguzova and Kholomina, who defeated Romanian qualifiers Adriana-Maria Matei and Beata Vaida 2-0 (21-17, 21-10), in the quarterfinal. “But we’re excited and it’s going to be a good game.”
To prepare for this game the twins plan to relax first. “Our whole family is here. So we might take a break off from the whole volleyball scene and do something touristy. Enjoy Switzerland. Having our family here helps, it’s a stress reliever to just be able to hug our mum and dad or our grandparents.”USA meets Brazil
Brazil’s Duda and Ana Patricia eased their way into the semis with a 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) win over Dutch team Joy Stubbe and Nika Daalderop.
“We are very happy because we played well today”, 17-year old Duda said. “Ana Patricia was very strong, she played really well and did really good work today.”
USA’s Sponcil and Van Winden had a much tougher match against Russia’s Daria Rudykh and Elizaveta Zayonchkovskaya: 21-14, 19-21, 15-12.
“The second set we just got a little too comfortable”, 17-year old Van Winden explained. “They switched up a few of the things they were doing against us. And it started to work.”
Tall blocker Zayonchkovskaya shook of the nerves and started to rule at the net with a couple of kill blocks on Van Winden, which was the key in winning the set. In the tiebreak the Russians took a two-point lead, but the Americans came back to level at 7-7 and took it from there to 15-12.
“Our motto is one at a time, our side of the court, it doesn’t matter what is around us or who is against us”, Van Winden said. “So we just looked at each other and said ‘one point at a time, one point at a time’. Getting a few defensive points got us back in the game. Glad we pulled it out.”
Sponcil competed at the U19 in Porto in 2014 (37th), but Van Winden has never played in an international beach competition before.
“It’s incredible. We never played in a crowd this big. I play indoor. Beach has always been my secondary. I never knew there was anything this big for my age. I am definitely favouring beach after this.”Quick linksFIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships Lucerne 2016Men - Qualification resultsWomen - Qualification resultsMen - Main draw resultsWomen - Main draw results