Ledoux and Stockman stage comebacks to win Satun gold
Caitlin Ledoux and Emily Stockman celebrate a point in the women’s final in Satun
Satun, Thailand, April 11, 2018 – Tenth-seeded Caitlin Ledoux and Emily Stockman are the winners of the SMM Pak Bara Beach Satun one-star stop on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The American pair staged two great comebacks in their matches on Wednesday to grab the women’s crown. For 29-year-old Stockman it was the second gold and second medal of any kind on the World Tour after victory at Langkawi 2017. For 27-year-old Ledoux, this was also the second podium finish, but the first ever gold after claiming silver at Shepparton 2018.
The Satun women’s silver went to Tatyana Mashkova and Irina Tsimbalova. For the Kazakhstani players seeded fourth in the tournament it was the first ever medal on the World Tour. Thailand’s Rumpaipruet Numwong and Khanittha Hongpak, seeded fifth, pleased the home crowd with the bronze medal. For the 23-year-old athletes, it was also the first podium finish in their World Tour careers.
In Wednesday’s gold medal match, Ledoux and Stockman claimed a 2-1 (19-21, 21-16, 15-8) victory over Mashkova and Tsimbalova after 43 minutes of play. Halfway through the first set, the Kazakhstani duo established a slight lead and maintained it through to the end of the set, which came at 21-19 after a successful hit by Mashkova. In the second set the Americans started showing their superiority and cruised to a comfortable 21-16 win, shaped up with a smart hit by Stockman for the last point. The decisive tie-breaker was quite competitive through 5-5, but then Ledoux and Stockman went on a 10-3 run, with Stockman once again taking the responsibility to close the set at 15-8.
The bronze medal match was a tough battle, which the home team managed to win in straight sets. In both sets, however, Numwong and Hongpak celebrated narrow two-point wins – 2-0 (21-19, 24-22) against third-seeded Dhita Juliana and Putu Utami. The Indonesians stormed into the first set to open a 7-1 lead and widened it to 13-6. Cheered on by the fans on Pak Bara Beach, the Thai pair reacted with a seven-point series to tie the set at 13-13. In the concluding rallies Numwong and Hongpak scored three in a row for a 21-19 win. The fierce battle for every point went on throughout the second set, with the gap never exceeding two points. The Indonesians were the first to reach set point, but then they had to save a couple of match points for Thailand. On the third one, Hongpak found an empty spot in the opponents’ half to close the game at 24-22.
Both semifinals earlier on Wednesday proved to be dramatic three-setters, in which the eventual winners had to come back from a set down on the way to the big final. Ledoux and Stockman overcame the resistance of Dhita and Putu for a 2-1 (20-22, 21-16, 15-13) victory after 53 minutes of play. It took Mashkova and Tsimbalova a minute longer to claim a 2-1 (19-21, 21-18, 17-15) win over Numwong and Hongpak after a dramatic overtime tie-breaker.
Next on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour is the double-gender four-star stop in Xiamen, China from April 18 through 22.