Happy Mariafe and Taliqua hug each other upon winning Lucerne gold
Lucerne, Switzerland, May 13, 2018 – Top-seeded Australians Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho lived up to their status and made it all the way to the top of the women’s podium at the Lucerne three-star stop on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. For them this is the third gold (after Qinzhou and Sydney in the fall of 2017) and the fourth overall medal on the Tour.
Third-seeded Fan Wang and Xinyi Xia of China settled for the silver medals in Lucerne, their second on the World Tour as a pair. For 2016 Olympian Fan Wang, this followed three earlier runner-up finishes. 21-year-old Xinyi Xia added a ninth medal to her tally, now boasting three gold, four silver and two bronze medals.
The bronze medals went to USA’s Emily Stockman and Kelley Larsen, seeded ninth. This is their first World Tour podium as a team. For Larsen it is the second bronze, while they both have two gold medals each with different partners.
The women’s medallists at Lucerne
The final match was all about Clancy and Artacho. They dominated the first set completely and won it by a landslide. The second was a bit more balanced, but the Australians stayed in control, not letting Fan Wang and Xinyi Xia come back into the game. Taliqua Clancy used her power shot to close the match and fix the final 2-0 (21-12, 21-18).
“We are really excited! This is the third gold and it is exciting for us how we can keep growing our game as a new team,” Artacho said.
“We take it one tournament at a time and one game at a time. We knew they would come out strong, so we definitely knew we had to re-focus again, because we all had a long tournament. So we are feeling really good about it now,” Clancy added.
The third place match was a tough three-set battle between Stockman and Larsen and Netherlands’ Joy Stubbe and Marleen Ramond-van Iersel. The Americans led the way through most of the first set, but a last-minute run for the Dutch won them the set. After that, however, Stockman and Larsen managed to stay in control and win the next two sets on the way to a 2-1 (19-21, 21-17, 15-9) bronze victory.
“It feels amazing!” Emily Stockman said. “Kelley and I are a new team and it is really nice to see our chemistry on the court. It feels right and it feels good at such an early part of the season.”
“We played well this tournament,” Kelley Larsen added. “We played some really tough teams. The Netherlands played great. It was a battle in that three-set match.”