Doha, Qatar, October 14, 2019 – United States will lock horns with Canada in an all-North-American clash in one of Tuesday’s semifinals of the beach volleyball 4x4 women’s tournament at the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games. In the other, Australia will challenge Brazil. These four teams emerged victorious from Monday’s quarterfinal games in Doha.
United States became the first team to secure a spot in the semifinals, with a speedy 25-minute 2-0 (21-6, 21-9) victory over Vanuatu in what was the shortest running match of the tournament so far. The Americans established complete control on the court and the team from the Pacific could not find a way to counteract. Setter Karissa Cook hammered the overpass to fix the winning 21-6 in the first set. Vanuatu could not reach the double digits in the second either. After their ninth point their spike went wide to let the Americans celebrate victorious. Cook scored a total of nine points to top the scorers’ chart of the match.
In the last of four women’s quarterfinals, Brazil sealed the victory over Gambia at the exact same final score - 2-0 (21-6, 21-9). Barbara Seixas was the game’s top scorer, with eight points, including three aces.
Brazil’s Juliana Felisberta Da Silva sets the ball
Canada played a very strong first set against Nigeria. The North Americans quickly broke away and never looked back, with Rachel Cockrell spiking off the opponents’ block to shape up the 21-11 set win. The Africans fought back to open a two-point lead in the second set. Canada recovered quickly and once again run off with a solid advantage. However, Nigeria were not ready to surrender. With Francisca Ikhiede serving, they denied several Canadian match points to level the score at 20-20 and push it into overtime, but with another off-the-block hit, this time by Charlotte Sider, Canada fixed the win at 2-0 (21-11, 22-20). With 10 points to her name, Cockrell became the best scorer of the match, while Ikhiede impressed with as many as five aces.
“It is our first time playing in this four-on-four format. When we came in we were styling more like in indoor volleyball and it was really tiring,” Canada’s Camille Saxton commented, referring to her team’s surprising loss to Vanuatu in their first match at the World Beach Games. “So we’ve learned a lot of different ways to play the game and I think now we are styling it more like beach volleyball and that has helped us a lot. In every match we have changed our defence and offence a little bit and now we are figuring it out, finally. 4x4 beach volleyball is really dynamic and, I would say, a lot more aggressive than beach, with a lot less shooting and lot more hitting, but also the same ball control that’s required for beach. So it’s a really good mix. Our next opponents USA are a really good team, so we are going to have to play really well. I think it’s anybody’s game and if we bring the fire, then we’ll see what we can do. We want a medal!”
Canada’s Rachel Cockrell spikes over Nigeria’s double block
Australia became the third team to advance to the semis after mastering a straight-set 2-0 (21-14, 21-14) victory over Czech Republic. In each of the two sets, the Europeans put up a strong fight, but somewhere along the way the Volleyroos managed to open up a gap and cruise on to the win. Stefanie Weiler attacked for the winning point in each of the sets towards an individual total of 11 points, but it was her teammate Brittany Kendall, who topped the charts with 13 points to her name.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match. We had many things we wanted to improve on from the last one, because we had been a little disappointed with our performance. We went out there, we did the things that we wanted to change and we got the result. We are really happy and really proud. 4x4 beach volleyball is definitely interesting, with a lot of different concepts. Everyone is giving it their best crack and we are just trying to have fun with it. So far it’s working out and we are really happy to be here in Doha,” said Australia’s Stefanie Weiler and went on to comment on her team’s next opponent, Brazil. “Sometimes, when you have nothing to lose, that’s when you are dangerous, so we’ll see what happens. We’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be good fun.”
Australia’s Stefanie Weiler tips the ball over Kylie Neuschaeferova's block