Miguel Pereira, Brazil, May 27, 2018 – 20-year-old Romanians Adriana-Maria Matei and Beata Vaida made it all the way to the top of the podium at the Miguel Pereira one-star event on the 2018 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour. The gold medal they earned on Brazilian sand is not only their first on the Tour, but also the first for their country in either gender.
The silver medals went to Aline Lebioda and Diana Bellas Romariz Silva. In their very first appearance on the World Tour, the 27-year-old Brazilians managed to reach the final.
Another Brazilian pair completed the podium. The tournament’s #1 seeds Taina Silva Bigi and Victoria Lopes Pereira Tosta, a partnership between a 2013 and a 2016 U19 world champion, won the third place match on the banks of Lake Javary and claimed the first Tour medal for either player.
The women’s podium at Miguel Pereira
In front of the packed stands at centre court, Matei and Vaida clearly dominated the first set of the gold medal match against Aline and Diana. They quickly established a lead and kept extending it until Matei spiked successfully to close the set with a solid advantage. The Romanians led the way through most of the second set, but had to come back from a late scare, when the Brazilians managed to gain a 17-14 advantage. They caught up and reached match point at 20-19, and converted it immediately to a 2-0 (21-13, 21-19) victory, taking revenge for that dramatic three-set loss to Aline and Diana in the pool stage.
“We are very happy! This is our first FIVB medal. This was the best tournament for us. We enjoyed playing here, in front of these people,” Adriana Matei said after the final.
“It was very hard to beat a team from Brazil here, but I think the crowd actually helped us a lot. Although they were cheering for the home team, we liked this atmosphere. It’s amazing and we had a really great time here, in Brazil,” Beata Vaida added. “I think this is really historic for Romanian beach volleyball.”
The first set of the all-Brazilian bronze medal match between the top-seeded and the bottom-seeded teams was very tight. Naiana Rodrigues de Araujo and Rachel Nunes kept it level through 17-17, but soon after, Victoria managed to find the empty spot in the corner to convert the first set point for her team into a 21-18 win. In the second set, Taina and Victoria managed to recover from a 10-7 deficit before reaching a triple match point. Naiana and Rachel denied the first two, but on the third, it was again Victoria who put the ball on the sand to close the match in straight sets at 21-19.
The all-Brazilian semifinal on Sunday morning delighted the crowd with a spectacular three-setter, in which Aline and Diana upset the top-seeded Taina and Victoria with a 2-1 (21-16, 15-21, 15-11) victory.
In the earlier semifinal, which lasted only 30 minutes, Matei and Vaida delivered an impressive 2-0 (21-9, 21-17) shutout of Naiana and Rachel.