Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 8, 2016 - In a match between two pairs trying to post their first Rio 2016 Olympic Beach Volleyball win, Switzerland’s Isabelle Forrer and Anouk Verge-Depre handled the pressure better than Asian Continental Cup qualifiers Mariafe Artacho and Nicole Laird of Australia to secure a women’s Pool C win here Monday morning.
As the more experienced pair in the match with 57 FIVB World Tour starts together as compared to their Aussies’ 13 participations on the international circuit, Forrer and Verge-Depre posted a 2-1 (19-21, 21-16, 21-19) Pool C win in 66 minutes over Artacho and Laird in the first international meeting between the two teams.
With both teams needing a match win to “stay alive” for a berth in the 16-team elimination rounds, Artacho and Laird had two match points in the third-and-deciding set after recovering from a 9-7 deficit to take a 14-12 lead. Two successful attacks by Forrer and a Verge-Depre block gave the Swiss at 15-14 lead.
After fending off three Swiss match point attempts, the Australians regained the lead at 19-18 on a Laird service winner. The Swiss responded with three-straight points on a Forrer attack and two hitting errors by Artacho.
With Forrer and Verge-Depre now perched in third-place in Pool C with a 1-1 record, the group leadership will be decided at the end of the third day of competition when American Olympic medalists April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings play Fan Wang and Yuan Yue of China in a “midnight madness” match at the 12,000-seat “Coliseu on Copacabana”.
During Saturday’s opening schedule, Ross and Walsh Jennings scored a 2-0 (21-14, 21-13) win in 32 minutes over Artacho and Laird while Wang and Yue defeated Forrer and Verge-Depre 2-1 (24-22, 18-21, 15-12) in another 66-minute Pool C match. Group play for the four teams concludes Wednesday with the Americans playing Forrer/Verge-Depre and the Chinese meeting Artacho/Laird.
The top two teams from each pool advance to the elimination rounds along with the top two third-place group finishers based on match wins and point ratio. The worst four third-place finishers will playoff Thursday evening for the last two berths in the “Sweet 16” rounds that will be played Friday and Saturday for both women and men.