World champions Agatha & Barbara seek Olympic gold

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 16, 2016 - Reigning FIVB world champions Agatha Bednarczuk and Barbara Seixas will be out to collect Olympic gold after the Brazilians overcame a two-point deficit in the first set and scored points on two significant rallies in the second set to defeat Americans April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings in the second women’s semi-final match here early Wednesday morning at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Seeded second in the competition, Agatha and Barbara posted a 2-0 (22-20, 21-18) win in 48 minutes over the third-seeded Americans in the fifth international meeting between the two teams.  Ross and Walsh Jennings had won the previous two matches and led 3-1 heading into the Rio semi-final.

Ross and Walsh Jennings broke a 16-16 tie to lead 18-16 when the Brazilians scored three-straight points to take a 19-18 edge on an Agatha attack, a Barbara service winner and a Walsh Jennings error.  The Americans tied it at 19s and 20s before Barbara scored the final two points of the set with a successful attack and a “husband-wife” service winner.

In the second set, Ross and Walsh Jennings led only once and tied the Brazilians three times at 8s, 9s and 11s before Agatha came up with big plays to dishearten the Americans.  The first “long” point won by the Brazilians was with Ross and Walsh Jennings trailing 13-12 as an Agatha attack ended the eight net-crossing rally.

The next eight net-crossing rally was with the Brazilians leading 16-14 and featured three blocks by Agatha to give the winners a three-point cushion as Ross and Walsh Jennings failed to handle get any closer that two points down the stretch.

With the victory, Agatha and Barbara play fourth-seeded Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst in the women’s gold medal at mid-night Wednesday at the 12,000-seat “Coliseu on Copacabana”.  With Germany winning the men’s Olympic gold at the London 2012 Summer Games (Julius Brink/Jonas Reckermann), Ludwig and Walkenhorst will be out to match the effort as the pair has already secured their country’s first-ever women’s Beach Volleyball medal.

Ludwig and Walkenhorst have won four of five international matches with Agatha and Barbara, including gold medal wins at the 2015 Yokohama Grand Slam in Japan and two months ago at the smart Hamburg Major in Germany.  The match will also be the 18th FIVB gold medal meeting between the two countries with Brazil leading 13-5.

Germany has won the last three title meetings as Ludwig and Walkenhorst have defeated three different Brazilian pairs for gold medals in Mexico (Eduarda Lisboa/Elize Maia), Hamburg and Poland (Talita Antunes/Larissa Franca).  The last Brazilian gold medal win was Talita and Larissa over Ludwig and Walkenhorst at the 2015 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals in the United States.

Agatha and Barbara will be seeking to become Brazil’s first women’s Olympic gold medal winner since the Atlanta 1996 Summer Games when Jackie Silva and Sandra Pires topped the podium in the first Beach Volleyball competition at the Summer Games.  Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede collected silver medals at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games.


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