There are always big shakeups in beach volleyball pairings after an Olympic year, and there have already been a few this winter, including the pairing of Summer Ross and Brooke Sweat. The biggest swap yet heading into the 2017 season has been announced this week, however, as Brazil’s #2 pair Evandro and Pedro Solberg is splitting up – part of a massive Brazilian re-pairing.
The duo tied for 9th at the 2016 Summer Olympics after being knocked out in the Round of 16 in Rio, and then placed 2nd at the 2016 World Tour Finals in Toronto in September when they lost to countrymates Cerutti/Oscar-Schmidt in the gold medal game.
The 26-year old Evandro, a 6’10” (210cm) monster at the net, will pair with 22-year old Andre Stein Loyola. Together, the duo will form one of the tallest pairings on the beach tour, with Stein himself standing 6’7″ (201cm) tall. Stein played with 4 partners last year on the FIVB World Tour, earning $28,788 throughout the season. His best results came when partnered with Ricardo Santos for 6 stops late in the season – earning almost 60% of his yearly take in those stops. He did, however, get his best individual tournament finish, a win in Fortaleza, Brazil, with Oscar Brandao.
The other pair, however, brings the highest hopes for Brazil. Veteran 30-year old Pedro Solberg will pair up with one of the country’s best young talents Guto Carvalhaes, who in 2013 won the U21 World Championship with Alison Francioni.
“We are very excited, Guto is an incredible talent, a sensational kid,” Pedro said. “He has great ambition, in a good way, to want to mark his name in history, to win titles.”
The pairing will be significantly more diminutive than the old one. Pedro Solberg is only 6’1″ tall (194cm) and Carvalhaes is only 6’1″ tall (188cm). But they still have big potential – Francioni earned $69,000 last year playing with Saymon Barbosa, including several FIVB podium finishes and a win at the tour’s stop in Cincinnati.
While the defending men’s Olympic champions Alison and Bruno Schmidt remain in tact, most of the country’s other premier pairs have been split up. Barbara and Agatha previously announced their breakup, but the 33-year old Agatha has announced that she will play with rising star Duda Santos Lisboa, who ranked 22nd on last year’s FIVB World Tour.
“I want to learn more and gain experience, so this partnership will be very important in this sense,” said Duda. “We have a very good structure, we are very focused and we know where we want to go.”
The pairings will be on display at next week’s 6th leg of the 9-leg Brazilian tour in Joao Pessoa, before they advance on to take on the World Tour opener in Ft. Lauderdale.