FIVB Qinzhou Three Star
- Qinzhou, China
- Sept. 30-Oct. 4, 2018
Brazil’s Ana Patricia Silva Ramos/Rebecca Cavalcanti Barbosa Silva earned their first ever FIVB World Tour podium appearance with the gold medal at the Qinzhou Three Star on Saturday, besting Italy’s No. 3 seed Marta Menegatti/Viktoria Orsi Toth in tiebreak.
The Brazilians, whose previous best finish was ninth at the Espinho Four Star in July, rallied for the victory after dropping the opening set 18-21, 21-15, 15-12.
“I capitalized on my strengths – spiking and serving,” Ana Patricia said. “When we lost the first set I just said to myself that I need to make some adjustments and help to win this game, but for me Rebecca made the big difference.”
The duo made the final after defeating Russians Evgenia Ukolova/Ekaterina Birlova in the semifinals (21-17, 21-13).
Menegatti/Orsi Toth, who bested Americans Sarah Sponcil/Kelly Claes in the semis (21-19, 21-14), earn their second medal of the 2018 season, following gold at the Agadir Two Star (July 29).
Sponcil/Claes bounced back from the semifinal loss to bring home hardware in the form of the bronze medal after topping Ukolova/Birlova 21-13, 21-16.
“It’s really exciting to come out in your first tournament and win a medal,” Claes said. “We obviously have a lot to work on even with this finish. I’m really excited to grow this team and see what we can do.
“Between our (semifinal) loss and our (bronze medal) win, the main difference was aggressiveness. We were not aggressive in our passing and our swings or serving and that’s one thing that we changed in this match. We did that and we came up with the win.”
The Qinzhou Three-Star was the first FIVB event for the American duo. Claes previously played with collegiate teammate Sara Hughes and Brittany Hochevar in 2018, earning a runnerup finish at the Xiamen Four Star (April 22). Sponcil played three FIVB events in 2018, earning a bronze at the Haiyang Three Star with Caitlin Ledoux and then playing two events with Lauren Fendrick, placing fifth and ninth.
Semifinal 1: Menegatti/Orsi Toth (Italy) vs. Sponcil/Claes (USA)
Semifinal 2: Ukolova/Birlova (Russia) vs. Ana Patricia/Rebecca (Brazil)
Bronze Medal Match – Sponcil/Claes vs. Ukolova/Birlova
Gold Medal Match –Ana Patricia/Rebecca vs. Menegatti/Orsi Toth