Larnaka, Cyprus, July 31, 2016 – Dutch Nika Daalderop and Mexime van Driel prevented an all-Brazilian final at the FIVB U19 World Championships in Larnaka by defeating Brazilian qualifiers Vitoria De Souza Rodrigues and Ana Carolina De Almeida Costa 2-0 (21-18, 21-15).
In the other semifinal on Sunday Brazil’s Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa and Victoria Lopes Pereira Dude defeated USA’s Kathryn Plummer and Milica Mirkovic 2-1 (21-16, 19-21, 15-10).
“This feels amazing”, said 17-year old Van Driel, who made her FIVB debut in Larnaka. “Of course I was hoping for a final, but if it was going to happen? This is super!”
The Dutch were very much in control in the semifinal, hardly making any mistakes. In the beginning of the second set the Brazilian girls were able to put some pressure on, leading 8-6, but the Dutch stayed calm. Daalderop (1.89m) scored some important points with her big block and the Dutch took over again to win 21-15.
“We stayed together”, said Van Driel, who’s younger sister Emi finished 33rd in Larnaka. “We were confident that our side-out would come back again and we served well in the second part of the second set. So we just regained control again.”
Her more experienced partner, 17-year old Daalderop, has good memories of Cyprus. Last year she won the U20 European title here in Larnaka with her regular partner Joy Stubbe. This year they defended that title with success in Antalya and last week Daalderop and Stubbe claimed the national title as well.
“This final is totally different from the European ones”, Daalderop said. “Because Joy and I worked towards that as a team. Mexime and I didn’t play together before this tournament, we were just put together and they said go. Every final is amazing, but this was kind of a nice surprise.”
Brazil’s most talented youth player, Duda (17), reached the final of a FIVB age-group event for the fifth time. With her 16-year old partner in Sunday’s first semifinal of the FIVB U19 World Championships in Larnaka.
In her short career Duda already won silver at the FIVB U23 World Championships in Myslowice in 2013, gold at the U19 in 2013 and 2014 in Porto and gold at the U21 this year in Lucerne.
She made her debut on the World Tour in December 2013 at the Durban Open and since then collected a bronze medal at the Prague Open in 2015, silver at the Puerta Vallarta Open in 2015 a gold at the Maceio Open and Fortaleza Open this year with her World Tour partner Elize Maia.
Victoria made her FIVB debut this year at the U21 World Championships in Lucerne, where she finished 9th with Andressa Cavalcanti.
“For me it means everything to be able to play with her”, said Victoria, who left her home this year to move in with Duda’s family in Sergipe. “She’s my best friend, my big sister. She makes this possible for me. She is my idol and I want to be like her.”
The 16-year old had a hard time in the semifinal as the Americans targeted her all the time, but Duda guided her through it. “They were chasing me all the time, but Duda helped me, giving me good sets, digging a lot of balls and always cheering me on and keeping me calm.”
In the second set the USA strategy worked. With strong serving and some great digs in the backcourt from Mirkovic, the Americans enforced a tiebreak. “The USA went strong in the second because they didn’t want to lose and they never give up”, said Duda. “They keep fighting until the end.”
In the tiebreak the Americans just made too many (unforced) errors and it was Victoria who scored the winner down the line.
For Dude reaching the final here in Cyprus means a lot, although she has already played so many. She is happy she can now erase her first appearance in Larnaka, at the U21 in 2014, where she finished a disappointing 9th with Taina Silva.
“I played here before and being here again and remembering was kind of tough, because I didn’t win anything that time. Yesterday I had some hard moments, because I was thinking about that, but then my psychology training kicked in and I decided to forget about those negative memories and focus on the next step and the next step and just keep moving forward and then everything was fine.”Quick Links
• U19 World Championships Larnaka, Cyprus 2016 - website
• Qualification - Men
• Qualification - Women
• Main draw - Men
• Main draw - Women