USA’s Plummer & Mirkovic storm into U21 World Champs quarterfinals

Nanjing, China, July 14, 2017 – USA’s Kathryn Plummer and Milica Mirkovic enter the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships quarterfinals with a convincing win over Thailand’s top team Pawarun Chanthawichai and Thatsarida Singchuea.

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Plummer and Mirkovic entered directly into the round of 16 after topping their pool in Nanjing where they met 2017 U21 Asian Championship winners Pawarun/Thatsarida. At 199cm tall, Plummer’s presence at the net gave the Thai team a difficult time from the onset. In a technical performance from both teams, Plummer/Mirkovic’s strength overpowered Pawarun/Thatsarida and earned the USA team a spot in the quarterfinals, 2-0 (21-13, 21-12).

 “It was definitely an interesting match because they’re not a physical team, they’re very shooty and very crafty with their shots, so we had to figure out how we were going to set up the block, how we’re going to pull, how we’re going to serve and even though they seem like a team that’s not very intimidating, they are very smart with the way they play. So we had to be smart with the way we played,” said Mirkovic.
USA's Milica Mirkovic (red) and Pawarun Chanthawichai from Thailand

The sun appeared from behind the clouds halfway through their match, magnifying the punishing heat and humidity that has been experienced every day in Nanjing.

“We’re into the quarterfinals so it’s obviously a great feeling. We’re used to the heat, we’re from California so it’s always hot. The humidity takes a toll on everyone I think. I don’t think you can really prepare for this, but it’s good to go through some adversity and come out with wins so even though we may be a little frustrated because you feel like you can play a little bit better, fighting through some stuff definitely makes us better and makes us find different ways to win,” said Plummer.

Plummer/Mirkovic won bronze and U19 Larnaka World Championships last year and will now face Canada’s Megan McNamara and Nicole McNamara in the quarterfinals.

Big smiles for Viktoryia Shalayeuskaya and Viktoryia Siakretava from Belarus as they enter their first ever quarterfinal on the world stage. The pair are in their third U21 World Championships together with their best result ninth last year in Lucerne. In their round of 16 match they met Martina Maixnerova and Marie-Sara Stochlava from Czech Republic.

The two teams are very familiar with each other, training together in the lead up to Nanjing and the resultant battle on court took the tie-break over the one hour mark, 2-1 (21-16, 17-21, 15-10).
Viktoryia Shalayeuskaya from Belarus (blue) and Marie-Sara Stochlova from the Czech Republic

“Of course we are happy, it’s our first time in the top eight of a world championship. It was a very difficult match and we are exhausted, but so happy,” said Siakretava.

“We have been training for two months with these girls. They are very good and young. They played really well but this weather was terrible, that’s why it was very difficult to play,” Siakretava.

“When the game started, everybody played 50/50, like if you are more strong or more skilful it’s not normally not a problem, but in this weather it changes things,” said Shalayeuskaya.

Czech Republic still qualifies one team into the quarterfinal with another confident performance from Natalie Honzovicova and Tereza Pluharova who were awarded the lucky loser spot into the main draw.

Paraguay's Giuliana Poletti (green) and Natalie Honzovicova from the Czech Republic
Brazil’s Brazil’s Eduarda Santos Lisboa and Ana Patricia Silva Ramos are safely through along with Russia’s Nadezda Makroguzova and Svetlana Kholomina, Latvia’s Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka and Italy’s Gaia Traballi and Ester Maestroni Ester.The quarters and semifinals will both be played on 15 July to decide the medal matches that will take place on 16 July.


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