Young Canadian Beach Pair Wins Gold at U21 Worlds

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(ISN) – JULY 27, 2014: Sophie Bukovec and Tia Miric, both of Toronto, won gold today at the FIVB U21 World Championships in Larnaka, Cyprus (July 23-27, 2014).

The Canadian pair defeated Lithuania’s Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte 2-1 (19-21, 21-18, 10-15) to claim top spot in this age-group Worlds. The Lithuanian pair, ranked fifth going in, were 2012 U19 World Champions.

“They are a tough team,” Bukovec said post-match. “They play hard and they fight for everything. I have to give them that. But after the second set we just had to come out and win it. … We just had fun with each other and that is what got us the gold medal.”

This was the first FIVB final for Bukovec, 18, and Miric, 17, who finished ninth at the U19s last year and had the same result at the U23s this year. Earlier today in the semis, they defeated Swiss pair Nina Betschart and Nicole Eiholzer in two close sets: 23-21, 25-23 to reach the gold-medal game.

The American pair of Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes won their second FIVB bronze medal. After finishing third at the U19 World Championships in Portugal last year, they claimed bronze with a 2-1 (21-16, 21-23, 15-7) win over Betschart and Eiholzer of Switzerland.

The other Canadian women’s team entered here in the main draw, Megan and Nicole McNamara of Delta, BC, finished 17th overall, as did the men’s team of Sergey Grabovsky (Aurora, ON) and Chris Towe (Caledon, ON)

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