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Gonzalez and Soria celebrate another victory in Espinho

Spanish qualifiers Paula Soria and Sofia Gonzalez continued their strong run at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Challenge event in Espinho on Saturday and, after securing two more wins at the Praia da Baia, will compete for a medal in the Portuguese event on Sunday.

The winners of May’s Beach Pro Tour Futures event in Madrid, the Spanish will face Americans Corinne Quiggle and Sarah Schermerhorn in the second semifinal, at 10.00 local time (09.00 GMT). One hour earlier, the first semifinal will reunite Australians Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho and Brazilians Andressa Cavalcanti and Vitoria Rodrigues.

The bronze medal match begins at 14.00 local time (13.00 GMT), one hour before the start of the gold medal match at the Praia da Baia.

· Watch all the matches at the Espinho Challenge live or on demand on Volleyball TV.

Soria, 29, and Gonzalez, 20, had by far the longest route to the medal rounds among the four semifinalists. The two started their campaign in Espinho on Thursday, in the qualifier, and have won all their six matches with a single set dropped on their way to the semifinals of the event.

“It will be our first semifinal in a Challenge event and to achieve that in our first season as partners, it makes us really happy,” Soria said. “The heat here in Espinho has been really intense and we’ve played quite a few matches already, but the Portuguese fans, and also the Spanish who are here supporting us, are giving us a lot of energy to keep going.”

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Spanish and French played in front of a big crowd at the Praia da Baia

On Saturday, the Spanish, who became partners at the start of the season, had a strong run, winning both of their matches in straight sets – they downed Thailand’s Worapeerachayakorn Kongphopsarutawadee/Taravadee Naraphornrapat 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) in the Round of 16 and topped French Alexia Richard and Lezana Placette also in two sets (21-19, 27-25) in the quarterfinals.

“We’re really excited and looking forward to Sunday,” Gonzalez added. “We’re very motivated and will do our best to win a medal for Spain.”

Placette/Richard vs. Soria/Gonzalez - Match Highlights

Their semifinal opponents, Quiggle and Schermerhorn had to play three matches in Espinho on Saturday to advance. Their day started with a 2-1 (27-29, 21-18, 15-9) victory against Norway's Sunniva Helland-Hansen/Emilie Olimstad in the Round of 18. They then had a 2-0 (21-19, 22-22) win over the Czech Republic's Barbora Hermmanova/Marie-Sara Stochlova in the Round of 16 and ended with another two-set (21-18, 21-13) triumph, this one against Germans Sandra Ittlinger and Isabel Schneider in the quarterfinals.

The first team to secure a spot in the earlier semifinal, Andressa and Vitoria emerged victorious in the all-Brazilian quarterfinal against Taiana Lima and Hegeile ‘Hege’ Santos, winning in the tie-breaker (21-14, 16-21, 15-11). Earlier, in the Round of 16, they prevailed over Canadian twins Megan and Nicole McNamara in another three-setter (21-16, 14-21, 15-12).

Andressa/Vitoria vs. Taiana/Hegeile - Match Highlights

Their next opponents, Clancy and Mariafe knocked two American teams out of the event to find their way to the semifinals. The Tokyo Olympic silver medallists, who won an FIVB World Tour event in Espinho in 2018, handled Emily Stockman and Megan Kraft in two sets (21-19, 21-17) in the Round of 16 and repeated the two-set (21-19, 22-20) victory against Emily Day and Savvy Simo in the quarterfinals.

BPT Challenge Espinho - Women Main Draw - AUSvsUSA_11

Clancy and partner Mariafe are in the hunt for their second title in Espinho