Polish & Swiss pairs pace Edmonton women's qualifier

Edmonton, Canada, July 17, 2019 - Led by women's beach volleyball pairs from Poland and Switzerland, eight teams from six countries advanced from the qualifier here Wednesday afternoon to the opening Main Draw rounds at the US$150,000 Edmonton Open at Northlands Park.

Leading the Polish advancement into Thursday's main draw rounds of the FIVB World Tour event were top-seeded Jagoda Gruszczynska/Aleksandra Wachowicz and second-seeded Monika Brzostek/Aleksandra Gromadowska as each had to defeat a Canadian pair in the qualifier.

With Gruszczynska and Wachowicz competing in their sixth World Tour event, Brzostek and Gromadowska are making their first FIVB appearance together.  Brzostek is returning to international play after missing two seasons due to giving birth to her first child following her ninth-place finish at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Kinga Wojtasik.

"It is good to be back playing again," said the 29-year old Brzostek, who started competing full-time on the FIVB World Tour in 2009.  "Although this is my 10th FIVB event this season, it is my first with Aleksandra.  We trying to prepare for the Olympic continental qualifying pathway in Europe."

With Wojtasik now playing with Katarzyna Kociolek as the 32nd-ranked team on the FIVB World Tour, the pair is competing this weekend in Portugal at the Espinho Open.  The two Polish teams in Edmonton are seeking to gain a spot as the second team from their country in the European Olympic continental cup pathway to Tokyo.

With Japan securing one spot per gender in the Tokyo Summer Games as the host country and a men's team from Russia and a women's pair from Canada securing spots in the 2020 Olympics after winning gold medals at the FIVB World Championships, the other 22 spots per gender will be determined by competition on the World Tour, Continental Cups and September's qualifier in Japan.

Also advancing from the women's qualifier Wednesday for Switzerland were eighth-seeded Esmee Bobner/Zoe Verge-Depre and 12th-seeded Kim Huber/Melina Hubscher as both pairs defeated European rivals from Austria.

Other qualifying teams Wednesday were third-seeded Satono Ishitsubo/Asami Shiba of Japan, fourth-seeded Terese Cannon/Irene Pollock of the United States, sixth-seeded Sara Olivova/Karolina Rehackova of the Czech Republic and seventh-seeded Nadine Strauss/Teresa Strauss of Austria

The men's qualifier was also played Wednesday where eight teams also advanced to Thursday's Main Draw.  Thursday's schedule for women will feature 16 matches in eight groups where the winning teams will play for pool titles Friday morning and a first-round bye into 24-team elimination bracket.  The men will complete two rounds of pool play Thursday with the first elimination bracket matches Friday.

The inaugural Edmonton Open concludes Sunday with the winning pairs splitting the $10,000 first-place prizes and receiving 600 Olympic qualifying points.


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