2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour champions Larissa Franca (left) and Juliana Felisberta Silva (right) with SWATCH's Nadia Waelti
Lausanne, Switzerland, November 8, 2007 - Led by Brazilians Juliana Felisberta Silva and Larissa Franca and reigning Olympic and world champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh of the United States, the top women’s players on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour were announced here Thursday based on the results of the voting by SWATCH representatives, players, coaches, referees and officials associated with the international Beach Volleyball circuit.
For the third-straight season, Juliana and Larissa were honored as the top team on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour as the young Brazilians captured five gold medals in 13 international Beach Volleyball starts in 2007 with $328,400 in earnings, the third-highest annual total in the 16-year history of women’s circuit.
In addition, the 25-year old Larissa was named the top setter on the SWATCH circuit for the second-straight season while finishing second to Walsh who is the FIVB’s top hitter in 2007. The SWATCH most outstanding player in 2006, Larissa also placed third in the voting as the top defensive player and sportswoman while receiving votes as most inspirational and top offensive player.
With May-Treanor and Walsh sharing the award as the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour’s top offensive player in 2007, the 24-year old Juliana finished third in the balloting after topping the list in 2006. Juliana also received votes in the sportswoman, blocking and hitting balloting.
The 29-year old Walsh was honored as the 2007 women’s SWATCH most outstanding player as selected by representatives from SWATCH and the Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB). The SWATCH and FIVB panel also selected Ana Paula Connelly as the SWATCH top server for the 2007 season.
Ana Paula claimed the SWATCH serving award for the fifth-straight season with her top serve being 83.6 km/h with 114 centre court serves over 70.0 km/h. The 35-year old Brazilian was third in the best offensive category, top hitter, and sportswoman voting. Ana Paula’s name was also on ballots for best blocker and setter.
After claiming her 31st SWATCH-FIVB World Tour team gold medal this past weekend in Thailand with the 30-year old May-Treanor, Walsh was also selected as the international circuit’s best hitter, top blocker and sportswoman of the year for the third-straight season. The Phuket title tied the FIVB record for most team wins as May-Treanor and Walsh tied Adriana Behar and Shelda Bede for SWATCH crowns.
May-Treanor, who was the 2005 SWATCH most outstanding player, tied Walsh for top offensive and sportswoman honors while edging Brazil’s Shelda as the tour’s top defensive player. The 34-year old Shelda, who won the previous two defensive honors, was voted the SWATCH most inspirational player for the third-straight season with May-Treanor and Walsh finishing second and third in the voting, respectively.
Tamsin Barnett of Australia and Germany’s Laura Ludwig were honored as the most improved players on the 2007 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour while 25-year old April Ross of the United States was selected as the rookie-of-the year.
The 27-year old Barnett captured a gold medal this past May in Seoul with three-time Olympic Natalie Cook while Ross teamed with Jen Boss to win the Norwegian grand slam in Stavanger as the lowest seeded team ever win a SWATCH-FIVB World Tour event. The Americans also placed second in St. Petersburg Open in Russia.
The 21-year old Ludwig teamed with Sara Goller, who tied for third in the most improved voting with Americans Boss and Nicole Branagh, to win two SWATCH medals in Portugal and Austria becoming Germany’s top-ranked team on the FIVB tour. The Germans also finished as the top European team on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour in terms of earnings ($121,500).