STANDS OUT AS NORWAY LEAVES THE SCENE
The third day
of the men’s competition at the 2015 CEV U22 Beach
Volleyball European Championship was booked for rounds
1, 2 and 3 elimination matches.
Inspired by their
compatriots Ksenia and Nazedza, who have eliminated the
defending champions in the women’s tournament, Igor
Velichko and Maxim Sivolap defeated the 2014 U22
European champions Christian Sorum and Runar Sannarnes,
who had to settle with 5th place, coming from behind to
take the spot at the semi-finals of tomorrow (17-21,
21-19, 15-11). Russia had previously sustained a setback
as their number one team Stoyanovskiy/Yarzutkin had to
leave the tournament early due to medical issues, but
Igor and Maxim climbed the ladder by defeating Belgium’s
Verspecht/Luyckx by 2-0 21-18, 21-13, in round 1, and
Germany’s Harms/Schneider in three sets 14-21, 21-18,
15-12. Tomorrow they will face the U21 world champions,
Poland’s Michal Bryl and Kacper Kujawiak, who also came
from behind to defeat Germany’s Rudolf/Wickler (16-21,
21-19, 15-10) after edging Lithuania’s
Rumsevicious/Kazdailis in two sets (21-13, 21-16).
“We expected a tough match; the German team is very
good and hard to beat. We know them from past
tournaments so we knew it would be difficult. After
being down in the first set we had to be warriors and
fight for every point. We did it and we are very happy
to be in the semi-finals”, revealed Michal Bryl after
the big match of the day.
“We are facing the
Russians who knocked out Norway, which was a big
surprise. They played high level volleyball so we must
be focused to win. Let’s see what happens”, added Bryl.
The team from the Czech Republic also reached the
top four, cruising Italia’s De Fabriitis/Pellegrino in
two sets 21-13, 21-14, after an unbelievable comeback in
round 2 against Denmark’s Abell/Trans. Despite losing
the first set (21-15), the Czech, who played under the
close attention, of their countryman, Mr. Jan Hronek CEV
Vice President and tournament CEV Juri President, never
backed down having won the second set (23-21) and
overcoming a disadvantage of 4 points (5-9) to close the
match in the tie-break (15-13).
The last slot was
taken by the French Romain Di Giantommaso and Maxime
Thiercy who beat the Austrian team
Ermacora/Pristauz-Telsnigg in another thriller clash
which was settled in three sets. The 2014 U21 World
Championship bronze medal came from behind 19-21, 21-18,
15-11 to maintain their hopes alive of reaching the
The day started badly for the local as
Bernardo Silva and Bernardo Leite fell to De
Fabrittis/Pellegrino (ITA) in two sets 21-14, 21-15, and
had to settle for the 17th place overall.
Italian duo is taller, stronger and played very well as
we couldn’t be at our best”, starts explaining Leite.
“If we had a better match against Bulgaria, maybe we had
avoided such a strong opponent on round 1”,
stated.“Aging only 18 and 19 respectively, we’ll have
more opportunities to play this competition”, revealed
The other Portuguese team Maia/Silva
reached the second round after defeating Slovenia’s
Kozir/Tomazin by 2-0 21-17, 21-18. However, the home duo
had to settle with a 9th place overall after being
downed by Austria’s Martin Ermacora and Moritz
Pristauz-Telsnigg by 2-0 21-16, 21-13.
well in the match but eventually things started to go
wrong. We couldn’t react to their game, but we gave
everything and I believe we represented our country
well. I hope we can represent it once again and improve
our mark”, stated Diogo Maia.
“The truth is that
we needed some luck to beat the Austrian. At the final
points their quality stood up and their victory is
fair”, revealed Silva.
2014 GOLD MEDALLISTS DETHRONED, U22 EUROPEAN
CHAMPS TO CROWN NEW QUEENS
Though only four matches were
scheduled on Saturday for the women’s competition at the
2015 CEV U22 Beach Volleyball European Championship in
Macedo de Cavaleiros, there was no lack of excitement
and drama as the semi-finalists of the tournament were
2014 U22 European
champions Jagoda Gruszczynska and Karolina Baran of
Poland had to leave the competition and won’t be able to
continue their quest for back-to-back titles after
losing in two sets (13-21, 15-21) to Russia’s Ksenia
Dabizha and Nadezhda Makroguzova. After the match where
they dethroned last year’s queens, the Russian players
and their coach were visibly happy.
“We won this
match because we played very well together and we
supported each other,” explained Ksenia and Nadezhda.
“We have hoped for a spot among the top four. It’s a
good start and omen for the future because Ksenia and
Nadia usually don’t play together but now they have been
working like a Swiss clock, perfectly executing our game
plan,” added their mentor Oleg Kiselev. “Even though we
just beat the reigning champions we don’t want to be
considered as the favourites in this competition. We
just want to play, have fun and enjoy this magnificent
landscape of Portugal,” the Russian girls said.
In the semis coming up on Sunday they will be playing
reigning U20 European champions Nina Betschart and
Nicole Eiholzer of Switzerland, who are also the gold
medallists from the Baku 2015 European Games.
Betschart/Eiholzer also needed only two sets to edge
Germany’s Lisa Arnholdt and Nadja Glenzke (21-17,
The Swiss girls were obviously pleased
with their performance: “We were hoping to reach this
stage of the competition but with so many good teams we
had to play our best to make it happen, so we’re very
happy. The level of the tournament is very good; it’s a
European Championship so we’re all a little bit nervous
and playing to the limit. When you reach the semi-finals
you can only think about winning gold,” they said.
Lithuania’s golden girls Monika Povilaityte and Ieva
Dumbauskaite (pictured) are determined to continue their
success story from age-group competitions. On Saturday
the bronze medal winners from the Baku 2015 European
Games, however, were made work hard in their matchup
with the real sensation of the tournament, Switzerland’s
Dunja Gerson/Laura Caluori, before they eventually
sealed their spot in the semis (21-23, 21-17, 15-11).
“The tournament is going very well, we expected
to be among the top eight teams but we have made it even
further now. Today we didn’t play our best game but we
stayed focussed and that’s what helped us in the
tie-break,” explained Monika Povilaityte.
next opponents are 2014 silver medallists Katarzyna
Kociolek and Dorota Strag of Poland who also had to
fight hard before edging Germany’s Sandra Ittlinger/Lena
Ottens in three sets (21-11, 16-21, 15-13).
“Their team is really strong and they have a lot of
experience but we want to play in the final. It will be
tough, but if we bring to the court our best game, we
can take the gold medal,” Povilaityte added.
really wanted to win this one because last year we
finished in second place and we started the match very
well winning the opening set by a safe margin,” says
Kociolek. “We had some problems in the second set as we
became anxious because of some referee decisions which
impacted our game through to the tie-break, but we
managed to overcome these feelings,” she explains. “We
want to do better than we did last year, but a place on
the podium would also be great. We know the Lithuanian
team very well as we have played them a number of times
in the last five years, but every match is different, so
you’ll have to wait for tomorrow to see who goes to the