15/06/2017 18:07
Home crowd inspires Austrians for tough battle against top teams
2017 CEV U22 Beach Volleyball European Championship

Baden, Austria, June 15, 2017.  The 2017 CEV U22 Beach Volleyball European Championship presented by SPORT.LAND.NÖ got underway on Thursday under the bright blue skies of Baden and the unusually hot for Lower Austria, but perfect for Beach Volleyball, weather.

On four competition courts at the crowded and lively Strandbad Baden complex, the first leg of the men’s pool stage was played and no major upsets were registered. In some cases easy, in others - not so much, but the top teams for the most part managed to stamp their first victories on Austrian sand.

In one of the most interesting matches on the first competition day, the enthusiastic home crowd at centre court inspired the 31st-seeded Austrians Moritz Fabian Kindl and Marian Klaffinger to put up a hearty fight against one of the tournament pre-favourites – second-seeded Norwegians Mathias Berntsen and Anders Berntsen Mol. Kindl and Klaffinger battled their way to a first-set win, but in the following two sets, the Nordic pair showed their high class to come back for a 2-1 (21-23, 21-14, 15-6) victory.

“It is always hard to compete on the opponents’ home soil, so we expected this to be a hard match, because they have all the spectators behind them. It is also really hot here – new conditions for us,” Anders Berntsen Mol commented after the match.

“It is great to play here! Every match is a new opportunity to win. We have to play at our best to win. The last two sets were good, so now we feel more comfortable playing and we are ready for our next pool match tomorrow,” Mathias Berntsen added.

Another Austrian team, 28th-seeded Felix Friedl and Lucas Skrabal, followed a similar scenario for their match against fifth-seeded Poles Mateusz Paszkowski and Mateusz Lysikowski. Despite using the home-court advantage for winning the first set in the overtime, Friedl and Skrabal did not manage to hold on to their lead and ended up losing by 1-2 (22-20, 12-21, 9-15) in what was the longest game of the day.

Two more of the day’s 16 matches ended with tie-breaker sets. The Dutch pair Jasper Bouter and Michiel Ahyi claimed a 2-1 (21-12, 14-21, 15-12) victory over Portugal’s Francisco Pombeiro and Jose Jardim, while Greece’s Angelos Mandilaris and Vasileios Mandilaris snatched a 2-1 (21-16, 22-24, 15-11) win against Uladzislau Drapchynski and Pavel Vauchkevich from Belarus.

Friday’s programme includes the last two legs of pool play, which will determine the cut for the elimination rounds on Saturday.

All matches of the tournament on courts 1 and 2 are scheduled for live streaming on

Engage with the U22 European Championship on social media by using the competition’s official hashtag #EuroBeachVolleyU22.

Click here for more information, including schedule, results, photos and more.

More photos are available here.

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