28/08/2017 10:16
Hosts Russia complete historic triumph at #EuroBeachVolleyU18 in Kazan
2017 CEV U18 Beach Volleyball European Championships

Kazan, Russia, August 27, 2017. The 2017 edition of the CEV U18 Beach Volleyball European Championship finished on Sunday at the premises of the local Beach Sports Complex in Kazan – and it ended in style for hosts Russia since the home teams completed a clean sweep of the men’s podium and took gold in the women’s competition as well.

The most consistent teams from the beginning of the tournament eventually contested the women’s gold medal match. Russia’s Maria Voronina/Mariia Bocharova and Raisa Schoon/Emi van Driel of the Netherlands reached the final after comfortably beating their rivals from Italy and Ukraine in the semis.

The final was the real highlight of the tournament and lived up to the expectations fans usually have from a gold medal match. The Russians had a comfortable advantage throughout most of the first set, but the Dutch girls did not make it easy at all for the home side – before Bocharova and Voronina closed the set out at 21-18. Russia set the pace also in the early stages of the second set, but after that, the Dutch team managed to seize the initiative. At the end of the set, the Russians almost succeeded in completing a comeback – by the score of 16-20, they cancelled three set points for the opposition, but Schoon and van Driel managed to extend the match to a tiebreak. Despite the fact that a sell-out crowd was openly cheering for the home side, everyone was happy with the opportunity to witness another set.

The all-deciding set did not differ from the previous two offering incredible rallies, a continuous change of leadership and many emotions. At the beginning, Bocharova/Voronina took the lead, but the young Dutch girls did not give in, making up for their early deficit and they even broke away by scoring several points in a row. A time-out taken by Russian coach Dmitry Fedotov became a key moment in this dramatic final. Bocharova and Voronina calmed down, and they eventually stormed back – with the two Marias confirming their status of top-seeded team in the tournament and taking a much-desired gold medal.

“I want to say a big thank you to the fans here in Kazan for their support. The tournament turned out to be an incredible one; we did our work from match to match, executed what the coach told us and eventually achieved such an excellent result. I hope this is only the beginning of our success story in this sport,” said a visibly happy Maria Voronina after the match.

The bronze medals eventually went to Viktoria Lysytsia/Kateryna Dashevska from Ukraine who showed their character coming from behind in each set to stamp a 21-18, 21-15 victory over Chiara Mason and Claudia Scampoli of Italy. Russia’s Anna Movchan and Olesia Andreiuk finished in fifth place to secure another quota place for their country at next year’s U19 World Championship.

The main intrigue on the final day of the men’s tournament was to find out whether the Russian teams were able to complete a clean sweep of the podium – an unprecedented feat in the history of the competition. This question got an answer – partly – after the semis where Nikolay Chukhnenkov/Aleksei Arkhipov played France’s Vivien Tournier/Paul Nicole. The visitors claimed the first set 21-19, but the Russians responded with a compelling 21-10 victory in the second, before taking a challenging tiebreak as well (15-12).

After this match, it became clear that Russia were going to take gold and silver from the men’s tournament. Timur Ermotik and Denis Shekunov, who in the second semi-final lost to compatriots Pavel Shustrov/Alexey Gusev, had to beat the Frenchmen to secure a complete sweep of the podium for Russia. Tournier and Nicole could not find their best game for the bronze medal match, so Ermotik/Shekunov snatched the victory in two sets (21-16, 21-14), thus completing a historic sweep of the podium for the host country.

In the all-Russian final, the spectators could simply enjoy Beach Volleyball of the highest level, and it really turned out exactly like that. Shustrov/Gusev were leading in both sets, but each time Chukhnenkov and Arkhipov came back; however, Shustrov/Gusev were able to claim the deciding points of the game to record a 2-0 (23-21, 22-20) victory. 

“We have known these guys for a long time and we have been training together for quite some time, so the final turned out to be an interesting one. We know each other’s weak points, but luck today was on our side. Thanks to the fans for their support, it was actually felt throughout the whole tournament and on the final day especially,” said eventual gold medallist Pavel Shustrov.

In the classification round, which determined the final quota from Europe for the FIVB U19 World Championship next year, twins Joaquin and Javier Bello from England added one more success to their records after earlier this summer they won gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games held at the Bahamas to finish #EuroBeachVolleyU18 in fifth place.

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News nr. 1 of 8
26/08/2017 22:56:00
Russian teams dream of historic clean sweep at #EuroBeachVolleyU18

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