Italy joins Russia, Switzerland and the Netherlands for semifinals via golden set
CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup
Moscow, Russia, June 22, 2012. Italy will play the Netherlands while the home heroines of Russia are set to challenge Switzerland in the semifinals scheduled for Saturday. This is the outcome of the first day of action at “Poklonnaya Gora” in Moscow where the final stage of the CEV Continental Cup – Women is taking place this weekend with a ticket to the 2012 London Olympics to be assigned on Sunday to the country eventually finishing atop of the charts.
The local favorites needed three matches to edge their opponents from Austria on a day that has got a special significance in Russia as the country mourns the many victims of World War II, better known there as the “Great Patriotic War”.
Anastasia Vasina/Anna Vozakova opened by downing the 2011 European vice-champions Sara Montagnolli and Barbara Hansel in straight sets (21-11, 23-21) before their friends Evgenia Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova stamped a double 21-18 to power past Cornelia Rimser and Sabine Swoboda who had teamed up especially for this event.
The next game was already a last call for Montagnolli/Hansel who needed to score a win to keep their chances to make it to London 2012 still alive. That match was played in front of full stands and the Russian fans literally stood on their feet as they were accompanying Ukolova/Khomyakova on their quest for a third win. The pairs exchanged the lead many times but eventually the home heroines cruised to the 15-10 in the tie-break that sealed the final 3:0 for Russia.
Switzerland did literally dominate its 1/4 final against two young duos from Greece with Isabelle Forrer/Anouk Vergé-Dépré and Muriel Graessli/Tanja Goricanec that did not concede any sets to their opponents in three matches. Russia’s head coach Marco Solustri says about the upcoming semifinal against the Swiss ladies: “They are very dynamic and have excellent control of the ball. I can’t say that they are powerful and tall, so we shall profit of our block to take control of the games. I am very satisfied with today’s performance of Vasina/Vozakova and Ukolova/Khomyakova also won their matches but to win the tournament we need to reduce our mistakes to a minimum. I do hope that tomorrow our duos will play even better than they did today”.
As for the other 1/4 finals, Italy needed a golden set to finally edge Spain. After scoring 2 wins each in the regular matches, an extra set was to be played. Italy had benefited from the forfeit of Spain’s Campisi/Lozano in the first match of the day but the Spaniards eventually returned to the court in the afternoon to beat Giombini and Orsi Toth to draw level for their side and call for the golden set. However, Daniela Gioria and Giulia Momoli (pictured) were not to stop there and secured a spot for the semis by beating Simon/Hopf with the score of 15-11.
A golden set was not needed to determine the last semifinalist as the U23 European champions Michelle Stiekema and Riemke Braakman contributed the third point to the Netherlands by beating Shauna Mullin and Zara Dumpney of Great Britain 3:1 (18-21, 21-19, and 15-11).
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