Poland and Russia top the final charts in Brno
2012 CEV U18 Beach Volleyball European Championship
Brno, Czech Republic, July 8, 2012. The 2012 CEV U18 Beach Volleyball European Champs came to a close on Sunday in Brno with Poland and Russia taking home the gold medal in the girls’ and boys’ competition respectively. Russia was actually the dominant force in the men’s division, claiming also the silver medal there, while Germany completed its campaign with one silver and one bronze medal in the splendid scenario of “Sokolak”, a leisure and relaxing area located in the neighborhood of the second largest city of the Czech Republic.
Poland’s Katarzyna Kociolek/Jagoda Gruszczynska as well as Sarah Schneider/Lara Schreiber of Germany had comfortably claimed their respective semifinal on Sunday morning thereby saving energy for the final showdown of the tournament. The young girls from Poland caught a flying start and quickly imposed their pace cruising to a terrific 21-10 in the opening set of the final match. The second set turned into a different story as Kociolek/Gruszczynska slowed down their rhythm and hence Schneider/Schreiber could finally get into the game, with the score remaining very tight up to the provisional 11:10. After that Poland’s express got back to its cruising speed and scored the next 5 points, moving the count up to 16:10. Schneider and Schreiber decided to take some more risks with their service but their opponents regularly completed their side-out thereby pocketing the final 21-18 and the gold medal by cashing their second match ball. “We are very happy as this was a tough tournament, especially because of the heat wave. Even though some of our matches did look pretty easy, we could not slow down and fought until the end” said the happy winners. This is the second European medal for Kociolek who last year had claimed bronze in Vilnius together with her former partner Karolina Baran.
Bronze went to last year’s silver medalists, i.e. Nina Betschart and Nicole Eiholzer of Switzerland, who destroyed the dreams of home glory cultivated by the local heroines Hana Tresnakova and Barbora Filatova via their 21-18, 23-21 win in the classification match. Tresnakova/Filatova had previously lost to Schneider/Schreiber in the semis struggling to cope with the physical power displayed by the Germans.
The men’s final turned into an all-Russian affair after Nikita Perebeinos/Vladislav Danilov survived a tough tie-break in their semifinal match against Norway’s Huus/Sorum (21-15, 17-21, and 15-13). The Russian guys had set the pace 5:2 and 8:3 in the deciding third set, but the score was leveled twice at 10 and 13 before Perebeinos/Danilov finished it off with a couple of spikes to contribute a derby for the final act of the tournament.
Their compatriots Alexander Margiev/Igor Velichko opened with a terrific 7:2 to set the tone for the final and with their excellent block-defense system could easily control the attacks killed by Perebeinos to seal a speedy 21-13. Things did not change much also in the second set where Margiev/Velichko went up 4:1 and dominated the scene all the way through to another clear 21-14 to celebrate their first international allure. Velichko was unofficially voted best player of the tournament by all coaches as he demonstrated the capability of reading the game like anyone else, adding up to his skills great actions in defense and a wide array of offensive options, especially for somebody that is still that young. “The Championship was tough but we are happy with our victory. Our most difficult opponent was the German pair in the semis, our Russian friends were not that tough since we know each other very well and we could adjust our tactics to their strengths and weaknesses” said Margiev and Velichko. Actually the result of their semifinal against Niklas Rudolf/Clemens Wickler was also never to be questioned (it ended in a 21-16, 21-14) and the Germans were finally happy to travel home with a bronze medal resulting from their 2:1 win over Huus/Sorum (18-21, 21-10, and 15-11).
At the end of the day the members of all delegations expressed their sincere gratitude to the local organizers for a memorable Championship, where everything worked well and Europe’s rising stars enjoyed a perfect environment for their international debut.
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