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03/08/2013 11:00
Schwaiger sisters go for home gold, Spanish girls want the same
2013 CEV A1 Beach Volleyball European Championship Final presented by

Klagenfurt, Austria, August 3, 2013. The Austrian party in Klagenfurt continued on Saturday morning as Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger made the final match of the 2013 CEV A1 Beach Volleyball European Championship after downing Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst 21-14, 21-14 in the second semi to play Spain’s Liliana and Baquerizo for gold this afternoon at 3 pm. Ludwig/Walkenhorst will play their countrywomen Katrin Holtwick/Ilka Semmler for bronze in the classification match scheduled for 1:30 pm local time.  

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Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger will try to add another chapter to their already memorable campaign and emulate what they did a couple of months ago as they claimed gold at the CEV Baden Masters. The Schwaiger sisters are Austria’s second pair to win a European medal and will try to improve on what their compatriots Sara Montagnolli and Barbara Hansel did two years ago in Kristiansand as they settled for silver after losing the final game to Greta Cicolari and Marta Menegatti of Italy.
Doris and Stefanie played superbly but were also helped by their German opponents who looked sloppy and made a series of unforced errors to pave the way with gold for the home heroines on their way to the final. The Austrian pair started out strong (5:2) and did never lose control of the game widening their lead up to seven points by the end of the set (21-14). The story did not change also in the second set where, after a close start (3:3), Doris and Stefanie accelerated the pace (12:5) before they asked for a time-out as Ludwig/Walkenhorst briefly found a way into the game (16:11). Back to the court, the Schwaiger sisters – who on Friday had survived five match balls for their Russian opponents Ekaterina Khomyakova and Evgenia Ukolova in the 1/4 finals – showed the right composure necessary to bring it home and eventually cashed their fourth match ball for another 21-14 and a ticket to the gold medal match. “I am absolutely overwhelmed with joy and I have no words to express the way we feel” said Stefanie addressing 8,000 fans.
Ludwig will try to add another bronze medal to her collection from the European Champs that already includes two gold (in 2008, 2010), two silver (2007, 2009) and one bronze (2011).  

On Friday Liliana Fernandez Steiner, right after edging Kristyna Kolocova/Marketa Slukova in the 1/8 finals, said that together with partner Elsa Baquerizo she had come to Klagenfurt to win gold. They finally got the chance to go for it after cruising to a straight victory in their semi-final with first-seeded Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler of Germany (21-16, 21-16). After writing history last year in The Hague as they seized bronze, the Spaniards look extremely motivated to improve on what is already the best result for their country at a European Championship. “It was a very good game for us; we tried to make as less mistakes as possible and it worked just fine” Liliana said commenting on a game where they received full support from the Austrian audience waiting for the Schwaiger sisters to star in the second semi-final. “We thought the crowd was behind the girls from Germany for they are from a neighbouring country, so we really enjoyed the fact that they were cheering on us” Liliana adds. “As for the final game, I simply do not care about who we are going to play there, really. We simply want to enjoy the moment and play our game”.
With Liliana standing out in defence, the Spaniards stormed out to a good start in the first set (6:4), slowly but surely widened their lead (13:8, 18:12) and never looked back to bring it home at 21-16. They got off to a flying start in the second set (7:1, 9:2) as their opponents struggled to find their way into the game. Holtwick and Semmler lacked the consistency they had showed so far in the tournament – they had not dropped any set going into the semi-finals – and even though they could score a 4-1 run to close a bit the gap (6:10), Liliana and Elsa were able to regroup and cruised to a well-deserved 2:0 victory. This is something really remarkable for this pair that is basically self-financing itself for they only got 10,000 € from the Sports Council back home to support their campaign this season.

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