Vikings upset home heroes Huber and Seidl
2013 CEV A1 Beach Volleyball European Championship Final presented by checkrobin.com
Klagenfurt, Austria, August 3, 2013. 8,000 fans were silenced in Klagenfurt as local heroes Xandi Huber and Robin Seidl – after missing out on three match balls – lost in three sets their 1/8 final game with Norway’s Iver Andreas Horrem and Geir Eithun (21-19, 20-22, and 16-18). The crowd in Klagenfurt never stopped cheering for the two guys from Carinthia who – after Clemens Doppler’s injury – were supposed to carry the hopes of the host country in the men’s competition.
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They caught a good start and dictated the pace of the game also in the second set before their opponents clawed back to call for the tie-break. “It was another tough game, like the one we played last week in Long Beach” says Horrem. “The match followed a similar plot; once again they hand the game in their hands but we were able to come back and bring it home. I have to stress that Geir has played a terrific game, he practically did all the side-outs while I was simply trying to be as supportive as possible”. The ambiance on centre court was “hot” in every sense for temperatures had risen up to 38° degrees on Saturday morning and Eithun did not find it easy to stand this heat wave. “I am dead” he said leaving the court, “happy but done”.
The final section of the tie-break had turned into a drama for Horrem and Eithun first moved up 13:11 before the Austrians drew level at 13. Horrem asked for a time-out following on an error by his partner, but it did not help as Huber/Seidl claimed the first opportunity to close the game. They did not exploit it and the same happened with the two next match balls as Geir Eithun did an outstanding job in blocking to eventually seal the deal at 18-16. The silence that followed Norway’s last point was somehow unreal but in spite of their disappointment, Huber and Seidl still found the motivation and strength to address their fans: “We are sorry for we did want to pay you back with a victory but we just hope you will continue to back the Austrian teams as you did with us” they said referring to the women’s gold medal match starring the Schwaiger sisters and the next game on schedule, where youngsters Thomas Kunert and Lorenz Petutschnig played Spain’s Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira.
Austria’s youngsters fought bravely and had their own chances – including set balls – in the opening set but eventually had to accept a 0:2 defeat (23-25, 16-21). As they got the right to compete in Klagenfurt only after receiving a wild-card, they could not be too dissatisfied with what they showed here: “I felt like living a dream for the past few days” Kunert said. “Once you have played here once, you want to come back again and this is the goal we and Lorenz have set for next year”.
In what was a remake of the semi-final game played four weeks ago at the World Champs in Stare Jablonki, Germany’s Kay Matysik and Jonathan Erdmann got their revenge this time edging Dutchmen Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen 2:1 (33-31, 17-21, and 15-11) to play Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Daniele Lupo in the 1/4 finals. The bronze medallists from the FIVB Grand Slam in Long Beach easily bested Turkey’s Murat Giginoglu and Selcuk Sekerci 21-15, 21-8 to continue their quest for glory. Their country’s last medal at the European Championship dates back to 1996 (!) as Andrea Ghiurghi and Nicola Grigolo won bronze in Pescara. Germany is the sole country with three teams in the 1/4 finals for Erdmann and Matysik were joined there by Dollinger/Windscheif and Flüggen/Walkenhorst who claimed straight wins over Marcos/Garcia (ESP) and U23 world champions Losiak/Kantor (POL) respectively. Dollinger/Windscheif will play in the next round Poland’s Fijalek/Prudel after the fifth-seeded pair of the Championship bested Switzerland’s Mirco Gerson and Alexei Prawdzic 2:1 (21-15, 23-21, and 15-11).
The second “orange” duo still in the competition, Jon Stiekema and 212 cm tall Christiaan Varenhorst, is also out of the race for the medals after losing to Latvia’s first-seeded Janis Smedins and Aleksandrs Samoilovs (26-28, 14-21) whose next opponent will be Horrem and Eithun in a remake of the game claimed by the two guys from Norway in the prelims.