English women lose two “golden matches” to end up home tournament in third place, Sweden and Slovakia through to Round 3
2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup - Women
Bournemouth, England, June 22, 2014. It wasn’t a lucky day for England’s women at LeAF Academy on Sunday as the home heroines could not capitalize on good opportunities to finish the 1st Round tournament – Pool D of the 2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup on top of the charts. In the end they even had to be content with third place after losing twice at the golden match, first to Sweden in the big final, and then also to Slovakia in the 2nd/3rd place playoff. Sweden and Slovakia move on to Round 3 scheduled for next year whereas England and rookies Ireland will re-start their campaign from Round 2 which is coming up later this summer.
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1st place Final
Sweden vs. England 2:1
On another perfect morning for Beach Volleyball, England’s women were first up again, this time with the unenviable task of facing top seeds Sweden. Jessica Grimson/Grace Lazard faced Sweden’s first pair of Nina Grawender/Karin Lundqvist in game one. Sweden made a rapid start, opening up a five-point lead at the first change of ends. The rest of the set continued to go to form, as the Swedes dominated the front court, winning the set 21-10. England fared better in the second set taking the lead at 7:6, but the experienced pair from Sweden raised their level to see out the set 21-16. Zara Dampney and Savanah Leaf took to the court knowing that nothing but a win would do. They duly obliged with a narrow 22-20, 21-18 victory over Camilla Nilsson and Tadva Yoken in 38 minutes, sending the tie into a golden match playoff.
Dampney/Leaf played off against Grawender/Lundqvist in a match that had the crowd on the edge of their seats throughout. The first two sets were shared, with the English pulling back a small deficit in the second after the Swedes looked to have the match already won. The momentum stayed with the home nation in the third, with every point vigorously cheered by the crowd. Both teams had match points and both teams let them go begging. Sweden finally managed to make one count (15-21, 21-16, 18-16), sealing a place in Round 3 as pool winners.
2nd and 3rd place Final
England vs. Slovakia 1:2
Over on court 2, Ireland once again found it tough as they lost 2-0 against a Slovakian side who were determined to earn another shot at England in the 2nd/3rd place playoff. Despite the heavy defeats, Ireland’s Roisin Allen was still in good spirits. “It’s been a brilliant experience for all of us. It’s our first international tournament and we’ve loved having the opportunity to play against players of this standard.”
The final game of the day was England women’s 2nd/3rd place playoff against Slovakia. After the opening two matches were split, all that was left was a repeat of the golden match from the day before. The English pair of Dampney/Leaf had already played an extra match which may have been telling in the final result. The Slovakians Tina Turnerova and Gabriela Tomasekova avenged their previous defeat, winning in straight sets 21-13, 21-17 booking their place in Round 3. For England, it was a painful defeat. One more point in the golden match against Sweden would have put them in Round 3 but instead they find themselves in Round 2. Jessica Grimson was positive despite the narrow loss. “It was a great experience to play in front of our home crowd. Hopefully this will help our development and we look forward to representing England again in the near future.”