Luxembourg’s men celebrate GSSE Volleyball gold after 24 years
2015 Games of the Small States of Europe
Reykjavik, Iceland, June 6, 2015. The men’s Volleyball tournament of the 2015 Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE) came to an end on Friday in Reykjavik with Luxembourg claiming their third consecutive victory in the competition, this way securing the gold medal they had missed out on two years ago at home. This is Luxembourg’s first GSSE gold medal since the 1991 edition in Andorra. The hosts of Iceland settled for the silver following their 3:1 victory over San Marino, thereby improving on the bronze medals they had won in 1999 and 2009. The women’s competition is set to come to a close on Saturday, the final day of the Games in the Icelandic capital.
The men’s of Luxembourg secured their gold medal in the second match of the day where they swept Monaco in three consecutive sets (25-17, 25-12, 25-14). It was an easy match for the guys from the Grand Duchy who performed well in attack and made very few mistakes while nothing worked for Monaco. Kamil Rychlicki paced Luxembourg with 17 points on their way to gold whilst Adrien Gueru top scored for Monaco with eight. Monaco ended the competition in fourth place.
The last match of the day starring San Marino and Iceland would decide the eventual winners of the silver and bronze medals. Iceland started out strong and set the pace of the game before San Marino came back towards the end of the opening set and levelled the score at 23 all. Still Iceland got the upper hand and won the first set by 26-24. The hosts showed great determination also in the second set controlling the game from start to end (25-16) and leaving no chance to San Marino. The third set was a close one halfway through before San Marino edged ahead on excellent serving by their captain, Francesco Tabarini, who paved the way for the final 25-19. Iceland regrouped in set four and eventually won the match by 3:1, thereby securing the silver medal, their best result ever at the GSSE. Hafsteinn Valdimarsson paced Iceland with 14 points while Tabarini recorded a match-high 19 points for San Marino.
The programme of the fourth day was opened by a women’s match starring San Marino and Liechtenstein. San Marino were off to a very good start leading the way from start to end in the opening set (25-20) before their opponents stormed back to claim the second one with the same score. Things changed once more in set 3 which was absolutely one-sided and that San Marino brought to an end with a massive 25-11 score. The fourth set was a lot closer, on the other hand, but San Marino changed gear towards the end to make it 25-19 and seal their 3:1 victory. Elisa Parenti top scored for the team from the Italian peninsula on 17 points while Bianca van der Helm and Milena Schmuck each recorded nine for Liechtenstein.
The hosts of Iceland caught a good start in their match with Luxembourg leading the way almost from start to end before their opponents levelled the score at 23 all. The Icelandic ladies, still, kept calm and eventually won the first set by 25-23. They could not quite repeat the same performance later on and after a close start in set 2, Luxembourg broke away to seize it by 25-18. The third set followed a similar plot with Luxembourg having the upper hand at 25-21. Iceland had a very tough time also in the fourth stanza quickly trailing 4:11. Isabelle Frisch’s service turned into some kind of a nightmare for the Icelandic receivers and even though Iceland got closer at 17:20, Luxembourg did not lose composure and brought the match to an end on a series of actions by their best player, Annalena Mach (25-18). Mach top scored with 20 points while Iceland’s team captain Jóna Guðlaug Vigfúsdóttir had 11 for the home side.
Men’s final standing
3. San Marino
Pictures courtesy by Ólöf Sigurðar
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For further information visit also the official website www.iceland2015.is/english