11/08/2013 18:00
Poland and Switzerland celebrate golden Sunday in Vilnius
2013 CEV U20 Beach Volleyball European Championship

Vilnius, Lithuania, August 11, 2013. On Sunday Poland’s Lukasz Kaczmarek/Sebastian Kaczmarek and Switzerland’s Nina Betschart/Nicole Eiholzer were crowned U20 Beach Volleyball European champions in Vilnius. The two teams came out as the young kings and queens of Beach Volleyball in Europe after winning the spectacular finals of the tournament held in Vilnius.
The thrill and celebration of Beach Volleyball took over the Credit24 Arena in Vilnius, as the CEV U20 European Championship reached their climax with the final day of competition. Poland and Switzerland were crowned as the main powers in this age group after the final victories of the teams Kaczmarek/Kaczmarek and Betschart/Eiholzer. It was a great day for the Polish Beach Volleyball community as three of their teams reached the finals of the tournament.    

In the final of the women’s competition, Swiss Betschart/Eiholzer demonstrated their condition of most powerful team of the tournament and they wrapped up an already exceptional championship with a gold medal. The deciding match was an absolute manifestation of supremacy by the Swiss girls who beat Poland’s Karolina Baran/Jagoda Gruszczynska 2:0 (21-9, 21-18). The Polish team couldn't find ways to stop the spectacular performance by a Swiss duo that has been the clear dominant force of the Championship since Betschart/Eiholzer had previously won all their matches in straight sets. “We really enjoyed the match”, said Nina Betschart, “We knew that the Polish team was good but we played at a very good level and we are very happy that we got gold”. “We are so happy! We felt good throughout the tournament and we were lucky to play the final”, added Nicole Eiholzer.   

The Swiss joy contrasted with the disappointment of the Lithuanian delegation. The last day of the European Championship had started with the pending quarterfinal in the women’s tournament, which had to be postponed to Sunday due to the massive storm that hit Vilnius on Saturday. This game would represent the foretaste of the local frustrations, as the main candidates for gold and Lithuanian heroines Ieva Dumbauskaite/Monika Povilaityte did make it to the semis but were set aside of the final after losing to Baran/Gruszczynska at the tie-break. All the illusions and expectations of the organizers were then crashed. To make matters even worse for the local fans, Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte were forced to even wave off the comfort of the bronze medal. In front of an absolutely packed Credit24 Arena, completely filled to the brim, the Lithuanian heroines ended the tournament on a low note as they lost the match for the third place to Nadine and Teresa Strauss of Austria (21-23, 21-15, 19-21). Both contenders showed all their skills in an extremely disputed game, but the tie-break favored the twin sisters from Austria who kept their inspiration to put the final 21-19 on the scoreboard. The Austrian side corroborated its status as the biggest surprise of the tournament at only 17 years of age. “I can’t believe we made it!”, said an exultant Teresa Strauss, as her sister, barely able to speak because of the emotion, added that the crowded arena did not have a decisive impact on the match: “When we saw so many people, we thought ‘Oh, no’, and they were being very loud!, but when we started playing, we did not hear them anymore”, stated Nadine.     

Big day for Poland in the men’s competition   

In the men’s tournament, Poland was proclaimed as the major force of the U20 Beach Volleyball European Championship by placing both its teams in the final, showing an exceptional technical level and an overwhelming physical superiority. The all-Polish affair confirmed the predictions and was tremendously equaled, as expected by the clash of two teams that know each other perfectly. All the sets were solved in the key instants of the periods, and by minimum differences. Kaczmarek/Kaczmarek took the lead but Michal Bryl/Kacper Kujawiak came back and forced the tie-break. Ultimately, the 2012 CEV U20 silver medalist Sebastian Kaczmarek and his teammate Lukasz Kaczmarek were proclaimed the kings of European Beach Volleyball in this age group. “The match was of a very high level; we all have played together in the last three or four years, we train together and it was hard to play against them, but we are happy with this silver medal”, commented Kacper Kujawiak. “I am very happy, I am very glad that we got gold”, declared Lukasz Kaczmarek. “It is very good that two Polish teams made it to the final” he added.  

In the match for third place, Russia’s Viacheslav Kirienko and Dmitry Uraikin beat Germany’s Max Betzien and Wito Krüger 2:0 (21-17, 21-14) in a match dominated by the Russian duo. It was a game between two of the biggest surprises of the competition, two teams that had made it to the semifinals after upsetting some of the initial candidates to the title. In the clash for bronze, the physical strength by Kirienko/Uraikin allowed the 19 year-old players to control the game and was enough to settle for bronze.

With the celebration of Polish Beach Volleyball and with the Polish flags waving in first and second positions in the men’s tournament and in second position in the women’s tournament, together with the confirmation of stars in the making Betschart/Eiholzer, the spectacular CEV U20 Beach Volleyball European Championship in Vilnius came to an end. The up-an-coming stars of the sport in Europe showed during four exciting days their exceptional level and set the tone of the emotions that await the sport in the coming years.

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News nr. 1 of 11
10/08/2013 21:30:00
Quest for gold approaches final stage as massive storm hits Vilnius

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