06/09/2015 09:23
Latvia and Sweden top charts, Russian drama with happy end in Sochi
2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup - Men & Women

Sochi, Russia, September 5, 2015. One of four tournaments on schedule for Round 4 of the 2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup came to a close on Saturday night in Sochi with Latvia and hosts Russia plus Sweden and France securing promotion to the final stage for men and women, respectively. The players from these countries keep on chasing their Olympic dream since the eventual winners of the Continental Cup Finals will claim a spot to compete at next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The second and final competition day at the premises of the Sport INN complex got started with the matches for first place. Sweden and France were playing for the top position in the women’s competition whilst much attention was drawn by the men’s final where the home heroes of Russia took on Latvia. The anticipation was high and eventually both clashes were decided by a ‘golden match’.

Though France’s women claimed the first game, Sweden responded with another great performance by Karin Lundqvist and Anne Lie Rininsland. They first claimed their respective match with France’s Aline Chamereau/Ophélie Lusson (21-12, 21-17) and after that played Laura Longuet and Alexandra Jupiter in the decisive ‘golden match’. There Lundqvist and Rininsland came back from 10:13 and eventually cruised to the final 16-14 to make sure Sweden would finish first in Sochi and continue their march in the final stage of the Continental Cup. Still France claimed the second spot at stake for the Finals as they regrouped later in the afternoon and won two straight matches to edge Latvia and finish the competition in second place.

Latvia’s men, on the other hand, upset the Russian audience in the men’s ‘big final’. Everything started in the best way for Russia as Konstantin Semenov/Viacheslav Krasilnikov easily edged past Ruslans Sorokins/Toms Smedins in the opening match of the ‘grand finale’ (21-18, 21-19). However, Martins Plavins and Haralds Regza turned the tide for Latvia as they beat Dmitry Barsouk and Yaroslav Koshkarev in a remake of the gold medal match from the Baku 2015 European Games (22-20, 21-18). After that Plavins and Regza stretched momentum to edge also Semenov/Krasilnikov (21-14, 22-20) and secure Latvia’s promotion to the Finals of the Continental Cup.

Russia was nevertheless still in contention for a spot in the next round but had to edge Slovakia in the final for second and third place. It was a remake of the clash from Friday, which Russia had claimed fairly easily. Semenov and Krasilnikov opened proceedings with a 27-25, 21-18 win over Jakub Ihnat and Michal Kollar before Igor Horvath and Matej Hukel upset the Russian fans and caused a sensation with their 15-21, 21-18, 15-13 victory in the match with Barsouk and Koshkarev. Hukel delivered especially a great performance and this way kept Slovakia’s hopes alive and the two sides got to play another ‘golden match’.

The coaches of Russia and Slovakia decided to mix up their pairs for the final act of the competition. Matej Hukel joined forces with Jakub Ihnat for Slovakia after on Friday they had already claimed a ‘golden match’ with Belarus and this seemed to be a quite good omen for them. On the other side of the net, Konstantin Semenov played his fourth game of the day (!), this time with Yaroslav Koshkarev. Though their rivals are a way less experienced, the Russians had to come back from behind as they looked completely exhausted. They repeatedly seemed to have run out of fuel but with the support of their fans they rose to the occasion and continued to fight, eventually bringing the match to an end after a close tie-break (19-21, 21-19, 15-13) to secure Russia’s spot in the Finals.

“I would like to thank the fans because without their help we would not have achieved this victory,” Semenov said. “It was a pleasure to play in such great atmosphere, it really gives you wings! We were not able to beat Latvia and we were close to lose to Slovakia as well. We will now continue to fight for a ticket to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and tomorrow will start our preparations for the FIVB Open which is due to take place next week here in Sochi,” he concluded.

Click here for further information on the 2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup

News nr. 34 of 134
06/09/2015 10:44:00
Lithuania’s men out, Austria and France to meet in ‘big final’ in Vilnius
05/09/2015 22:39:00
Greek triumph over Switzerland after ‘golden match’ drama

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