22/07/2018 16:54
Latvia vs. Norway the final showdown at #EuroBeachVolley
2018 CEV DELA Beach Volleyball European Championship

The Hague, The Netherlands, July 22, 2018. Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins and Norway’s sensation Anders Berntsen Mol/Christian Sandlie Sørum will be playing for #EuroBeachVolley gold at 19.45 after dominant displays in their respective semis in The Hague. The Latvians easily beat Russia’s Konstantin Semenov/Ilya Leshukov 21-15, 21-15 while Mol/Sørum needed two sets only as well to ease past 2013 European champions Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira of Spain. Samoilovs and Smedins will contest their fifth #EuroBeachVolley gold medal match in six years – and try to get back the crown they seized in 2015 in Klagenfurt. The Vikings, on the other hand, will be trying to claim Norway’s first gold medal in the competition since 1997.

In a repeat of the matchup these two same teams played a little more than a week ago in Gstaad, Norway’s Anders Berntsen Mol/Christian Sandlie Sørum secured their spot in the 2018 #EuroBeachVolley title-deciding game as they beat Spain’s evergreens Pablo Herrera and Adrian Gavira 2-0 (21-19, 21-16). It was pretty much a clash between youth and experience – Mol was only seven years old when Herrera won Olympic silver in Athens 14 years ago.

The young Vikings did not show any lack of courage – they actually set the tempo of the game from start to end even though they wasted huge 8-2 and 11-5 leads in the second set, thus allowing Herrera/Gavira to close in at 13-14. However, after a timeout, Mol and Sørum resumed their march and showed a very consistent game to secure Norway’s first participation in a #EuroBeachVolley gold medal match in 20 years – since Jan Kvalheim and Bjørn Maaseide won silver in Rhodes, Greece in 1998 after losing to Switzerland’s Martin and Paul Laciga. Their feat is even more remarkable since they have lost only two sets in the tournament this far.

Sunday’s performance confirmed the steady rise of the BeachVolley Vikings to international stardom.

“The first thought is that it was really hard coming to a new stadium today,” Anders Berntsen Mol said since they contested their previous matches in Apeldoorn. “These are completely new conditions; the wind is blowing in all directions and also the sand is a bit different. You feel like it is hard but it is deep too and makes you slide. Therefore, that was a bit hard but we managed to fight through even though the conditions were not perfect. We fought hard.”

“We are really happy to make it to the final,” Sørum added. “Now that we have played and got to know the conditions here, we will just relax and get ready for the final game.”

Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Konstantin Semenov engaging in a battle at the net

The second semi-final was a Beach Volleyball masterclass by Samoilovs and Smedins – with the only exception being the early stages of the first set. After drawing level at 14-all following a truly spectacular rally, the Latvians accelerated their pace and scored as many as seven points vs. only one for their Russian opposition. Semenov and Leshukov had not dropped a single set in the previous stages of the tournament to become the real surprise package of the competition. However, Smedins and Samoilovs delighted the audience with spectacular actions and a true show of strength, which knows almost no equal on the circuit.

The ‘Lion King’ and 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Smedins comfortably stormed to a 21-15, 21-15 victory to secure they can play for continental gold for the fifth time in six years.

“It was really important for us. Russia has played the whole the tournament really good. I think they did not lose any set,” Samoilovs said. “Therefore, they were in really good shape, and we prepared very seriously for this match. It does not matter which seeding they have. They have seeding 19, but it does not mean anything. Yeah, we played confident, really calm. We did not risk too much. They made more mistakes in side-out, and that made the difference.”

“We want to play aggressively with our serve and put them out of good reception. If we do so, we can start to play good block-defence. It did not go as we had planned until the end of the first set, but in the end, we got some good serves, and that made the difference. In the second set, on the other hand, they made too many mistakes,” Smedins added.

Commenting the show they delivered at some point, Samoilovs was obviously pleased. “That is our style. We are ‘small’, I am 196 cm, Janis is 191 and we have to play against a Russian guy who is 2.10. In the morning, he is 2.12 he says, in the evening 2.10. You need to be clever, do some tricky sets and play a little bit faster. Therefore, we had some attacks without block after playing a combination. That is the way we have to play against big boys.”

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News nr. 2 of 43
22/07/2018 23:16:00
BeachVolley Vikings are the ‘Kings of the Beach’
21/07/2018 11:45:00
Christiaan Varenhorst on his blocking game

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