27/06/2019 20:47
Beach Volleyball rising stars put on a show at #EuroBeachVolleyU20 in Göteborg
CEV U20 Beach Volleyball European Championships 2019

Göteborg, Sweden, June 27, 2019. After months of preparations and hard work, the day to blow the whistle for the first service of the CEV U20 Beach Volleyball European Championships 2019 finally came in Göteborg. On two of the four courts, the top-seeded Russian women’s and men’s teams showed why they are among the favourites in this tournament, routing their opponents in two straight sets. Remember you can follow all of the action on EuroVolleyTV!

In almost all of the opening games in the women’s pool play, the higher seeds managed to control the game and finish it in two straight sets. Only Anhelina Khmil/Tetiana Lazarenko of Ukraine showed that they could take down a higher ranked team in the first round.

The Swedish duo Hanna Hellvig/Isabelle Reffel looked initially a bit shaken when they faced Kylie Neuschaeferova/Michaela Brinkova from Czech Republic. However, the home team started out very confidently and could easily snatch the first set 21-13. “We played solid in the first set and I think they were a bit shocked of our play as well,” said Hellvig. The Czech girls found some momentum in the second set and had the lead up until the very last points when Hellvig/Reffel put in the next gear and prevented the game from going to a tiebreak after winning the 22nd and last point, much to the delight of the home crowd. “We started very hard but got a bit passive in the second set, but we managed to bounce back. So it was a good feeling to get back in the second set and get the win,” Hellvig summarised the game.

Valma Prihti/Alisa Vuorinen from Finland managed to win both their games in Pool B against teams from Estonia and Slovakia. “We could keep our level, there were hard moments but we figured it out and came out on top,” the girls said after their last game. “To prepare for tomorrow we are going to take some rest and eat good food here and watch some games.”

On the men’s side, the seeding did not prove to be a good predictor of the results, as teams from Latvia, Hungary, Israel, Slovenia and Estonia gave their opponents a challenge they could not handle. The Germans Benedikt Sagstetter/Rudy Schneider had to deal with some pressure from Hugo Campos/Joao Pedrosa from Portugal who pushed the game to a tiebreak. Eventually the Germans could come out on top and seal the win at 15-11. Later they moved on to dominate their second game against Belgium and are playing tomorrow against Russians Dmitrii Veretiuk/Denis Shekunov for the top spot in their group.

After the win of Hellvig/Reffel, the other Swedish women’s teams were seeking to repeat the success, but unfortunately fell short against teams from Poland and Czech Republic. Rebecka Dahlgren, playing with Filippa Brink, is the only Swedish player from the local club. Family and friends on the stands could see her work hard against the Polish duo Patrycja Jundzill/Natalia Ciesielska, but the Swedes could not disrupt the very impressive side-out and transition game from Poland. Dahlgren/Brink lost the game 8-21, 11-21; they get a new chance Friday against teams from Lithuania and Romania. Sweden’s Hugo Morency/Theodor Grahn had a hard time on the men’s side and lost both their games.

The stands had started to fill up properly in time for Sweden’s highest ranked team Gustav Molin/Jonatan Hellvig to take on Artur Hajós/Bence Attila Stréli from Hungary. Unfortunately, at least for the local supporters, the Hungarians proved to be too strong for the hard fighting Molin/Hellvig who never really kept up with the score. The game ended 21-14, 21-16 in Hungary’s favour. Entering the centre court after their compatriots and friends were Joel Andersson/Alfred Brink (pictured above), ready to play against the Italian duo Tobia Marchetto/Alberto Di Silvestre. Di Silvestre, who just last week took silver at the U21 World Championships in Thailand, and his partner were expected to be a big challenge for the Swedish boys. Andersson/Brink however did not seem to be intimidated by the Italians standing on the other side of the net. A cheering crowd could witness them put on a show and take down their opponents in two straight sets ending 21-13, 21-15. “We played more solid than them I would say,” Brink said after the game and Andersson added, “We played a very tight game and fought well.” The Swedish duo were aware of who they faced. “We watched the final from last week’s U21 World Championships in bed yesterday and were like “So we will be playing that guy tomorrow”, said Andersson laughing while adding, “So it’s kind of crazy we ended up with a win.”

Raisa Schoon/Emi van Driel from the Netherlands are back in Göteborg after winning the 1-Star World Tour tournament hosted at the same venue in late April. “It is very nice to be back again, we know the surroundings, and people say “Hey, I recognise you” and that’s very nice. For us only good memories,” the duo said. They managed to keep their winning streak from last time and they were victorious in both their games on the opening day of this championship. “We are very happy. We know that we are second in the pool and tomorrow we play the first in the pool and we go for it, tomorrow we have to beat Germany to end on top of the pool and I think we have a good chance and we are going to rock it. We play in the afternoon so in the morning we are kind of free so I think we will do some training and watch some videos to get ready,” Schoon said.

Ending the day were Hellvig/Reffel going for the second win in a row, and Sweden’s third. They faced Slovenia’s Katarina Bulc/Nina Zdešar and played a solid game, winning in two sets (21-17, 21-12). On Friday, they play Greece to settle the pool winner.

A successful first day is over at Beach Center, and after some well-deserved rest the players will be back Friday to settle the final standings in the pool play.

Click here for further information.

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