28/06/2019 21:00
Sweden book four playoff spots at #EuroBeachVolleyU20 on home sand
CEV U20 Beach Volleyball European Championships 2019

Göteborg, Sweden, June 28, 2019. The sun was out and the temperature was high already in the morning games on Friday – the second competition day at this year’s CEV U20 Beach Volleyball European Championships in Göteborg – the first such tournament held in Sweden. By the end of the day, as many as four teams from the host country secured a spot in the knockout phase. Remember you can follow all of the action through the CEV’s very own OTT platform, EuroVolleyTV!

Sweden’s Sofia Andersson/Evelina Granberg managed to start the day on a high note when they faced Holly Bentley/Ellie Austin from England. Austin, who took bronze in the 1-Star World Tour tournament in Greece two weeks ago, and her partner, had to surrender to the Swedish girls who managed to close the game after two extremely tight sets (22-20, 23-21). “The first set felt safe but we did not think that we would be able to take the second as we were behind,” Andersson/Granberg said, “we were thinking that we had to play a third set, that made us relax and we caught up in the second and eventually won.”

Next up on centre court was local player Rebecka Dahlgren with her partner Filippa Brink. The girls had a tough game on Thursday against Poland and Friday Lithuania were on the opposite side of the net. The big block and quick defence play by Ariana Rudkovskaja/Aine Raupelyte were too big a challenge and the Swedes eventually lost the game 15-21, 12-21. In the afternoon, they beat Romania’s Irina-Eliza Kosinski/Serena-Andreea Grigore in two straight sets meaning that all three Swedish teams on the women’s side will be playing on Saturday. “As long as we kept playing our game felt pretty stable. Tomorrow we are going to have fun and play the best way we can together and we will see how far we can go,” the Swedish girls said after the game.

After a tough loss on Thursday, Sweden’s Gustav Molin/Jonatan Hellvig had a new chance against Cyprus’ Sotiris Siapanis/Odysseas Savvides on Friday morning. The Cypriots started the game strong and could keep a good service pressure throughout the game, making it hard for Sweden to keep up. Good service and big blocks helped Cyprus reach 21 points in both sets (21-13, 21-19).

Patrik Manas/Jiri Sedlak from Czech Republic took a comfortable win in their first pool game on Thursday but were not as lucky when facing Sweden’s Joel Andersson/Alfred Brink in their second game. The game turned out to be a real nail-biter, with the first set ending in Sweden’s favour and the second one for Czech Republic. The tiebreak was a tight one, but Andersson/Brink found some extra fire to end it 15-13. “It was a game with ups and downs, we don’t really think we played very well but it’s always nice to win,” the boys from Sweden summarised their feelings.

Another nail-biter on centre court was Sweden’s Hanna Hellvig/Isabelle Reffel versus Greece’s Eleni Baka/Maria Klepkou battling it out to decide which team would win Pool A. “We went into the game thinking that we wanted to have fun, Greece is a good team and we wanted to enjoy the game. We struggled a little bit with the wind, but we were not very nervous and tried to focus on every ball,” the Swedes said. The game ended 22-20, 25-23 in favour of Hellvig/Reffel meaning they topped their pool on the women’s side together with teams from Russia, Lithuania, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, Latvia and Italy.

The strong looking duo Vivien Tournier/Abdel-Aziz Doumbia from France dominated their first pool games on Thursday and they were playing to top their pool against Ukraine’s Oleksandr Boiko/Oleksii Bublyk. The first set could have gone either way with the teams exchanging every other point. Being behind 19-20, the French boys requested a time out to regain control. “My side-out was not very good. I think it was important just to stay focused and to do my side-outs, so I just tried to breathe and keep calm,”' said Tournier, adding “After the time-out, there was good service from Abdel and we tried not to make mistakes and just put the ball in the sand.” The tactics from the time-out proved to work as the French tandem snatched three points in a row and closed the set 22-20. In the second set, France kept up the steam and reached 21 points when Ukraine had 13. “I think the difference was that we changed who we were pressuring in service, we made more blocks and more defence saves. Abdel served very well and I made better side-outs, so I think this explains why it was easier to win the second set,” Tournier explained. Winning their pool means that the boys are going straight to the Round of 16, accompanied by teams from Hungary, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, England, Germany and Poland. “It feels great to win the pool, we wanted to be first and go directly to the Round of 16, it’s very important for tomorrow’s game to have a lot of rest, it’s very important for the remainder of the competition”, the French team said after the game.

Sweden’s Theodor Grahn/Hugo Morency and Denmark’s Carl-Emil Nedergaard/Mads Kaagh Møller Christensen played a do-or-die game, aiming to decide which team from Pool D was going to snatch the last ticket into Saturday’s playoffs. Grahn/Morency played a convincing game in the first set, with the numbers ending 21-17. The Swedish supporters felt hopeful when the boys re-entered the court for the second set – but the Danes showed that they did not tremble as they only gave away 13 points to Sweden before reaching 21. “Having the crowd against us was okay and we managed to turn it into something positive. It became an extra motivation and we just wanted to win even more,” they commented after the game. Moving into the third set the Swedish boys seemed to find their rhythm again and it turned out to be a close one, but Denmark were eventually victorious 16-14. “The game was amazing, we saw our opponents at the warm up and though that it was going to be a tough game. But then we started and we felt that it was possible, it was really exciting,” the Danes said after the game. Saturday they play in the Round of 16: “Mentally it is a big challenge and it is going to be a tough match. Hopefully we will be lucky with the draw,” they said with a laugh.

After a less successful morning, the Swedes Molin/Hellvig managed to take down Turkey’s Yusuf Ozdemir/Ali Cebeci in a tight game going to tiebreak. This was however not enough for the Swedes to advance into the playoffs, and the home crowd will have to direct all their support to the girls and Andersson/Brink who are the only Swedish men’s team playing on Saturday. Andersson/Brink went straight in to the Round of 16 after winning pool C.

Saturday will be another sunny day and full of great Beach Volleyball as Göteborg is ready for the third day of action of the U20 European Championships.

Click here for further information.

News nr. 3 of 6
29/06/2019 22:00:00
Sweden still in contention for home gold at #EuroBeachVolleyU20
27/06/2019 20:47:00
Beach Volleyball rising stars put on a show at #EuroBeachVolleyU20 in Göteborg

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