12/07/2019 12:28
Pfretzschner and Sowa – Germany’s next generation
CEV U22 Beach Volleyball European Championship 2019

Antalya, Turkey, July 12, 2019. Lukas Pfretzschner and Robin Sowa are certainly one of the teams with great potential to excel at the CEV U22 Beach Volleyball European Championship 2019 in Antalya and the reasons are multiple. They come from the thriving Beach Volleyball hatchery of Germany, where they have learnt from some of the best. They have already won one continental title and gained more experience since. They have already hammered their first two games in Turkey. And most importantly, they are humble in their immediate goals, but focused on playing well and improving.

Lukas Pfretzschner is only 19 years old, from Munich, descendent from Volleyball parents.

“My mother was in the national Volleyball team of Germany, when she was young, and my father plays Volleyball just for fun. Actually, a very good friend of mine started playing with me and we got into our school Volleyball team. The same year I started playing Beach Volleyball with him as well, initially for fun, but then we practiced more and more every week and then three years ago I became a professional, or at least I tried to behave like one,” Lukas starts the story about his relationship with the sport.

It was three years ago, in August of 2016, when Pfretzschner and Sowa won gold at the U18 European Championship in Brno, Czech Republic.

“It was pretty cool. It was the first time we played together. We did not know each other until two months earlier, but from the very first moment we liked each other and had a great time together,” Lukas reminisces. “It was ridiculous that we could win that championship, because from the quarterfinal to the final we finished every match on a two-point difference in the last set, I think. Maybe we were a little bit lucky, but it was just an awesome championship there in Brno.”

Pfretzschner and Sowa on top of the podium at #EuroBeachVolleyU18 in 2016

Robin Sowa is 20 years old and lives in Berlin. The two train at the National Training Centre in the German capital.

“I have no athletes in my family. The president of my first Volleyball club scouted me at school because of my height and this is how I started playing the sport,” says the 202-cm-tall blocker.

After that great success at Brno 2016, Pfretzschner and Sowa went their separate ways.

“We split because we wanted to play with older teammates to get more experience and become better players, before we got back together again,” Robin explains.

“That was always the plan and now the time has come that we are back together,” adds Lukas.

During their time away from each other, Sowa managed a couple of World Tour final fours and earned one bronze, alongside Eric Stadie, in 2018. Also in 2018, Pfretzschner took silver at the U19 World Championship and finished fifth at the Youth Olympic Games, both in partnership with Filip John.

“The Youth Olympics was indescribable! A big event for four weeks in Argentina! It still makes me happy when I think about it. It was such an outstanding and unforgettable event, it motivates me to follow my path and maybe one day in the future be at the big Olympics as well,” he says.

Pfretzschner’s path also took him through a one-off partnership with Julius Thole, the sensational German blocker who claimed silver at last week’s World Championship in Hamburg together with Clemens Wickler. Pfretzschner and Thole represented their country at the 2017 U21 World Championship and finished ninth.

“I am very proud of him!” says Lukas of his former teammate. “He is such a great player! I like him very much. He is a great guy, very smart and a very good player. I loved playing with him. It makes me very happy that he is on top of the world right now. You can learn a lot from their team, just watching them, but I got an opportunity to play with Julius and I should be happy.”

Pfretzschner and Sowa got back together for the 2019 season. They have already been through a couple of World Tour events (finishing fifth in Göteborg) and several domestic tour competitions before reaching the fifth place at the U21 World Championship in Udon Thani, Thailand last month. In their first two matches at #EuroBeachVolleyU22, they were unstoppable - 2-0 (21-12, 21-6) against Kosovo’s Art Terstena and Arlind Basha and 2-0 (21-9, 21-16) against Turkey’s Necmi Ayberk Gulluk and Batuhan Kuru – and already look forward to their clash with the other unbeaten team in Pool E, Austria’s Laurenz Leitner and Moritz Fabian Kindl, for a direct ticket to the round of 16.

Lukas Pfretzschner spikes against the Turkish opponents

“I think if we play the way we can, we will be in the top five. The top ten should be our goal. Let’s say, we want the top five, but we’ll be happy to finish in the top ten,” Robin tries to define the team’s objectives for the championship in Antalya.

“Actually, we don’t want to define getting to some place as a goal. We just want to play the best Beach Volleyball we can, and if we do this, we are happy. If we finished last, but played well, we would still be happy. Of course, we will be happier, if we get a medal, but the main goal is to improve our skills,” Lukas clarifies.

“It’s a great atmosphere here. The weather is nice, pretty hot for a German, but we like it,” they both agree. “It’s pretty cool, the centre court is awesome, the hotel is super good and all people are so nice... And we like the Turkish food!”

The Pfretzschner - Sowa partnership as one of the prospective teams of the German national federation is planned until 2020.

“Our goal is to play international tournaments, like two- and three-stars, and improve ourselves to be able to reach higher in the future. For after 2020, we will see what the federation have to say,” Robin explains.

“After this European Championship, we’ll take the plane to Canada and play the three-star tournament in Edmonton,” Lukas specifies the immediate plans. “We also made it to the qualifications for Tokyo, so it will be a very exciting time for us. And this is just the beginning...”

All #EuroBeachVolleyU22 matches are streamed live on EuroVolleyTV.

Click here for more information.

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