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03/06/2012 15:00
Mission accomplished for Sanne and Marleen!
2012 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship - Final

The Hague/Scheveningen, Netherlands, June 3, 2012. Sanne Keizer and Marleen van Iersel accomplished their mission as on Sunday afternoon they powered to a speedy 2:0 (21-17, 21-11) win to celebrate their first European medal and at the same time get the fictional title of “Europe’s queens of the beach”, thereby following Italy’s Cicolari/Menegatti who had stood on top of the podium last year in Kristiansand.
The Dutch Volleyball community had definitely been longing for this moment since The Hague and namely the beach of Scheveningen were chosen to host this year’s European Championship. It was an “orange fiesta” out there on the centre court, on a cold but dry day, with the stands filled almost up to full capacity as the home heroines embarked on their quest for European glory. The final with Greece’s Vasiliki Arvaniti/Maria Tsiartsiani was a remake of the game the “Oranjes” had claimed in the prelims of the tournament, but where actually they did not have it as easy as today.

Everything was just perfect for Sanne and Marleen who imposed their pace right from the start of the game (8:4) and even though their opponents were able to reduce the deficit to only a couple of points, they changed gear once again to seal away in the score (19:15) and pocket the opening set (21-17). Things turned even less complicated in set 2 where the orange girls broke away from 6:5 to 10:5 by profiting of the always lethal service of Marleen van Iersel. However, the last word was yet to be said, as Greece stormed back to trail by only a couple of points (13:11) and Keizer/van Iersel decided to ask for a time-out to regroup and score the next eight points, wrapping it up with a terrific 21-11 to testify their absolute dominance and supremacy in this tournament.

This is actually the first senior European medal for Sanne and Marleen; last year, after they had sky-rocketed to the top of the FIVB rankings via a series of impressive results from the stops of the World Tour, they had failed to make it to the top four at the European Champs, and that was one of a few major disappointments in a season that was actually more than memorable for the orange duo. This time, with the Dutch crowd standing behind their supposed golden heroines, Marleen and Sanne could turn into the first Dutch pair able to take Europe’s crown. Even Rebekka Kadijk and other much decorated players had failed to accomplish that feat in the past, so the portrait that the local organizers and the Dutch media had been waiting for was ultimately completed.

“We just played a couple of perfect matches in the semis and today in the final. I really hope that this gold medal will be a good omen for our Olympic campaign in London” stated Marleen and Sanne while joining the local DJs and dancers on a special stage set up right by the short side of the court.
As for Arvaniti/Tsiartsiani, they were seen – already before the start of the final – like a sort of pre-determined “victims” of that Dutch party but were nevertheless happy to bring back their country to the highest ranks after Arvaniti had been a double European champion in 2005 and 2007 with former partner Vassou Karadassiou.  

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