Beach Volleyball

Austria, Czechia, the Netherlands and Italy keep their Olympic dream alive


Article Fri, Jun 14 2024
Author: Martyna Szydlowska

Friday's quarterfinals determined the four semifinalists of the women's Beach Volley Nations Cup Final in Jurmala, who stay in the race for the last ticket to Paris. On Saturday Austria will face the Netherlands, once Czechia will take on Italy to fight for the Olympic qualification.

Action-packed Friday started with a quarterfinal battle between Austria and Ukraine. Schützenhöfer and Lena Plesiutschnig first entered the court to face Makhno/Lunina. The Austrians put a lot of pressure with service, delivering 4 aces, Plesiutschnig in addition worked hard in the block, which helped them win this battle 21-17, 21-15. The Klinger sisters left no hope for Ukraine, beating Hladun/Lazarenko 21-16, 21-18. Both Ronja and Dorina impressed with their performances from the service line and high efficiency in attack, going to the semi-finals in great fashion.

"We are so happy to be in the semifinals. The format is extremely different . It's something completely new because you have to focus on yourself but also the team is super important so we are trying to keep up good atmosphere and perform at our best level. We knew that Ukraine has two really good teams and we tried to prepare very well and at the same time focus on our game and it was bringing a lot of energy and it was a key."

Dorina Klinger

"Also our teammates won the first game, so for us it was easier to play. It's amazing to be here in Jurmala as it's a great place and great stadium to play and we having so much fun out there."

Ronja Klinger

In the second quarterfinal, Czechia and Finland locked horns, delivering a very tight battle. Marketa Svozilova and Kylie Neuschaeferova stopped Parkkinen/Prihti 26-24, 21-19, leading a well-balanced offense. Both Czechia and Finland had powerful servers Neuschaeferova and Parkkinen - 6 and 5 aces respectively, but the Czech duo made less mistakes, which had a huge impact on the final score. In the second match Barbora Hermannova and Marie-Sara Stochlova sealed the deal after a thrilling two-setter - each part went to extra time with 22-20 and 24-20 as the final score. Stochlova was on fire hammering as many as 20 spikes and 3 aces (her record included also 2 aces).

The battle between the Netherlands and Poland was the most dramatic as two tie-breaks and the Golden Set were required to determine the winner of this duel. In the first tier Emi van Driel and Kristen Broring managed to prevail over Kinga Wojtasik and Katarzyna Kociołek after the game was full of turnarounds (21-13, 15-21, 17-15). The Polish duo came back from being a set down and had a match point in the tie-break, but the Dutch team denied it and closed the game in their favour. Jagoda Gruszczyńska and Aleksandra Wachowicz opened the game Brecht Piersma and Wies Bekhuis with a bang, taking a 7-2 lead, but to earn victory they needed a tie-break, which kept their hopes alive, giving another chance in the Golden Set. However, the Dutch team decided to switch the team for the decisive part, creating a super duo Piersma/Van Driel who turned to be a secret weapon for the Netherlands. Piersma built a wall over the net with 3 block stuffs to her name, once Van Driel perfectly covered the court and was almost unstoppable in attack (4 points - 67% success). Thus, the Netherlands booked their spot in the quarterfinals, winning the Golden Set 15-11.

"We are just happy that we kept fighting and fighting. We switched the teams and I think that a "surprise effect" helped, so we are really happy that we made it to the semifinals."

Emi Van Driel

"The little switch for the mindsets in the Golden Set was very helpful and we will see what the semifinals will bring us."

Brecht Piersma

In the last quarterfinal Italy and Lithuania battled it out for the last spot in the semifinals. Giada Bianchin and Reka Orsi Toth earned a pretty easy win over the Grudzinkaite sisters (21-15, 21-13). Although Claudia Scampoli and Margherita Bianchin were pushed harder by Dumbauskaite/Vasiliauskaite, they emerged victorious 27-25, 21-16. Claudia Scampoli was simply unstoppable in attack, having 88% of success in this skill standing behind 15 winning spikes.