Brno, Czech Republic. Friday’s matches coincided with the end of the pool stage of the competition at #EuroBeachVolleyU20 in Brno, where the teams contested one or two remaining matches in their respective groups. After a rather cold morning session, when some players performed wearing long pants, a warm and sunny afternoon followed and despite the strict hygiene and health protocols in place, there was obviously a good atmosphere among the rising stars of European Beach Volleyball.
A number of fans from the second largest city in the Czech Republic paid a visit to the venue of the tournament and they left with some good impressions. All of the women’s teams representing the Czech Republic were successful in their respective fixtures and they can now look forward to the knockout stage of the tournament. “I am glad that we managed to win twice today. It is a pity that we did not finish well such a good match with Latvia’s Varvara Brailko/Anete Namike and lost in the third set, but we are happy to advance to the playoffs,” says Czech player Markéta Svozilová after finishing second in the pool. “I played with Eliska [Tezzele] for about four seasons, so changing the partner at the last minute was not such a big deal. On the contrary, we have known each other for a long time and we can capitalise on this common background here at the European Championship,” she added.
The Dutch players Nadine Everaert/Wies Bekhuis easily made it through the pool stage. Their matches lasted only about 25 minutes and in only two sets did their opponents score more than 10 points. “We have been playing really well! We like it here and we are really looking forward to the elimination stage of the tournament,” a smiling Nadine Everaert said. Her father, Michel, represented the Netherlands at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and is currently the President of the European Beach Volleyball Commission (EBVC), so Beach Volleyball is in her genes.
On Saturday, the competition will resume as early as at 8:30 am. At that time, the Polish team Zuzanna Bielak/Aleksandra Chudzik will be playing on court number 4 against the Danes Sofia Nørager Bisgaard/Mikala Maria Mogensen. This match promises a great drama. Earlier this summer, Bisgaard finished second at a World Tour 1-Star event held in Ljubljana together with her regular partner Cecilie Køllner Olsen.
The men will not taste the sand until ten o’clock. On Friday, the fans could enjoy a great match by one of the home teams, who beat the pre-favourites from Israel 2-0. “We lost in a very difficult match against the home team. There was a great atmosphere, and it is literally electrifying to play in front of the Czech fans. We like Brno, and we were here a few years ago for another European Championship,” said Tomer Hadar from Israel. He and partner River Day lost to Adam Miroslav Stocek and Jindrich Zavadil who, like the other Czech tandem Jakub Sepka/Tomas Semerad, managed to win their group and advance straight to the second round of the playoffs.
Stocek and Zavadil expect a very challenging match on Saturday. If everything goes according to plan, they will be playing one of the tournament favourites from Germany.
On Saturday, when the temperatures are due to rise in Brno for some sort of an ‘Indian summer’, the spectators can definitely look forward to witnessing more great matches and rallies.
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ÖVV – Volleyball Austria
HOS – Croatian Volleyball Federation
Cyprus Volleyball Federation
Hungarian Volleyball Federation
IVA – Israeli Volleyball Association
SVF – Slovakian Volleyball Federation
OZS – Volleyball Federation of Slovenia