The Queens and Kings of CEV EuroBeachVolley 2020

Jurmala, Latvia. It has been five days of competition at the highest level in Jurmala, Latvia as the best beach volleyball teams in the world gathered for the CEV EuroBeachVolley 2020. With its ups and downs, severe weather and massive efforts on the part of everyone involved, today we had reached the final day of the competition, at the end of which the queens and kings of EuroBeachVolley were to be crowned.

The best moments of the competition, extended highlights and more are available on CEV’s Youtube Channel HERE.

The Final day of CEV EuroBeachVolley 2020 started with the men’s semifinals, pitching against each other the top 4 teams of the competition. Last year’s champions, the Beach Volley Vikings from Norway Mol/Sørum faced the Italian duo of Nicolai/Lupo, former champions themselves in a match that would not be an easy win by any means. The first set was an extremely balanced affair with both teams maintaining a high level throughout. However, it was the Norwegians that pushed through and got ahead in the match (27-25), setting up a second set as entertaining as the first. Despite stern opposition from the Italians, The Vikings marched steadily and confidently towards their third final in as many years winning the second set as well (21-19).

The second semifinal was a Russian affair, as two of the best teams in the country and the world, Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy (Ranked world no 2) and Liamin/Myskiv (Ranked world no 11) went head to head for the remaining spot in the grand finale. The 2019 world champions, Krasilnikov/Styanovskiy proved they know how to deal with the pressure and put the motivation from missing out on last year’s final stages in Moscow to good use. A straight sets win (21-17, 21-16) that set us up for a Final between the best ranked teams in the world. In the Bronze Medal match, Nicolai/Lupo managed a hard fought win against Liamin/Myskiv (2-1: 17-21, 23-21, 15-12), demonstrating yet again the resilience that has taken them thus far in the competition, to add another medal to their trophy cabinet.

In this most anticipated Final of the last few editions, the Russians started off really well, leading the Vikings by as many as 4 points early in the first set. From there on however, there was little stopping the Norwegians, who hadn’t lost a set throughout the tournament, from winning their third EuroBeachVolley in a row. Quality, speed, agility and maybe above all, a mutual understanding of each other’s movement on the court, took Mol/Sørum to a well deserved European Trophy after a two sets win (21-19, 21-15) cementing their place as one of the best teams to have ever played the game.

“It feels so amazing! It has been a tough year, no tournaments and we are so happy that CEV put on a show here and we were able to come and play at the EuroBeachVolley, and to pull off a third victory in a row, I don’t think we realise what we have achieved,” said Anders Mol after the Final.

CEV EuroBeachVolley 2020 – Men’s Podium

Gold Medal Winners – Mol/Sørum (NOR)
Silver Medal Winners – Krasilnikov/Stoyanovskiy (RUS)
Bronze Medal Winners – Nicolai/Lupo (ITA)

On the Women’s side of the competition we already knew the teams that would battle for the medals, with the 3rd place match taking place between Nadezda Makroguzova/Svetlana Kholomina from Russia and Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova from the Czech Republic, while in the Final we had two teams reaching this stage of the competition for the first time, with the Swiss pair of Joana Heidrich/Anouk Vergé-Dépré taking on the German duo of Kim Behrens/Cinja Tillmann.

The bronze medal match was as competitive as we were expecting, with both teams fighting not to go home empty handed after solid performances throughout the tournament. In the end, the Russians prevailed after keeping their cool, especially in the first set, to see off a worthy challenge and win their first EuroBeachVolley medal.

Ranked 3rd in the world at the start of the competition, the Swiss Heidrich/Vergé-Dépré were the clear favourites to win gold, especially after their impressive wins in the quarterfinals (vs Kozuch/Ludwig) and the semifinals (vs Hermannova/Slukova), however the Germans were not willing to give up the fight just yet and were seeking to a fairy tale ending to their cinderella story. And they did start the Final on the right foot with a smart and aggressive attitude that saw them clinching the first set (21-18). It was down to the wire for the Swiss and their reaction made all the difference, managing a convincing second set win (21-14) taking this exceptional gold medal match into a tiebreak. The third set was probably one of the most balanced sets of the competition, with both teams giving it their all, but in the end there could only be one European Champions and this time it was the Swiss Heidrich/Vergé-Dépré who won the tie break (18-16), the match and the crown.

“It was such a tough game, they served extremely well. We just knew that we had to keep going, keep pushing and pushing and we are so happy we managed to do that,” said Vergé-Dépré.

CEV EuroBeachVolley 2020 – Women’s Podium

Gold Medal Winners – Heidrich/Vergé-Dépré (SUI)
Silver Medal Winners – Behrens/Tillmann (GER)
Bronze Medal Winners – Makroguzova/Kholomina (RUS)

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Source:
CEV – European Volleyball
CVF – Czech Volleyball Federation

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