Hard fought matches in the lead up to the semi-finals of the Göteborg #CEVSatellite
Göteborg, Sweden, March 31, 2018. A day filled with intense battles where twelve teams fought for the final four places on Sunday.
The first do-or-die game of the day featured Latvia’s Haralds Regza/Kristaps Smits and Italy’s Andrea Abbiati/Tiziano Andreatta. The first set was even up until the end when Italy managed to finish best and end it 21-19. In the second set the Italian duo played with great determination, and a frustrated Latvia could not keep up. Abbiati/Andreatta shouted out with joy as they took the last point (21-15) and secured a place in the next round.
In the second game of the day the Danish duo Morten Overgaard/Daniel Jonassen seemed to have control over the first set, but Marcel Myslivecek/Martin Pihera from the Czech Republic did not give up and managed to catch up. Overgaard/Jonassen were noticeably pressured, but eventually came out on top 26-24. “We were nervous, we had a hard time finding our rhythm”, the Danes said after the match, “Every point was a battle, but we never gave up”. The second set started off as a head to head battle but Denmark decided to pick up the pace. Thanks to a few nice blocks, courtesy of Morten Overgaard, they finished it 21-15 joining the Italians in Round of 12.
The stands started to fill up and excitement was in the air, the time had come for local player Alexander Annerstedt and his young partner David Åhman to battle Florian Breer/Yves Haussener of Switzerland. 16-year-old Åhman tried to get under the skin of the opponents with a little service dance; “I call it “The King Cobra”, I came up with it this week”, Åhman said with a little smile. However, Åhman’s plan did not seem to work on the Swiss duo as they had the advantage throughout the whole first set and closed it 21-18. The second set saw a completely different energy in the Swedish players as they secured a deciding tiebreak after winning 21-16, keeping the game alive. The third set was filled with emotions as the numbers shifted back and forth between the teams. Åhman played a great defence game and could receive the standing ovations from the crowd as he put the match ball in the sand with a big spike (16-14). “David [Åhman] did all the work in the third set, he played really well, it was a fun game”, Annerstedt said afterwards, “There were a lot of nerves, I had butterflies in my stomach, but that’s why you play this game; to get that feeling of excitement.” The Swedes’ plan for the next game is simple; “We’re going to jump higher and hit harder”.
Dirk Boehlé/Steven van de Velde from the Netherlands secured their continuation in the tournament as they took down Norway’s Lars Tveit Retterholt/Svein Oddmund Solhaug 21-13 and 21-18 in the fourth game of the day.
First out in the Round of 12 was Swedish Linus Tholse/Jakob Molin against Andrea Abbiati/Tiziano Andreatta from Italy. The swedish duo had to surrender to the fired up Italians who played with a great intensity, displaying how much every point meant to them. The final numbers were 21-18, 21-17 and Italy sailed on to quarterfinals.
Next up was an all-swedish battle between David Åhman/Alexander Annerstedt and Martin Appelgren/Simon Boman. The first set was dominated by young-gun Åhman who seemed to do everything right in both defence and attacking. Appelgren/Boman could only snatch 14 points before their opponents collected 21. In the second set the teams took turns making great digs, hard spikes and tricky shots, making it a real nerve tickler. An ambivalent crowd cheering on both teams and after every point eventually saw Åhman/Annerstedt get the best of the second set, winning it 30-28.
The third team to claim a spot in the quarterfinals was Austria’s Florian Schnetzer/Daniel Müllner after defeating Boehlé/van de Velde from the Netherlands in two straight sets. A great defence play from both teams pushed the numbers way above 21 in the first set. “We were under 16-19, and to come back from that was awesome”, Müllner said after the game. The set eventually ended 27-25 in favour of the Austrian duo. Team Austria kept the momentum going in the second set and as the point-gap increased so did the frustration in the opposing team. At the end of the set Van de Velde pulled out a few challenging serves, pressuring the Austrians till the very end. “When they got a good service pressure we took a timeout to break their rhythm”, Müllner said, and obviously it worked since they managed to close the set 21-16.
The last teams to fight for a place in the quarterfinals were Finland’s Jyrki Nurminen/Santeri Siren and Denmark’s Morten Overgaard/Daniel Jonassen. “We have played Siren before, so we know his strengths. They play a great defencive game, we are the underdogs today”, Overgaard/Jonassen said before the game. Just as suspected the Finnish team proved to be too big of a challenge as they played a stable game with a lot of service pressure. After winning 21-8, 21-18 Nurminen/Siren were the last team to enter the quarterfinals.
First up in the quarterfinals were Abbiati/Andreatta versus Thole/Wickler. The two first set went one each way, Germany taking the first 22-20 and Italy the second 27-25. Following the two tight and intense sets were a tiebreak where Germany dominated and finished 15-7.
Once again Åhman/Annerstedt put on a show for the home crowd as they took on Penninga/Van Steenis from the Netherlands. In the first set the points went back and forth and there was not a person who could sit still while watching the thrilling ball exchange between the teams. When Sweden’s Åhman/Annerstedt ended the nail biter 24-22, nothing could stop them from keeping the fire burning in set number two. The Swedish duo played at their absolute best and had a 14-7 lead in the technical timeout. The rest of the set was just a display of two young players enjoying every second of playing in front of a cheering crowd, Åhman/Annerstedt finished it 21-15 and are ready for semifinals on Sunday.
Poland’s Lysikowski/Rudol had played a stable game throughout the tournament and it seemed as nothing could get them out of gear. In the first set against Schnetzer/Müllner they played a solid game resulting in a win 21-14. But the Austrian team were not late to respond and played an impressive second set where they pressured the Polish duo out of their flow. It seemed as if there was nothing Schnetzer couldn’t dig and with a great determination Austria could end the second set 21-16. Austria won the heart of the crowd who in the third set saw a passionate Austria score point after point against the frustrated Lysikowski/Rudol. After finishing the tiebreak 15-9 the austrians exchanged applause and cheers with the fans.
Fighting for the last place in the semi finals were Finland’s Nurminen/Siren and Sweden’s Herrmann/Simonsson. Expectations were running high as the Swedish duo had showed a high class play in yesterday’s matches. Despite the skills of Herrmann/Simonsson, Finland showed that they can play some nice beach volleyball too and had control throughout the game. Nurminen/Siren will continue their play tomorrow after finishing the quarterfinal 21-16, 21-12.
Göteborg is ready for the last day of CEV Satellite.
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