The Hague, Netherlands, August 3 - Experienced youthful talent with raw youthful talent met on the Scheveningen centre court Sunday and the result was that the more experienced Estoniaâ€™s Kristo Kollo and Oliver Venno defeated the less experienced Jeff Carslon and Tony Ciarelli of the United States to earn the menâ€™s gold medal Sunday at the 2008 SWATCH FIVB Youth World Championships, presented by RICOH, for players under the age of 19. The five-day, double gender event was held at Hommerson Beachsport Stadion in the seaside resort of Scheveningen in The Hague.
Using their experience when it counted most, Estoniaâ€™s Kollo/Oliver defeated USAâ€™s Carlson/Ciarelli for the championship in two sets, 21-17 and 21-16 in 34 minutes. The 2008 SWATCH FIVB Youth World Champions was held for the seventh time and the first time in the Netherlands. Both teams had to battle wind, light rain and mild temperatures in their quest to win the title.
In the end, the experience of playing three years of beach volleyball together helped Kollo, 18, of Tallinn and Venno, 18, of Tartu, defeat Carlson, 18 of Newport Beach, Calif., and Ciarelli, 18 of Huntington Beach, Calif., with far fewer mistakes against the talented Americans who while growing up around the beach, just started playing together a month ago in anticipation of their first major beach volleyball event. Kollo/Venno earned their SWATCH FIVB Youth World Championships gold medal with an undefeated string in The Hague, going 7-0 and being extended to three sets only once in the event.
â€œWe were very nervous at the beginning, but we played well enough to keep gaining our confidence,â€ said Kollo. â€œIt was a good day for us and we didnâ€™t make too many mistakes which really helped us. We thought we were going to play someone else, but no matter who you play, you still have to go out there and get it done.â€
Both sets of the gold medal match were close, but the Estonians used excellent net play to keep the Americans at bay. In the first set, there were only two ties early as Estonia rattled off five straight points to assume a lead at 7-2 that they never relinquished. The Americans did rally, closing to 10-9 and later 18-16, but Estonia answered again to win the set.
The second set started out much tighter with seven ties up to 8-8 when Estonia gradually pulled away from the Americans, building up a three-point cushion, after which they pushed ahead 17-13 and 18-14. The closest the Americans came after that was 19-16 before the Estonians scored the final two points of the match to earn the championship.
Kollo/Oliver, the 2007 under 18 European championships, won their semifinal match on Saturday, finally overcoming the challenge from Polandâ€™s Marek Leznicki/Damian Wojtasik, 17-21, 21-13 and 15-12 in 43 minutes.
Prior to their gold medal win over Carlson/Ciarelli and their semifinal win over Leznicki/Wojtasik, the Estonians won five matches in just two sets each, defeating Spainâ€™s Bouza/Castizo (21-18 and 21-17 in 32 minutes), Netherlandsâ€™ Christiaan Varenhorst/Johan van der Poel (21-12 and 21-13 in 35 minutes), Netherlandsâ€™ Lukas Snoek/Mart van Werkhoven (21-13 and 21-10 in 27 minutes), Germanyâ€™s Steffen Drossler/Thomas Just (21-13 and 21-10 in 32 minutes) and Mexicoâ€™s Jesus Salas/Jesus Valdes (21-13 and 21-14 in 31 minutes).
Finishing with an 8-2 record in the international event, Carlson/Ciarelli, who will both be freshmen at the University of Southern California playing indoor volleyball for the Trojans, earned their spot in the final on Saturday by coming from behind to defeat Spainâ€™s experienced Victor Bouza/Jesus Castizo, 18-21, 21-17 and 15-12 in 51 minutes.
Fighting their way through the qualifier before their impressive performance in the main draw, Carlson/Ciarelliâ€™s only loss prior to meeting Kollo/Oliver was to fellow Americans Maddison McKibbin/William Montgomery (10-21, 19-21) in the second of three main draw pool play matches. McKibbin/Montgomery lasted until the quarterfinals in the tournament.
Kollo/Venno earned the first medal for Estonia in this event while Carlson/Ciarelli picked the USAâ€™s second medal. The USAâ€™s Joseph Dykstra/Mark Van Zwieten won the also won the Silver Medal in 2005.
In the Bronze Medal match, Polandâ€™s Marek Leznicki of Kielce and Damian Wojtasik, of Sosnowiec, defeated Spainâ€™s Victor Bouza of Lugo and Jesus Castizo of Huelva, in two sets 21-17 and 21-12 in just 30 minutes. Breaking up a tight first set, Poland went up 15-9 before Spain closed the game twice at 14-17, 16-19 and 17-20 before Poland ended the set. With the score 11-8 in the second set, Poland pulled away from Spain to earn the Bronze Medal.
Leznicki/Wojtasik ended the event with an overall record of 6-1 while Bouza/Castizo left The Hague with a 4-3 final record on the Scheveningen centre court.
It was the sixth final four and fifth medal in the menâ€™s competition for Poland. Wojtasik finished fourth last year with a different partner. It was the first final four for Spain in the seven-year history of the SWATCH FIVB Youth World Championships.
This yearâ€™s SWATCH FIVB Youth World Championships were produced by Free Time Promotion of Den Hoorn, the Netherlands in association with the FIVB and the Nederlandse Volleyball Bond. It is being presented by RICOH.