CEV Beach Volelyball Continental Cup 2014-2016

Press release

Ukraine cause sensation to set up Dutch duel in CEV Continental Cup women’s final

Ukraine's Valentyna Davidova (right) and Ievgeniia Shchypkova erupt in joy following their qualification to the 'grand finale' of the CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup in Stavanger, Norway

Stavanger, Norway, June 24, 2016 - Valentyna Davidova and Ievgeniia Shchypkova added another chapter to their fairy tale at the CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Final in Stavanger by securing Ukraine’s place in the ‘grand finale’ of the tournament taking place in what is known as Norway’s Beach Volleyball capital. 

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Rio 2016 Olympic Games

On Saturday Ukraine will play the Netherlands for a coveted ticket to this summer’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Austria and the Czech Republic will play for third place but no matter what the result will be, both teams will be travel to Sochi in two weeks’ time to contest the FIVB World Continental Cup Olympic Qualification on July 6-10. No beach volleyball team from Ukraine has ever competed at the Olympics since the sport was added to the programme at Atlanta 1996, so the Ukrainian ladies will be trying to achieve something truly historic when they contest the final with the ‘Oranjes’ on Saturday. 

Austrian beach volleyball stars Stefanie Schwaiger and Barbara Hansel have a wealth of experience to rely on and this was instrumental in their 2-1 victory over Ukrainian twins Inna and Iryna Makhno (21-19, 19-21, 15-12) in a match that was nevertheless a lot more competitive than many had predicted. Schwaiger and Hansel claimed an early 4-1 lead in the tie-break but asked for a time-out after the Makhnos closed in at 8-6. 

The Ukrainians fought as much as they could through to the end but Schwaiger and Hansel eventually had the upper hand to secure Austria’s first point in the semis. 

It finally stopped raining and the sun eventually came out – though only for a little while – towards the end of a dramatic second set in the matchup between Katharina Schützenhöfer/Lena Plesiutschnig and Valentyna Davidova/Ievgeniia Shchypkova. Ukraine’s sensation comfortably won the opening set 21-15 but the next one was a lot more exciting and dramatic. 

The gold medal winners of the 2016 EEVZA Moscow Masters and CEV Satellite in Vilnius needed as many as nine match balls before sealing their 33-31 win – along cancelling four set balls along the way for the gold medallists from the 2011 U20 European Championship. As a result, Davidova and Shchypkova extended their winning streak in Norway’s Beach Volleyball capital to four matches to further cement their status as rising Beach Volleyball power. 

Later in the evening and to cap off a long competition day in Stavanger, Davidova and Shchypkova defeated 2013 European champion Schwaiger and 2011 European silver medal winner Hansel, their opponents in the ‘Golden Match’ that was to determine the eventual winner of the semifinal. 

The Ukrainians comfortably won the opening set 21-17 and it looked like the fate of the match was written after they cruised to a 20-17 lead in the second. However, there was some extra drama at the end of the day in Stavanger – the Ukrainians failed to capitalise on three match balls as Schwaiger recorded two service winners in a row and drew level at 20-all. Hansel and Schwaiger also missed out on two set balls before the Ukrainians closed it out at 24-22 for another sensational victory – their fifth in Stavanger. 

“We just can’t believe it,” an emotional Davidova said after the match. “It’s kind of unreal, we can’t fully understand what we have done, it’s like a dream come true. We have already gone beyond all expectations as we did not think that we could go this far in this tournament. As for tomorrow’s final with the Netherlands, it’s difficult to say something – but one thing is for sure: we will be fighting through to the end as much as we have done in all other matches we have contested so far here in Stavanger.”

Their achievement is truly remarkable no matter what the result will be on Saturday since they teamed up only last year and contested their first international event in October 2015 – before earlier this month they started making a name of themselves by winning both the EEVZA Moscow Masters and the CEV Satellite held in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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