CEV Beach Volelyball Continental Cup 2014-2016

Press release

Belgium and Austria win ‘Golden Matches’ to play for ticket to Rio

Austria's Alexander Huber and Robin Seidl celebrate their 'Golden Match' victory over Russia in the semis of the CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Final

Stavanger, Norway, June 25, 2016 - Austria and Belgium will be clash for a coveted spot at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s beach volleyball competition tournament as the 2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Final in Stavanger reaches its conclusion.

Austria and Belgium won ‘Golden Matches’ to edge Russia and Spain, respectively and progress to the last stage of the competition. Tom van Walle and Dries Koekelkoren of Belgium won their third ‘Golden Match’ in as many days on Saturday after they edged Greece and Norway in previous rounds by means of the extra match. 

As for Austria, Alexander Huber and Robin Seidl came from behind to beat Russian ‘brand new’ duo Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Nikita Liamin who played their first match together in an effort to secure progression to the ‘grand finale’ for their team.

Third ‘Golden Match’ win for Belgium

Tom van Walle and Dries Koekelkoren put on another show to stamp a 21-16, 21-17 victory in their ‘Golden Match’ with Spain’s no. 1 team Francisco Alfredo Marco and Christian Garcia. This was a far more convincing performance for the Belgians comparing it to their stellar performance with Cesar Menendez and Francisco Tomas earlier in the day.

“Yes, it went really well,” van Walle said. “Maybe that is because we knew this Spanish team a lot better than the other one, we played them and beat them before today’s game. 

"We had worked with our coaching staff on a tactical plan and I think we executed it pretty well, even though the Spaniards hit quite a lot of short diagonal shots and we had some problems in dealing with these,” he continued. “We had to wait pretty long for this match to take place, maybe the break was a little too long, some six hours or so, but still good enough to rest, recover and re-focus after the tough match we had earlier today.”

On Sunday a ticket to the Olympics, any athlete’s ultimate dream, will be at stake in the final with Austria. 

“Of course we really want to go for it. We know that the excitement is now mounting back home in Belgium. 

"Many people and especially the media have been speculating for a while about our chances to qualify to the Olympics, but initially we did not pay much attention to that, because we know that we have started very late and this is only the first full season for us on the tour. However, now that we are so close to the achievement of this goal, we definitely want to seize the day,” van Walle said.

And their thoughts on another ‘Golden Match’ in as many days? “We will be supporting our second team as much as possible, but we know that we can’t really count on a victory over the top team from Austria. And if there is a ‘Golden Match’ to play, we’ll be ready for it,” he concluded.

David edges Goliath in Austria v Russia matchup

The first of two ‘Golden Matches’ on schedule for Saturday night turned into a ‘David v Goliath’ clash after the Russian coaching staff decided to mix their pairs up with the 203 cm tall Nikita Liamin teaming up with Oleg Stoyanovskiy (205 cm) in an effort to claim a spot in the CEV Continental Cup final.

Their combined effort produced a 21-15 win in the opening set of the match-up with Alexander Huber and Robin Seidl, in what looked like a real show of strength by the Russian unusual tandem – with Liamin leaving Stoyanovskiy to most of the blocking duty.

However, the course of the match changed quite dramatically in the second set as Huber and Seidl finally found a way through the Russian block and pulled out a 21-14 win. The Austrians controlled the tie-break to claim the win 15-7, with their triumph sealed by a Russian service error. The victory was celebrated together with teammates Thomas Kunert and Christoph Dressler who literally jumped down from the stands to congratulate their friends on such impressive achievement.

“Together with our coaches we had agreed on a well-defined game plan for this match and we knew exactly what we had to do in order to beat the Russians. However, it did not quite work the way we wished in the opening set," The 179 cm tall Alexander ‘Xandi’ Huber commented after the win. "Our tactics finally paid off in the second set and in the tie-break as well. Was I scared because of the big hits killed by the Russians? Not that much, especially after my teammate – who is also a lot smaller than they are at 190 cm – found a way to block them, so in a way he protected me.”

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