FIVB Beach Volelyball Continental Cup 2014-2016

Press release

Van Gestel/van der Vlist book Dutch ticket to Rio


The Dutch ladies celebrate their triumph at the CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Final in Stavanger, Norway

Stavanger, Norway, June 25, 2016 - As many as four beach volleyball teams – two per gender – will represent the Netherlands at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after the ‘Oranjes’ claimed the 2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup Final in Stavanger, Norway on Saturday. 

Sophie van Gestel and Jantine van der Vlist ended the winning streak of Ukraine’s Valentyna Davidova and Ievgeniia Shchypkova, the sensation of the tournament, by claiming the ‘Golden Match’ (16-21, 21-15, 15-9) that capped off four days of exciting competition in Norway’s beach volleyball capital.

Ukraine were forced to settle for second place with the podium completed by the Czech Republic earlier on Saturday afternoon they beat Austria by two wins to none. Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Austria will join hosts Russia as well as the runners-up and bronze medal teams from the other Continental Cup Finals for the final stage of the Olympic qualification process due to take place on July 6-10 in Sochi.

Sophie van Gestel and Jantine van der Vlist opened the programme with an easy 21-13, 21-12 victory over Ukrainian twins Inna and Iryna Makhno. The Dutch duo set the pace from start to end in the opening set and they continued in the same style also in the second – after cruising to a 10-2 lead, it was becoming obvious they would take the first clash. Complacency creeped into their match slightly, but their dominance was never to be questioned and it eventually resulted in a compelling victory.

“I think we started very aggressive and this set the tone of the match,” van der Vlist commented. “We lost focus at some point in the second set because we were leading so comfortably that our minds flew away, we maybe started thinking too much about Rio because we felt like our ultimate goal was getting within our reach.” 

Van der Vlist was undoubtedly the player of the match: “Yes, I think this was my best performance this week, and it feels really good to be able to say that I somehow saved the best for the final.”

Next up were Valentyna Davidova and Ievgeniia Shchypkova, the surprise package of the tournament, who had to win their match-up with Jolien Sinnema and Rimke Braakman in order to keep Ukraine’s Olympic dream alive. Davidova and Shchypkova did not let the pressure get to them and played with the same consistency they showed since the very beginning of the tournament. The first set was a close affair with both teams completing their side-out, but even though Sinnema/Braakman claimed a narrow margin at 19-18, three points in a row – including two mistakes from Braakman – finished the set 21-19 for the Ukrainians. The second set was less exciting as the Ukrainians secured a small lead early on and even though the Dutch closed in at 16-15, Davidova and Shchypkova did not lose composure and produced a 5-1 run to close it out 21-16 and extend the tie to a ‘Golden Match’.

Dutch golden in Norway
Less than one and a half hours later, Davidova and Shchypkova played the decisive match of the entire week with the eventual winners securing a ticket to Rio. The Ukrainians seemed to have taken momentum from their previous match and did not look fatigued at all as they dictated the tempo from start to end of the opening set, this resulting in a 21-16 win. However, the ‘Oranjes’ fought their way back in the second set with van Gestel serving strong to compensate for the service mistakes she had made in the previous frame. Van Gestel and van der Vlist levelled the match (21-15) and a run of seven straight points which moved the score from 2-2 to 9-2 in the tie-break went a long way to determining the final outcome of the match. Even though Davidova and Shchypkova surged back to score six points against two for the Dutchwomen to close in at 8-11, it was too late to make up for the deficit they had and van Gestel/van der Vlist closed the match out 15-9.

“It’s an amazing feeling and I can hardly put my emotions into words,” van der Vlist said. “It’s a dream come true. I would like to thank the other girls on the team [Sinnema and Braakman] because they played really good this week and much credit for our eventual qualification to the Olympics should go to them as well. It was a team effort and team victory.”

Czechs claim third place to finish their campaign on high note

Since Russia did not make the top four of the tournament and will be hosting the very last stage of the Olympic qualification process in early July, the second, third and fourth-placed sides emerging from the Continental Cup Final were all going to make the trip to Sochi. Though the journey to Russia’s seaside resort was no longer at stake, the players of the Czech Republic looked extremely motivated in their third-place tie with Austria and eventually succeeded in finishing their ‘Norwegian campaign’ on a high note.

2016 European silver medallists Marketa Slukova and Barbora Hermannova comfortably claimed their match with Katharina Schützenhöfer and Lena Plesiutschnig, pulling out a 21-19, 21-15 victory in 38 minutes.

Though they had lost all of their previous matches in Stavanger this week, Kristyna Kolocova and Michala Kvapilova saved their best performance for the final day – and they produced a 21-19, 21-17 victory over Austria’s top team Stefanie Schwaiger and Barbara Hansel to ensure the Czech team would finish the competition in third place.

“Actually we very much wanted to play the same way we did today also earlier in the tournament,” Kolocova said. “We were extremely unhappy with our performance here in Stavanger but luckily today it all worked just fine. The Continental Cup is a one-of-a-kind competition. Usually, at any other tournament, when you lose you’re out, but here we kept on playing because the results of the other Czech team count as well. As a result, since we lost match after match, it kind of felt weird to have to play again and again. However, today we felt no pressure at all since we are not the Czech team that would eventually go to the Olympics, so we just went out and tried to play the best we could. We have been playing together for a couple of months only, since Michala played indoors up until the end of April, but now we are planning to stick together, play tournament after tournament and hopefully we will keep on improving,” she concluded.


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