Victoria Bieneck and Isabell Schneider has reason to celebrate after becoming the first ever FIVB U23 world champions
Myslowice, Poland, June 9 – Victoria Bieneck and Isabell Schneider had to fight back from losing the first set to become the inaugural FIVB U23 Beach Volleyball world champions.
The Germans beat Brazilian pair Eduarda Santos Lisbao and Thais Rodrigues Ferreira 2-1 (21-19, 12-21, 15-13) in the gold medal match. They pushed the South Americans hard throughout the first set, but Santos Lisboa and Rodrigues Ferreira held on.
“I think that wasn’t our best game, but it was a final and everybody wants to win,” Bieneck said. “It was a long tournament and we are feeling it in our legs, but of course we are happy that we won.”
Bieneck and Schneider responded strongly and came out in determined mood at the start of the second set. They won the first point and used that momentum to keep them ahead for the rest of the set.
By the time of the tie-break both teams were showing the effects of a long tournament and two matches in hot, still conditions today. The Germans were first to match point at 14-12 and while the Brazilians saved one, they were unable to stop Schneider from scoring the winning point with a fearsome smash.
“The first set we didn’t play as well as we could and I knew that if we improved we could win," Schneider said. "We came back after we tried some new ideas. The tie-break then is just a fight.”
Canadians celebrate bronze
In the bronze medal match the Canadian pair Melissa Humana-Paredes and Taylor Pischke endured another tie-break, but held on to win 2-1 (19-21, 21-15, 16-14). In the tie-break they appeared to be on their way to winning comfortably, but the Czechs called a time-out when they were down 11-7 and mounted a comeback.
Humana-Paredes and Pischke rediscovered their rhythm though and after letting one match point slip, won the bronze medals on their second when Pischke hit a winning spike.
It was a remarkable achievement considering that this is their first tournament of the year together as the pair are at university in different parts of Canada and can only train once the academic year is over.
“It was a really, really good game and they played really, really well and we played really, really well and it came down to withstanding the pressure and the heat,” Humana-Paredes said. “The first didn’t go our way, but we came back strong.”
Thirty-two teams per gender took place in the main draw of the inaugural FIVB U23 Beach Volleyball World Championships. The main draw started on June 6 and the tournament ran through until Sunday, June 9 when both the men’s and women’s finals took place.
Myslowice, located 70km from Poland’s ancient capital Krakow, is hosting an FIVB age-group tournament for the third time, after successfully hosting the U19 and U21 version in 2006 and 2007.