Men's competition, Stare Jablonki
From 21 July To 25 July 2004

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Norwegian Express Back on Track?
STARE JABLONKI, POLAND, July 23, 2004 - "Something had to start clicking for us," said Jorre Kjemperud after he and Vegard Hoidalen of posted a pair of Beach Volleyball victories here Friday during the opening rounds of the US$180,000 Mazury Open, presented by the Hotel Anders.

Playing in their 112th international event together, the Norwegians are now guaranteed their second top nine placement in 11 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour events this season after upsetting teams from Germany and Switzerland to advance to their first match Saturday against 13th-seeded Pedro Cunha and Pará Ferreira of Brazil.

"Except for a second in Portugal last month, this season has been a disaster for us," said Kjemperud. "We have had no luck. We gain an advantage in a match only to lose it at the end. Maybe today, we found something that works heading into the Olympics. We have been working hard, but we have nothing to show for it."

After the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Kjemperud and Hoidalen had become one of the more consistent teams on the SWATCH-FIVB World Tour. Prior to the start of this season, the Norwegians had posted top nine finishes in 26 of 34 events since the Bondi Beach Olympics.

Entering this weekend's event, Kjemperud and Hoidalen had placed 13th or lower in nine of their 10 SWATCH-FIVB World Tour starts this season by winning only 17 of 37 matches. This was after winning 60 of 100 matches the previous two seasons, including a 38-21 record last season.

"I hope the two wins today will give us some confidence," Kjemperud added. "We defeated two very good teams today that will be competing in the Olympics with us. The last four weeks have been especially disappointing since we lost several close matches. We have to look to the future now since our past few events have been dreadful."

After opening with a 21-19, 21-13 and 15-13 win in 58 minutes over 12th-seeded Christoph Dieckmann and Andrea Scheuerpflug, the Norwegians spent 51 minutes on the Hotel Anders sand to defeat the fifth-seeded Laciga brothers (Martin and Paul) of Switzerland 12-21, 21-18 and 21-19. The Lacigas had eliminated Kjemperud and Hoidalen in two of their last four tournaments in Berlin and Marseille.

Saturday's meeting with Cunha and Pará might be a "lucky" sign for the Norwegians, who defeated the Brazilians last month in Portugal (21-18 and 21-18). The win started their comeback through the contender's bracket to reach the finals in Espinho where Kjemperud and Hoidalen dropped a 21-12 and 22-20 decision to Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos in the gold medal match.

Cunha, a two-time under-21 FIVB champion, and Pará also posted an impressive win Friday in their second match as they defeated fourth-seeded Markus Dieckmann and Jonas Reckermann of Germany 12-21, 21-13 and 20-18 in 68 minutes. Cunha and Pará have posted a gold and bronze medal finish together in their first-season of competition together.