FIVB Beach Volleyball U23 World Championship

Press release

China and Austria pool winners in Sochi

Katharina Schützenhöfer (left) and Stefanie Schwaiger claimed the pool win for Austria in a golden set against Vanuatu

Sochi, Russia, July 8, 2016 – China and Austria topped their pool on Friday at the FIVB World Continental Cup Olympic Qualifier and are one win away from the Rio Olympic Games. Both pools wins were decided with a golden set. China defeated the Czech Republic, while Austria toppled Vanuatu.

Both teams now advance directly to the semifinals on Sunday. They will play the winners of Saturday’s cross quarterfinals between the numbers two and three in the pools for a ticket to the Copacabana beach.

China started the day with a tough 2-0 win over host country Russia. Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia won 2-1 (18-21, 21-17, 15-13) against Evgenia Ukolova and Anastasia Barsuk, ChunXia Chen and Ningya Tang beat Ekaterina Birlova and Nadezda Makroguzova 2-1 (22-20, 17-21, 15-13).

In the afternoon Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia prolonged their unbeaten status with a 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) win over Czech team Kristyna Kolocova and Michala Kvapilova, but Chen and Tang lost to Marketa Slukova and Barbora Hermannova (15-21, 26-24, 10-15).

In the late evening Chen Xue and Xinyi Xia claimed the pool win in the golden set, winning 15-9 versus Slukova and Hermannova. “It was a long day”, Chen Xue said. “We woke up at six and now we just finished our last play at eight-thirty in the evening. So it’s nice to have a day off now. We will start with sleeping in late.”

Their form is improving by the day and they are confident for the final match on Sunday, she said. “We play better and better. Every game we play better than the last one.”

If China claims the Olympic ticket Chen Xue, who won bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and finished fourth in London in 2012 with Zhang Xi, and her new partner Xinyi Xia are the lucky ones to go to Rio. There are no hard feelings from the other Chinese pair, Ningya Tang said.

“Because we are so young and she is so experienced. I think if we get the ticket, she is the best one to represent us. For us it’s a good opportunity to play Olympic qualification, with all this pressure. And if we can help them to get the ticket, it’s perfect.”

Austria makes a surprise move
Austria had only one match on Friday, against Vanuatu, who beat Colombia 2-1 earlier in the day.

Youngsters Katharina Schützenhöfer and Lena Plesiutschnig lost the first match 2-0 (14-21, 19-21) versus Vanuatu’s number one team, Miller Pata and Linline Matauatu. Stefanie Schwaiger and Barbara Hansel defeated Joe Loti and Sherysyn Toko (21-16, 21-14) to even the score.

For the golden set the Austrian coach decided to mix up the teams and showed up with Stefanie Schwaiger and Katharina Schützenhöfer. It turned out to be a great move, since they defeated Pata and Matauatu 15-12.

“After our games the coach asked us who felt good and wanted to play. So we decided this together”, two-time Olympian Schwaiger said. “And this was actually a good choice.”

Asked how they handle all the qualification stress, Schwaiger said. “We will prepare like normal, we have a routine. One and a half hour before we decide on our tactics, then we go to the court, warm-up and get our rhythm, so we don’t get stressed. If we don’t focus we will lose. So let’s try to get that focus and all four try our best.”

Quick links:
FIVB World Continental Cup Olympic Qualification - Website
Men - Results/Schedule
Women - Results/Schedule

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