Austrian twins defeat U19 champions to top the pool in Larnaka
In a very close first set the Brazilians had the opportunity to claim it thrice, but the Strauss-sisters came back to win 23-21. In the second set Austria was trailing by four points, but levelled at 17-17 and moved on to claim top position in the pool at their second match point.
“Now that we won our group we have a better starting point in the single eliminations. That’s really important”, said Nadine.
“We thought it would be a very hard match”, said Teresa. “Because last year at the U19 World Championships we lost to them, but we wanted to give our all and are very happy. Not just about the result but also about the way we played.”
Even when they were trailing in the second set they never panicked. “We stayed calm when we were behind and only thought about the next point”, said Nadine.
And they handled the strong wind on Larnaka’s Finikoudes beach better than the Brazilians. Teresa: “In the winter we train in Tenerife and over there it’s also very windy. So maybe that was our key to winning.”
The 18-year old Strauss-twins finished 17th last year at the U21 and 5th at the U19. Since then they progressed a lot, the twins agreed upon. “We trained hard and I think it’s time for a medal now”, Teresa concluded.
Puerto Rico proud to reach knockout phase
In a pool with three teams from developing countries, Puerto Rico turned out to be the strongest. Gabriela Roman and Carola Biver Davila claimed fourth place and a ticket to the knockout phase.
“We are really happy, because Puerto Rico usually does not participate in these tournaments”, 19-year old Roman said.
“I am always proud to represent Puerto Rico. I am so excited and happy and really looking forward to learn from these experiences so we can do better in the future and really represent our country and let the world know that we have good beach volleyball.”
On Saturday they lost their final pool match to Austria’s Gschöpf/Gesslbauer (21-13, 21-15), but since they already defeated the teams from Costa Rica and St. Lucia they were safe.
“We made it to the second round, but we did not play like we know how to play”, Roman said after a disappointing match against Austria. “We made a lot of mistakes and the wind did not help us at all. That’s why we were complaining with each other. We have to talk after this match and calm down and relax. It’s just the adrenaline of the game. We are going to focus back for the next game.”
In the afternoon Roman and her 17-year old partner will start in the first elimination round. “We are going to give our best. We are going to fight and represent the best we can. We don’t care who’s on the other side of the net, we just play hard and try not to argue, cause that effects the chemistry and we lose the momentum.”
Roman already bettered her result at the U23 this year in Poland, where she finished 31st with Lina Bernier. Roman is a student at the Jacksonville University in Florida, in the United States, and takes part in the college beach volleyball programme.
USA’s Hughes and Claes, the U19 bronze medallists, attend the same programme at UCLA. In Larnaka they advanced to the second elimination round as pool winners.
Canada’s Bukovec/Miric, Germany’s Ittinger/Weiland, Dumbauskaite/Povalaityte from Lithuania and Swiss pair Betschart/Eiholzer also topped their pool. Russia’s Dabizha/Gorbunova and USA’s Knudsen/Strange advanced to the second round as best numbers two.
Both the first and second elimination round are played on Saturday. The quarterfinals, semifinals and medal matches are scheduled for Sunday.
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