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Lithuania and Russia win EEVZA gold in St. Petersburg

The EEVZA Beach Volleyball Tour event took place at the Sestroretsk resort near St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, Russia, August 25, 2014 - One of the last stops of the 2014 EEVZA Beach Volleyball Tour ended on Sunday at the resort area of St. Petersburg in Russia. In a tense fight and not the best weather conditions, the Sestroretsk sand saw celebrations by teams from Lithuania and Russia.

On the last game day, the semifinal and the final matches were played on the central court of the Dubkovsky beach stadium. Despite optimistic weather forecasts, wind and rain were on the way for both players and spectators, who were able to watch beach volleyball of high European level for the first time in seven years.

The level of play was high, with two teams from Ukraine qualifying for the final four of the women's competition. The favourites, however, remained duos from Russia and Lithuania and there were no surprises in the end. Julia Abalakina/Ksenia Dabizha and Eve Dumbauskayte/Monica Povilaytite met in the final match for the gold medal, after defeating their rivals from Ukraine without too much difficulty. Unfortunately, the final was also one-sided - the FIVB U21 World Championship runners-up beat the girls from Moscow in three straight sets and won their second EEVZA gold of the season.

"We are very pleased to win here in Russia.  It so happens that we lost the last two finals we played. We had lost the confidence that has now returned thanks to this success. Thanks to the organizers, the CEV and EEVZA for such a wonderful tournament.  I am pleased to be back in St. Petersburg again," said Eve Dumbauskayte, after the victory.

In the men's tournament, the main battle took place during the semifinals. At the start, two pairs from Latvia gave the audience a entertaining match, where the winner was determined by a tie-breaker. Two Toms - Smedins and Benjavs, showed more character and more luck in the decisive fifth set. In the second semifinal, to the delight of the local fans, who despite the rain remained on the stands, Maxim Hudyakov/Yuri Bogatov were able to beat the Belarusian duo Alexander Dedkov/Alexander Kovalenko in another difficult five-set match. For a long time, the initiative in the match was in the hands of the Belarusians, but the Russian volleyballers won their match point and earned a ticket to the final.

As in the women’s tournament, the men's final was rapidly decided.  The weather ove the Gulf of Finland improved for the final, but Hudyakov/Bogatov defeated the athletes from Latvia in less than 30 minutes to win the gold medals.

"This season is not easy for us. Very often we had to play in different combinations.  Therefore, this victory is very important for us as a team," Maxim Hudyakov commented after the final.

The bronze medals in the competition went to Ukraine’s Mulenko/Makhno and Dedkov/Kovalenko of Belarus. The winners received prizes in addition to 280 points towards their FIVB/CEV rankings.

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