Latvian qualifiers upset home team Losiak/Bryl to top the pool
Both teams were unbeaten so far, but the Latvians proved to be the stronger team, winning 2-0 (21-17, 21-15).
“We started from qualification and now we are first in the pool, I think it’s great”, 20-year old Buivids said. “We had to play qualification because last year in CEV U22 our country played very bad, so that’s why we did not get a spot in main draw.”
Buivids and his 21-year old partner did not play at the U23 last year and their best result so far was 9th at the U21 in Umag in 2013, while Losiak won the U23 with Piotr Kantor last year.
“We hoped for this result, but we just needed to play and show our best game. I think we can play very good”, said Buivids about their preparation. “They had a lot of mistakes in serving and I think we almost played a 100 percent side-out and I think that was the key in winning. And good discipline in block-defence.”
Latvians more attuned
After winning the first set, the Latvians took a lead again in the second. Poland came back to level at 10-10 due to some strong serving by Losiak, including two aces, but the first seeded Polish were not consistent enough to keep up with the more attuned Latvians. At their first match point Buivids and Reinis secured the win and a passage to the second elimination round.
Although they did not make a lot of mistakes, Reinis thinks there is room for improvement. “We had some problems in the second set. We started to relax and had problems concentrating. Then we had bad reception and bad setting and made some stupid mistakes.”
Buivids recently made his debut on the World Tour at the side of veteran Ruslans Sorokins. His best result so far was 17th place at the Fuzhou and Anapa Open. This experience helped him improve his game.
“I started to prepare for the beach volleyball season early February and it really helped, playing these tournaments against those big guys. It was really a good experience. I will continue to play in World Tour with Ruslans.”
Losiak and Bryl will probably play in the first elimination round Friday afternoon, although they still have a chance of a bye if they are among the best two runners-up out of the six pools.
The Polish players were put together at the last moment, since Losiak’s partner Kantor injured his knee. “Me and Michal Bryl have been playing together for a short time, but that’s not an excuse”, said Losiak.
“We have to play hard every game, no matter what. Our loss today is probably caused by the fact we had to play against a more difficult opponent. The previous games were really easy, because the teams we played didn’t present very complicated volleyball.”