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Dutch duo clinch Euro crown in front of home fans

Marleen van Iersel and Sanne Keizer celebrate their European title in The Hague
The Hague/Scheveningen, Netherlands, June 3, 2012 - Sanne Keizer and Marleen van Iersel were celebrating on Sunday afternoon after they powered to a speedy 2-0 (21-17, 21-11) win over Greece's Vasiliki Arvaniti and Maria Tsiartsiani to seal their first European Championship in front of their home fans in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The Dutch Volleyball community had definitely been longing for this moment since The Hague and namely the beach of Scheveningen was chosen to host this year’s European Championship. It was an “orange fiesta” on centre court on a cold but dry day, with the stands filled almost to full capacity as the home heroines capped off a memorable tournament.

Keizer and Van Iersel had met their Greek counterparts earlier on in the tournament, but the final was a tougher affair. They started well, gaining a four point lead and despite a fightback, they took the opening set.

Things turned were less complicated in the second when the orange girls broke away from 6-5 to 10-5 by profiting from the lethal serve of Van Iersel. However, the last word was yet to be said, as Greece stormed back to trail by only a couple of points (13:11) and Keizer/van Iersel decided to ask for a time-out to regroup and score the next eight points, wrapping it up.

It is the first senior European medal for Keizer and Van Iersel, after they sky-rocketed to the top of the FIVB rankings via a series of impressive results from stops on the SWATCH World Tour. They had failed to make it to the top four at the European Championships previously but became the first Dutch pair to clinch Europe’s crown.

“We just played a couple of perfect matches in the semis and today in the final," Van Iersel said. "I really hope that this gold medal will be a good omen for our Olympic campaign in London.”

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