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Lithuania and Russia on course to clash for top position in pool E

Lithuania's Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte will play Russia for top position in pool E
Larnaka, Cyprus, July 25, 2014 - With four straight wins each Ieva Dumbauskaite and Monika Povilaityte from Lithuania and Russia’s Ksenia Dabizha and Anna Gorbunova will clash on Saturday for top position in pool E at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U21 World Championships in Larnaka.

Dumbauskaite and Povilaityte defeated Roman/Biver (21-12, 21-7) from Puerto Rico and Costa Rica’s Gonzalez/Arias (21-11, 21-8) on Friday. Their other two pool matches against Austria and St. Lucia on Thursday were easy wins too, so the Lithuanian girls have not been really tested yet.

“It was a really good draw for us, Russia not included”, Dumbauskaite said after their match against Costa Rica. “Russia is a strong team. We have played this team a few times in the season and we know each other really well. It’s nice that we have a game against them tomorrow, for top position in the group.”

It is a good feeling to win with big numbers, said Dumbauskaite, but it did not really prepare them for the rest of the tournament. “That’s why our coach is a bit scared. Now we have won 21-7, but next we will get USA or Poland and that is not a very good preparation. But we will have Russia tomorrow and that is going to be a good match.”

The two 19-year olds have been playing fulltime beach volleyball together since 2011 and won gold before in Larnaka, at the U19 World Championships in 2012.

Last year Dumbauskaite and Povilaityte represented their country at the World Championships (37th) and since then entered some World Tour events as well, with a 9th place finish in Anapa this year being their best result. It helped them gain a lot of confidence.

“Yes, that has been really good for us”, Dumbauskaite said. “Because in Opens you have the opportunity to play against Brazil, Czech Republic or Germany. The serving for example is much stronger than here, so it’s easier to play here now.”

Asked about their gold medal two years ago in Larnaka, she said. “We have perfect memories of this place, because it’s was the highest career win for us. We love this place, everything is very good here. It’s really nice to be here again.”

Russia likes Larnaka too

Dabizha and Gorbunova also have fond memories of Larnaka. They won a bronze medal two years ago at the U19 World Championships in Cyprus. “It’s nice to be back in Larnaka, it’s a nice place”, Dabizha said. Last year 18-year old Gorbunova claimed another U19 medal in Porto (silver) with Nadezda Makroguzova.

On Friday the Russian girls added two more wins to their pool list. They overpowered Gonzalez/Arias (21-9, 21-5) and Austria’s Gschöpf//Gesslbauer (21-11, 21-12). “We are happy with the way we played so far”, Dabizha said. “They were easy matches, but all games are very important for us.”

About their well-known opponents in the final pool match, she said: “I think we play on the same level. We can win, they can win, I could not tell you the result. But for the tournament I think we have a good chance for a medal, to make a good result.”

Pool D will also feature a match for top position on Saturday. Both Brazil’s Eduarda/Taina, the reigning U19 champions, and the Austrian Strauss-twins booked four straight wins so far.

Betschart/Eiholzer from Switzerland and USA’s Hughes/Claes, bronze medallists at the 2013 U19’s, are also still without set loss. The top four of each pool advances to the elimination phase, the pool winners get a bye in the first round.


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