Umag, Croatia, June 22-23, 2019.
The Pool G matches of the 2018-2020 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup started on Saturday at the iconic Stella Maris beach in Umag where teams from six nations are hoping to make their first step towards qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
On the men’s side, Denmark secured first place in the pool after claiming a Golden Match with Estonia, where Kristoffer Abell/Martin Trans Hansen (pictured) proved to be the winning combination for the Scandinavians. On Saturday, they first beat Croatia’s Marin Jerčić/Andrej Štorc, before securing a victory over Estonia’s Dimitriy Korotkov/Mihkel Tanila, on their way to the Golden Match against Kusti Nõlvak and Mart Tiisaar.
After Denmark secured first place on the men’s side the day before, Albania and hosts Croatia battled it out for the final spot in the decisive 2nd and 3rd place clash against Estonia. Marin Jerčić/Andrej Štorc proved to be tough opponents for Albanian duo Redjo Koci/Amarildo Deliu, while Josip Pribanić/Jegor Zhukouski secured Croatia progression by beating Arapi Adri and Osman Qepa in straight sets.
Much to the disappointment of the home crowd, the final ticket to the next round went to Estonia, as they beat the hosts in both matches. Firstly, Kusti Nolvak/Mart Tiisaar won against Jerčić/Štorc, and then duo Dimitriy Korotkov/Mihkel Tanila took the crucial win against Pribanić/Zhukouski 2-0 (21-15, 21-15).
In the women’s final match of their three team pool, Lithuania beat Romania in both matches, after Urte Andriukaityte/Vytene Vitkauskaite won 2-0 (21-15, 22-20) against the Romanian pair Adriana Sorina Raileanu/Adina Stanciu, while their teammates Ieva Dumbauskaite and Irina Zobnina played three tough sets against Beata Vaida and Ioana-Alexandra Ordean, coming out on top 2-1 (13-21, 21-19, 15-10). Although with both teams having beaten Croatia the day before, they were already confirmed as having a spot in the next phase.
Croatian player Valentina Vrbanc summarised the tournament in a few words: “Despite yesterday’s bad weather conditions, we have seen some excellent Beach Volleyball matches here in Umag. Unfortunately, for us the tournament ended yesterday after we lost both of our matches and so were confirmed as finishing third. In the first match against today’s winners Lithuania, we made quite a lot of errors and we did not show our best, while against the Romanian girls we played a good match, but we lacked some luck and so lost both sets tightly.”
MOK UMAG-CPM UMAGO