It appears that even home-court advantage is not enough to topple the world’s No. 1 team Christian Sorum and Anders Mol of Norway.
At the 2019 CEV European Beach Volleyball Championships in Moscow, the young Norweigan team secured their second consecutive European crown and eighth gold medal of the 2018-19 season, defeating Konstantin Semenov and Ilya Leshukov of Russia 21-12, 21-18.
“It’s really fun to play the final and to play against Russia in Russia is also very special,” Sorum said. “We had a good match and it’s really amazing to win back-to-back European Championships.”
“We compliment each other very well,” Mol said. “I think that’s the secret.”
The silver medal is Semenov’s second in the European Championships, having finished runner-up with former partner Viacheslav Krasilnikov in 2016. For Leshukov, however, this marks his best finish to date at the top continental contest.
“In the first set, the Norwegians out-classed us in all the components of the game,” Leshukov said. “They were better at the service line, at reception, on block. They are currently the benchmark on how to be perfect at the block. ... Of course, we are upset, but at the same time we are glad that we were able to win silver medals.”
“We did a good job, we are pleased with what we showed,” Semenov ageed. “Of course, it would have been better to win gold, but we are happy also about grabbing the silver. We showed good Beach Volleyball, and we hope that the Moscow fans who were here today to support us are pleased with what they have seen.”
Austria’s Martin Ermacora and Moritz Pristauz-Telsnigg took home the bronze medal without playing a single point after their opponents Piotr Kantor and Bartosz Losiak chose to forfeit because of an ankle injury suffered by Kantor.
On Saturday, Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka succeeded in bringing home Latvia’s first-ever European women’s beach volleyball gold medal and their first senior-level international gold medal as a pair, winning their final over Katarzyna Kociolek and Kinga Wojtasik of Poland 22-20, 21-19.
The gold-medal match marked the second meeting between the two teams this week, with the Latvian duo also defeating the Polish pair in straight sets during pool play.
“Before coming to Moscow, I told my family our goal is to play in the final,” 22-year-old defender Kravcenoka said. “They laughed a bit, but obviously said that they support us and believe in us. Match after match we won and we started to believe in ourselves even more.”
“It feels like we accomplished a hard job,” blocker Graudina, a 21-year-old rising junior on the USC beach volleyball team, added. “At this moment we are still tired, but tomorrow or next week it will really hit us—we are European champions.”
Liliana Fernandez and Elsa Baquerizo of Spain defeated Joana Heidrich and Anouk Verge-Depre Switzerland 13-21, 21-15, 21-19 in the women’s bronze-medal match.
The results of the 2019 EuroBeachVolley tournament made one thing clear: the future of European beach volleyball is bright, and the future is now.