28/08/2013 21:00
Belarusian girls off to a flying start in Molodechno
2013 CEV U18 Beach Volleyball European Championship

Molodechno, Belarus, August 28, 2013. Even though the weather was not that good – there were clouds early in the morning before some light rain poured down – the opening day of the 2013 CEV U18 Beach Volleyball European Championship in Molodechno did set the tone for what is likely to turn into a very exciting run for the medals that will be at stake on Saturday.
Very much attention was drawn by the home heroines Viktoryia Shalayeuskaya (pictured) and Valeryia Babenka who have already claimed a spot for the knock-out stage after winning two matches in a row on Wednesday. They first beat Poland’s Agata Trybula/Angelika Niewinska with a double 21-18 before routing Serbia’s Sara Jovicic/Ana Krstic 21-17, 21-7. On Thursday the Belarusian girls will be playing Italy’s Michela Lantignotti and Federica Frasca for first place in their pool. Although they are still very young, Valeryia and Viktoryia have displayed excellent skills, with Shalayeuskaya controlling her emotions as she was playing before her fans and relatives being a native of the city of Molodechno. “We have been studying our opponents and their strengths, so we work out our tactics beforehand and this way we have been progressing and achieving good results” says their coach Sergey Danilov.  

Another Belarusian duo Anastasiya Kazachenka/Yana Mileuskaya was not very successful losing two matches in a row in pool E. They first were ousted by Czechs Karolina Valkova and Kristyna Adamcikova (19-21, 21-16, and 7-15) and later in the afternoon they suffered a straight defeat to France’s Aline Chamereau and Héléna Cazaute (19-21, 16-21).

Though their country has been the major force to be reckoned with in the last editions of the U18 European Championship, Trybula/Niewinska and Natalia Latkowska/Aleksandra Kwiatkowska of Poland finished the opening day with a negative record of 4 losses in as many matches they contested (two apiece).  

Coming down to the main contenders for the podium, Russia’s Nadezhda Makroguzova/Daria Rudykh and Germany’s Sarah Schneider/Leonie Welsch caught a very good start of their U18 European campaign as they won two matches in a row without conceding any set to their opponents.  

As for the boys, on Wednesday they played one game in their pool phase; Belarus Ilya Burau and Artsiom Kuzniatsou lost in straight sets to Austria’s Johannes Kratz and Lucas Skrabal (20-22, 17-21). The home guys showed their character but their opponents profited of their experience to claim the most important and deciding points of that game. The other Belarusian team, Pavel Vauchkevich and Uladzislau Drapchynski, also suffered a setback as they played Russia’s Oleg Stoyanovskiy and Artem Yarzutkin, winners of this year’s EEVZA U18 Championship (18-21, 15-21). The Russian guys are most probably going to be challenged by Poland’s Dominik Kmiecik and Jakub Macura on their way to gold; Kmiecik/Macura started out the tournament with a speedy win (21-16, 21-16) to edge another Russian pair, Ivan Novoselov/Maxim Sivolap.  

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