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02/06/2017 10:12
San Marino secure historic GSSE women’s Beach Volleyball gold on home sand
2017 Games of the Small States of Europe

San Marino, June 1, 2017. After adding another victory to their record in the event, Debora Pini and Silvia Bulgarelli made sure they will take gold from the women’s Beach Volleyball competition at the 2017 Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE). The Sammarinese players will contest one more match against Malta on Friday, but with their fourth straight victory in as many matches, the gold medal will be theirs anyway.

On Thursday Pini and Bulgarelli stormed to a comprehensive 2-0 victory (21-4, 21-7) in their matchup with Iceland’s teenagers Matthildur Einarsdottir/Heida Elisabet Gunnarsdottir, the youngest players in the competition at 17 and 15 years of age. Should they lose their last match with Malta’s Dorianne Caruana Bonnici/Gertrude Zarb, Pini and Bulgarelli will anyway finish on top of the final standing – since they claimed the match with their closest opponents, the Cyprus team, earlier in the tournament.  

San Marino’s success continued in the women’s Volleyball tournament where the hosts beat Luxembourg 3-2 (25-15, 20-25, 19-25, 25-22, 15-8) to get closer to securing a spot on the podium. San Marino will now play Malta and Cyprus to complete their duties in the competition. “It was a tough fight especially because after taking the first set my players did not stick with the game plan we had agreed upon when preparing for this match,” San Marino head coach Luigi Morolli said. “We got nervous and we ended up struggling in reception and defence. We found back our game in the fourth set and we eventually emerged victorious at the tiebreak.”
In the other matches of the day, Cyprus easily beat Liechtenstein 3-0 (25-8, 25-16, 25-13) and Iceland routed Malta 3-0 as well (25-20, 25-22, 25-20). Cyprus lead the way with 8 points, followed by San Marino with six, with Iceland and Luxembourg having five apiece. On Friday Cyprus will take on Malta before Luxembourg play Iceland and later in the afternoon San Marino lock horns with Liechtenstein.

In the men’s Volleyball competition, Luxembourg claimed the ‘big match’ with Cyprus 3-2 (18-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-23) at the end of a marathon game and an epic comeback from two sets down. As a result, Luxembourg made it one step closer to retaining the title they won two years ago in Reykjavik. Monaco won the other match of the day beating Iceland 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-15).

Teams from Andorra, Luxembourg, Monaco and Liechtenstein progressed to the semis of the men’s Beach Volleyball competition. San Marino’s Paolo Paganelli and Simone Giorgetti ended up losing 9-21, 19-21 their last match in the pool to Andorra’s Genildo Cassiano Prado da Silva and Xavier Folguera, who remain the main favourites for the gold medal. The home heroes still have some regrets for the match they lost to Luxembourg on Wednesday after leading for one set and a half. “Beach Volleyball requires experience and you have to play a number of tournaments to develop the right chemistry within the team, both technically and tactically,” a disappointed Paganelli commented. “Simone and I have been playing for one year only and we gave our best. We are sorry we could not make it to the next round of the competition, especially because we wanted to provide the audience with something to cheer about. It has been a truly emotional experience to play before friends and family and this tournament definitely helped us raise our level.”
Luxembourg’s Christophe Lazzarin and Tom Meres took the other spot in the semis from Pool A after beating Montenegro’s Marko Bagaric/Andrej Bojic 2-1. The teams advancing from Pool B to the semis are Liechtenstein Manuel Gahr/Maximilian von Deichmann and Monaco’s Michael Chamy/Franck Gopcevic.

For further information visit the official website

Click here for a comprehensive gallery of the Volleyball and Beach Volleyball competitions

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