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02/06/2017 23:31
San Marino and Andorra take Beach Volleyball top honours at GSSE
2017 Games of the Small States of Europe

San Marino, June 2, 2017. The next-to-last day of the 2017 Games of the Small States of Europe coincided with a real party for hosts San Marino as their women’s Beach Volleyball team – Debora Pini and Silvia Bulgarelli – celebrated a historic gold medal after completing a clean sweep of their matches. They did so even though they had already secured the gold medal on Thursday following their match with Iceland – but remained focused to beat also Dorianne Caruana Bonnici/Gertrude Zarb of Malta 2-0 (21-15, 21-16).

Pini and Bulgarelli won five straight matches in the tournament. “It feels great to have a gold medal around your neck,” they said. “It pays back the hard work we have been putting into this for quite some time. Only after closing the match with Iceland we realised that we had won the tournament even though after beating Cyprus and Monaco, we knew that we had done most of the work.”

Their coach Matteo Galli was visibly happy too: “The girls have been great, especially in the match with Cyprus where they trailed in the first set. After that, they improved with each match; they did not only win five matches in a row, but they also did not concede any set to their opponents.”

Pini/Bulgarelli stood on top of the podium on Friday night with Cyprus Mariota Angelopoulou/Manolina Konstantinou and Monaco Magalie Muratore/Caroline Revel Chion settling for silver and bronze, respectively.

In the men’s Beach Volleyball competition, Genildo Cassiano Prado da Silva/Xavier Folguera of Andorra retained the gold medal they won two years ago in Reykjavik after beating Manuel Gahr/Maximilian von Deichmann of Liechtenstein 2-1 (17-21, 21-15, 15-11) in the ‘grand finale’ of the tournament. Michael Chamy/Franck Gopcevic of Monaco completed the podium after a closely fought bronze medal match where they beat Christophe Lazzarin/Tom Meres of Luxembourg (2-1; 14-21, 21-13, 15-13).

The women’s national team of San Marino rallied to a 3-0 victory in their penultimate match with Liechtenstein (25-22, 25-18, 25-17) with only the first set being a close affair. Cyprus beat Malta 3-0 and Luxembourg emerged victorious from a five-set match with Iceland to complete the programme of the day. With one round still to go, Cyprus lead the way in the standing on 11 points followed by San Marino and Luxembourg on nine and seven, respectively. If San Marino beat Cyprus 3-0 or 3-1 on Saturday, the hosts will seize gold – but if they lose by the same score and depending on the results of the matches involving Luxembourg and Iceland, San Marino could also miss out on the podium.

San Marino men’s national team beat Iceland 3-1 (22-25, 29-27, 25-12, 25-16) after dissipating as many as six set balls in the second set where the hosts had rallied to a 23-17 lead. Luxembourg further cemented their leadership in the tournament following a 3-0 victory over Monaco. On Saturday Cyprus will take on Monaco and Luxembourg will play San Marino to complete the programme of the competition.

For further information visit the official website

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

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