19/03/2016 20:52
Poles and Italians dominate on Wagrain-Kleinarl’s sunny snow courts
2016 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour

Wagrain-Kleinarl, Austria, March 19, 2016. Loads of sunshine and just the right amount of wind to keep everybody cool during the hot battles shortly summarise the first competition day in Wagrain-Kleinarl, where the second stop of the 2016 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour is taking place this weekend.

The conditions at the Ski Area Wagrain in Ski Amadé could not have been any more perfect for the exciting matches that took place on Saturday to determine the eight men’s and four women’s teams, which will continue their quest for the medals on Sunday.
Although only four teams made it to the women’s round robin, as many as five nations will actually be represented on the snow courts on Sunday. The two top-seeded duos, Italy’s Greta Cicolari/Giulia Toti and the Italian-and-German mixed pair Alice Concas/Dalila D'Orazio did not allow any surprises and made it through the main bracket without dropping any sets. Wild cards Tjaša Žagar/Klara Omovšek from Slovenia, seeded in position 5, lost only one game, to Cicolari and Toti in the third round, but then rebounded off the losers’ bracket to join the final four.

The other pair that made it to Sunday’s final phase through the losers’ bracket was the mixed team from Germany and Poland consisting of Michaela Bertalanitsch and Marta Swiechowska.  They started off with a loss to Žagar/Omovšek and then had to take the longest possible way back into contention, but managed to win three matches in a row to survive for the big battles on Sunday.

Michaela and Marta actually play on the same indoor Volleyball team and after their season in the first German Bundesliga finished they decided to stay on as teammates on the snow.  “We decided to do something different and interesting and we are having such a great time here. The weather, the atmosphere, the people, the organisation – everything is really, really amazing. Compared to last year, the level of the game is also higher,” Marta said.  “Yes, the level is really good and we are really happy to qualify for tomorrow,” Michaela agreed. “I think the games against the other three teams tomorrow will be very good.” The four duos will play a single round robin, after which the bottom two will face each other for the bronze and the top two will battle it out for the gold medal.

There was a real Polish domination on the men’s side as all three of Poland’s pairs made it directly to the final eight with two victories each and combined dropping only a single set along the way. Top-seeded Michal Matyja/Bartlomiej Podgorski, third-seeded Wojciech Luboń/Pawel Ciula and fourth-seeded Maciej Klimas/Kamil Łyczko impressed the crowd with their fighting spirit and deservedly qualified for the group stage. To keep the surprises at bay, so did the second-seeded duo Florian Schnetzer/Michael Leeb from Austria. The home favourites won both their games and celebrated their success with a relaxing dip in the hot tub near the centre court.

“The qualification day on Saturday is always difficult,” commented Florian Schnetzer. “We have many teams playing, but only eight of them advance. This time the sets are played only to eleven points, so everything happens really quickly and you have to be focussed from the very first rally in order to win the set. I think my partner and I did a really good job today. We played two good matches and managed to save some energy for tomorrow to fight for the title. I am positive that we will give our best on the court and I hope in the end we will be lucky to stand on the podium, maybe on the top of it.”

The other four men’s teams that managed to survive the bumpy road in the losers’ bracket and advanced to the final phase on Sunday were Austria’s Bernhard Strauss/Lukas Christoph Wiesinger and Michael Hager/Moamer Seta, Slovenia’s Luka Zadražnik/Matej Grafenauer and Germany's Andreas Urmann/Jens Ellmrich.

A Drawing of Lots will be held during the players’ party after 9 PM and the eight duos will be split into two pools of four each. A single round robin will be played in each pool on Sunday with the pool winners and the pool runners-up qualifying for the semi-finals.

Click here or further information and visit also the official website and the Instagram account @snowvolleyball

News nr. 3 of 8
20/03/2016 18:32:00
Home glory for Schnetzer and Leeb in the Austrian Alps
18/03/2016 19:54:00
37 pairs from eight different countries to battle on snow in Austrian Alps

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