20/03/2016 18:32
Home glory for Schnetzer and Leeb in the Austrian Alps
2016 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour

Wagrain-Kleinarl, Austria, March 20, 2016. The crowd that filled up the area around the centre court in Wagrain-Kleinarl was ecstatic to see the home favourites Florian Schnetzer and Michael Leeb win the title of ‘Kings of the Snow’ at the second stop of the 2016 CEV Snow Volleyball European Tour on the sunny and snowy mountain peak in the Austrian Alps.

Sunday’s competition day did not start well for the second-seeded Austrian pair. By the will of the draw, they had to lock horns with the top-seeded Polish duo Michal Matyja and Bartlomiej Podgorski in the very first match in the morning and lost narrowly by 0-2 (9-11, 9-11). However, Schnetzer and Leeb did not lose confidence, won their next two games to emerge on top of Pool A and qualify for the semi-finals. Having dropped their last pool match by 1-2 (11-9, 5-11, 12-14) to their compatriots Wojciech Luboń and Pawel Ciula, Matyja/Podgorski finished second and also made it to the battles for the spots in the final.
The competition was even more dramatic in Pool B, where the two Austrian teams started off with victories, but then Maciej Klimas/Kamil Łyczko from Poland made a comeback by winning their next two games to finish on top of the standings, followed by the home guys Bernhard Strauss and Lukas Christoph Wiesinger.

In the all-Austrian semi-final Schnetzer/Leeb managed to defeat Strauss/Wiesinger on the way to the grand finale, where they got a second chance at Matyja/Podgorski, who had won the all-Polish semi-final with Klimas/Łyczko. Inspired by the incredible support of the home fans, Schnetzer and Leeb had no brakes against Matyja and Podgorski and reached the crown with a smashing 2-0 win (11-5, 11-5).

“This weekend was probably the best weekend I have ever had,” said an elated Michael Leeb after the award ceremony. “The weather was perfect, the audience was fantastic, and the centre court was great... It was already so much fun, but the fact that we won the tournament made everything just amazing! Maybe the fact that we had lost to the Polish pair in the morning also motivated us to fight hard in the final.”

“If I play a tournament, I always like to win, but I cannot expect that. You have to go out in every game and give everything, play point for point and, yes, we did that quite well,” added Florian Schnetzer.  “I am going to Kronplatz to defend this crown, but unfortunately not with Michael. Still I am going to give everything there to win the next title as well.”

Michal Matyja had topped the podium last week in Špindlerův Mlýn, venue of the first stop of the European Tour, along with Czech Beach Volleyball star Robert Kufa.

Poland succeeded in having a second pair on the men’s podium in Wagrain-Kleinarl after Klimas and Łyczko managed to repeat their victory over Strauss/Wiesinger from earlier in the day, this time in the bronze medal match in straight, but narrowly resolved sets (14-12, 11-9).

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