Wagrain-Kleinarl, Austria, March 29, 2019 – The first four quarterfinalists in each gender emerged as the first competition day of the FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour event in Wagrain-Kleinarl, co-organized with the CEV, took place under the bright sunny skies of the Austrian Alps on Friday. In the men’s tournament, both host teams, Austria 1 and Austria 2, won their pools to secure direct advancement to the last eight, also joined by USA and Russia 1. The women’s teams of USA and Russia 1 followed suit to keep company of Czech Republic 1 and Czech Republic 2 in the quarters.
Florian Schnetzer, Alexander Huber, Martin Streitfellner and Christoph Dressler, participating as Austria 1, cruised to the top of Pool C with two straight-set wins – 2-0 (15-7, 15-9) over Italy 2 and 2-0 (15-11, 15-10) over Italy 1.
“Today was an absolutely amazing day in the mountains – perfect weather, perfect conditions on the courts...,” said Schnetzer. “It was my first time playing in the new three-a-side format and I have to say I really like it. We had a good start and I hope we can continue playing good snow volleyball tomorrow. Brazil are our likely next opponent. They have two legends with a lot of experience, Giba and Marcio Araujo, on their team. Their young guns are really athletic. So it will be a big challenge, but we hope to come up with the right tactics to beat them.”
It has already been done - by the other Austrian team. The home crowd cheered on more Austrian success on Thursday as the host country’s second squad, Felix Friedl, Arwin Kopschar and Maximilian Trummer, won Pool D after a 2-0 (15-12, 15-10) shutout of Russia 2 and a hard-fought 2-1 (12-15 15-8, 17-15) upset of the Brazilian team in front of the packed stands at centre court.
In a very closely contested Pool A, all three matches ended after three sets. USA emerged on the top after a 2-1 (15-10, 12-15, 15-11) win over Cameroon and a spectacular 48-minute 2-1 (10-15, 16-14, 18-16) comeback victory over Poland. In Pool B, Russia 1 claimed a 2-1 (13-15, 15-10, 15-9) win over compatriots Russia 2 to follow up with a 2-0 (16-14, 15-10) victory over Romania.
Tense action in the South Africa vs. Sweden women’s match
The women’s squad of USA, Karissa Cook, Emily Hartong, Katherine Spieler and Alexandra Wheeler, gold medallists from the Moscow European Tour stop in December, showed a good performance on Austrian snow on Thursday, defeating Germany 2-0 (20-18, 15-11) and Japan 2-0 (15-11, 15-12) to claim the first place in Pool D.
“We are stoked to be here. It’s an awesome venue. We had a lot of fun out here today,” Spieler commented. “It’s a great competition and we are so excited to get to the quarterfinals. We are going for another gold medal, but the teams are really strong here, so we’ll have some battles ahead and we are looking forward to them.”
Russia 1 dominated Pool B with emphatic victories over Lithuania and Italy, both closed at a final score of 2-0 (15-3, 15-10). The two Czech teams also went through pool play without dropping a single set. Czech Republic 1 defeated Sweden 2-0 (15-12, 15-10) and South Africa 2-0 (15-10, 15-11) to win Pool C, while Czech Republic 2 scored a 2-0 (15-10, 15-10) win over Argentina and a 2-0 (15-13, 15-9) victory over Austria for the first place in Pool A.
Saturday’s programme starts at 10:00 local time with the first elimination round for women, followed by the men. Once the remaining quarterfinalists are known, the quarterfinal clashes will take place in the early afternoon.
All centre court matches of the Wagrain-Kleinarl main draw competition from will be streamed live on the FIVB YouTube channel
Quick links - Snow volleyball: