Snow volleyballers defy extreme weather to battle for main draw vacancies

Plan de Corones / Kronplatz, Italy, April 4, 2019 – The weather gods were not merciful to the teams taking part in Thursday’s qualifications at the Plan de Corones / Kronplatz stop on the 2019 FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour, co-organized with the CEV, but the snow volleyballers defied the snow blizzard and battled it out for the four main draw vacancies in each gender.

The women’s teams of Lithuania, Czech Republic 1, Czech Republic 2 and Slovakia and the men’s teams of Russia 2, United States 2, Italy 3 and Slovenia emerged victorious from the double-elimination qualification bracket to stay in contention for World Tour honours on Italian snow.

Going through the first qualification round of the women’s tournament with a bye, Lithuania (Birute Aleknaviciute, Svetlana Bekis Sturo and Lilija Frelik) mastered a 2-0 (15-10, 15-8) victory over Slovakia to stamp their spot in Friday’s main draw action. Czech Republic 1 (Anna Dostalova, Magdalena Dostalova and Diana Zolnercikova) started their day with a hard-fought 2-1 (15-9, 10-15, 15-11) over Italy 2 and went on to defeat their compatriots of Czech Republic 2 (Michaela Knoblochova, Michaela Smejcka and Justyna Frommova) by 2-0 (15-10, 15-10) to advance as well.

In what was the longest running women’s match of the day, the second Czech team managed a 2-1 (11-15, 15-9, 15-9) come-from-behind victory over Romania 2 to fight their way back into the main draw. Slovakia (Silvia Poszmikova, Jana Zyani Rusnakova, Ivona Brondosova and Michaela Stammova) claimed a 2-0 (15-13, 15-12) win over Italy 2 to follow suit.

“We are so excited we made it! We enjoyed it even though the weather is not the best for playing, but this is also snow volleyball. If the weather improves tomorrow, we will enjoy the main draw even more, and the girls will see the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. I love it here!” said an elated Silvia Poszmikova, the most experienced snow volleyballer on the Slovakian squad.

The first qualification round delivered the longest running men’s match of the day. Switzerland put up quite a fight against United States 2, but after 38 minutes of play the Americans managed a 2-1 (12-15, 15-11, 15-7) comeback. In the second round, Maddison McKibbin, Riley McKibbin and Troy Field followed up with a 2-0 (15-12, 15-3) win over Germany and a spot in the main draw. Russia 2 (Vsevolod Bobrikov, Vladislav Mikhalev, Vadim Smorchkov and Aleksandr Kramarenko) shut out two home teams, Italy 4 by 2-0 (15-9, 15-9) and Italy 3 by 2-0 (15-12, 16-14), and also advanced.

Italy 3 (Alessandro Carucci, Diego Fallace, Joshua Kessler and Daniele Gambarelli) rebounded with a 2-0 (15-7, 15-7) landslide over Switzerland to emerge from the losers’ bracket with a ticket to the main draw. Slovenia (Matevz Berk, Tomisllav Smuc and Jernej Potocnik) were the other team to do so. They lost 2-0 (15-12, 15-13) to Italy 3 in the first round, but mastered a 2-0 (15-8, 15-13) win over Italy 4 and a 2-0 (15-11, 15-9) victory over Germany in the losers’ bracket.

“We are very happy that we came here to this nice tournament. We had some difficulties in the first game, because it started at 9 o’clock in the morning and some of us got up at 4 o’clock to prepare for the match. The game was not good for us, but with some luck and a lot of energy, we turned this to our advantage,” Jernej Potocnik commented. “The weather is not a problem for us. It’s the same for everybody. I think we’ll adapt tomorrow, whatever weather we get.”

“Yes, the weather conditions today are pretty tricky. It’s very difficult to set and attack, so the teams that make fewer mistakes would probably win. The first match was a little bit of a problem trying to get used to the wind, the snow and everything, but in the end we managed to get our game together and won,” Tomisllav Smuc added. 

Main draw action at Plan de Corones / Kronplatz centre court will be streamed live on the FIVB YouTube channel.


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