The CEV Small Countries Division Beach Volleyball Finals took place in Vaduz, Liechtenstein for the second year in a row last weekend.
With a total of 28 teams competing for the Men’s and Women’s coveted prizes, Vaduz provided the fantastic setting for this competition
The teams arrived on Wednesday and Thursday in preparation for a gruelling weekend of tough and fierce competition. A lot of these teams were competing in their First SCD Beach Volleyball Finals.
The competition started off on Thursday evening with 2 exciting 3 set matches between Cyprus & Ireland and Northern Ireland & Ireland. This set the tone for what was going to be a great evening of competition. A total of 6 matches were played which completed Round 1 of the Women’s Competition and made in roads into the Men’s Competition.
Day 2 started in blistering heat with the competition utilising both courts available to them. The Men’s Competition took centre stage with some tough matches between Northern Ireland & Wales and the host Liechtenstein & Northern Ireland. The hosts won a battle against their NIR counterparts to progress to Round 2. The Women’s top seeds started their tournament in the afternoon with all top 4 seeds, CYP1, CYP2 SCO and LIE, safely ensuring their passage to Round 3. Second chance matches in the Double Elimination were between SCO/NIR, IRL/LIE, IRL/CYP and IRL/MON. Scotland, Liechtenstein, Cyprus and Monaco all progressed into the next phase where they would play against the losers of Round 3.
The Men completed a very busy day of competition with their Round 2 and Losers Bracket 1 matches. Monaco caused a huge upset by defeating the CYP 2nd seeds while the top seeds from CYP and San Marino progressed to Round 3. SCO2 were defeated by LUX2 and SCO1 defeated NIR3 to move into the next bracket from the Losers side.
Day 3 again brought +30 degrees heat which started to affect the players later in the day but did not deter from the competitive mindsets of the players.
The Women’s Round 3 pit up some big ties with 2nd seeds CYP2 overcoming SCO1 and LIE1 defeating top seeds CYP1 to progress to the Semi Finals. The losers of Round 3 faced tough matches in the losers bracket. LIE2 took on SCO2 to progress to the next round while first time entrants MON took on CYP3. Great displays by the first-time entrants SCO2 and MON but they couldn’t contain their strong opposition from taking the wins.
CYP3 had a very tough match against MON but overcame them in 2 sets in Men’s Round 3, before CYP1 overcame SMR in an epic 3 set battle. CYP2 and NIR1 overcame their tough tests to make it to Losers Bracket Round 3 to take on the losers of Round 3.
The Women’s Losers bracket had SCO1 take on CYP3 and CYP1 take on LIE2. The higher seeded teams showed their dominance in these matches to set up a Semi Final showdown between the Top 4 Seeds.
In the Men’s bracket CYP2 went down to SMR while NIR1 couldn’t maintain their fantastic play against a strong MON side.
The Women’s Semi Finals were a fantastic display of Beach Volleyball with CYP2 overcoming CYP1 and SCO1 upsetting the hosts LIE1 to cement their Final spot.
In the Men’s Semi Finals, Two 3 set matches took place in extremely hot conditions and both matches went over the 1 hour mark which is a remarkable feat from both teams. CYP1 and CYP3 took the honours against SMR and MON respectively with all 4 teams putting every ounce of energy they had left into this match.
The Women’s 3rd Place match was between the Number 1 seeds and the hosts. Cyprus bounced back from their earlier disappointment in the Semi Finals to put a lot of pressure on Liechtenstein to win the bronze medal. A great achievement for the pairing as Daria Gusarova, who is 14, has had a fantastic season on the World Tour with her partner Mariota Angelopoulou.
Another mammoth match took place in the Men’s Bronze Medal match between SMR and MON. Both teams won a set apiece before the heat had an effect on the SMR team and couldn’t compete with the MON team point for point. The Monegasque team picked up their first Beach Volleyball medal in the SCD.
The Women’s final between CYP2 and SCO1 was a rerun of their 3rd round match. This time the Scottish team came out of the blocks on fire and put the Cypriots under pressure winning the first set 21-15. After the disappointment of losing the first set, the Cypriots stepped up their level and took a very commanding lead at the start of the 2nd set and never looked back winning 21-11. The Final set was edgy, tense and dramatic. The teams went point for point until 10-10 when the Cypriots made a good Side Out and then defender Konstantopoulou went back to the service line and out the Scottish team under a lot of pressure which they could not find a way out of handing the SCD Beach Volleyball Finals win to the Cypriot team.
A fantastic victory of the strong pairing of Manolina Konstantinou and Zoi Konstantopoulou over Scotland’s Lynne Beattie and Melissa Coutts brought the Women’s competition to a close.
In the Men’s Final, it was an all Cypriot encounter which 3rd seeds Apostolou/Siapinis started this match on fire and made some fantastic transition plays to heap the pressure on their opposition and take the set 21-14. The top seeded Cypriot team of Liotatis/Chrysostomou were not willing to let this title go without a fight and came back with outstanding tactical serving and grinding down the opposition reception unit. Their perseverance allowed them to win the 2nd set 21-17. The Final set was tight but the youthful exuberance of Sotiris Siapanis was controlled very well by his partner Dimitris Apostolou and this channelling of energy allowed the team to find another level before closing out the 3rd set 15-12 and winning the Men’s SCD Final match.
The SCD Beach Volleyball Finals was outstanding and even better due to the hard work and determination of the Liechtenstein Federation to push the SCD agenda in Beach Volleyball. A huge thanks must go to Philippe Schürmann and Christian Schemeth for making this competition possible. Also a very big thank you to all the teams who attended. The level of the competition was excellent and the spirit in which all the matches were played is very commendable.
Next Year’s edition planning has already begun. We urge more SCD Federations to get involved in Beach Volleyball due to the number of international competitions and opportunities that are available to each Federation.
Anyonee wishing to find out any information about the SCD Beach Volleyball Commission and Competitions should contact the Beach Volleyball President in the first instance.
You can view all photos from the Competition here. (c)