Preiml and Obernoster maintain hopes of snowbound home glory
Obernosterer (left) and Prieml remain Austria's last hope of glory in the women's competition
Lausanne, Switzerland, March 23, 2018 – Marilena Preiml and Maria Obernosterer kept the host nation’s hopes of home glory alive as they progressed to the knockout rounds of the CEV Snow Volleyball European Championships on Friday.
The CEV Snow Volleyball European Championships is taking place in the Salzburg resorts of Wagrain-Kleinarl and Flachau from March 23-25. The best 24 European teams per gender from 18 countries are playing for the inaugural European title and a purse of €10,000, in a purpose-built venue that holds 600 fans in one of the most famous ski resorts in Europe.
By the time Preiml and Obernosterer played their final pool match both the other Austrian teams had been eliminated, but they ensured the home crowd would have a women’s team to cheer on by defeating Romania’s Elena-Andreea Petrosanu and Ioana-Rebeca Alexandru 2-0 (11-8, 11-4).
“We are really happy that we made it out of our pool and now we are hungry for more,” Preiml said. “We will give everything. It is our home place, our home crowd, and this should be positive for us.”
Sixteen teams from the women’s draw progressed to the round of 16 that will take place on Saturday.
Lithuania’s Ieva Vasiliauskaite and Gerda Grudzinskaite progressed after they held their nerve to beat Italy’s Cristiana Parenzan and Tania Ferrazzo 2-0 (15-13, 11-8) in a winner-takes-all match after both teams had lost to Switzerland’s Sarah Leemann and Claudia Schmid.
“We lost our first match because of our own mistakes,” Vasiliauskaite said. “But now we are so happy that we improved our game and managed to qualify for the next round. I know the opponents will get tougher and tougher, but if you want to win the gold medal, you should be able to beat everybody.”
In the men’s draw 10 teams guaranteed themselves a place in the knockout rounds, with the final six set to be decided when pool play concludes on Saturday.
Georgios Kotsilianos and Panagiotis Ioannidis of Greece twice beat higher-ranked opponents to top their pool. First off they enjoyed a 2-0 (14-12, 11-9) win over Switzerland’s Raphael Zurgilgen and Remo Spahr, and then beat Italy’s Enrico Lupatelli and Michele Maines 2-0 (11-8, 19-17).
“We did not expect this,” Kotsilianos said. “We came here to have fun and try our best, but we managed to win the pool with two victories and it feels really good. We hope to keep going like that and further improve our game through the tournament.
“We arrived from Athens, where it was sunny and the temperature was over 20 degrees. This is a big difference for us. I hope tomorrow’s weather will be more comfortable for playing and we will do even better.”