Belgian, French, German and Dutch circuits now in full swing, while NORCECA hold third tour stop of the year
Exciting beach volleyball events from continental and national circuits heated up the spring season in the northern hemisphere over the weekend. The North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) Beach Tour visited the Cayman Islands for its third stop in 2023, while national tour competitions took place in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
The Cayman Islands hosted the third stop on the NORCECA Beach Tour. 20 teams from 16 different countries took part in the women’s tournament. Puerto Rico’s Alanis Navas and Maria Gonzalez took the gold medals after a 2-0 (21-14, 21-15) victory over Guatemala’s Natalia Giron and Estefanie Bethancourt in the final match. Canada’s Ruby Sorra and Lea Monkhouse defeated Cuba’s Yenifer Rivera and Amanda Armenteros 2-0 (21-19, 21-18) for the bronze.
Women’s main draw results and standings
The 20 teams competing in the men’s tournament at the Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman also represented 16 different countries. Mexican standouts Juan Virgen and Miguel Sarabia (pictured in the main photo, credit: norceca.net) mastered a 2-0 (21-15, 21-16) shutout of the USA’s Jake Urrutia and Ian Sutterfield in the gold medal match. Another Mexican pair, Gabriel Cruz and Jorge Barajas, also reached the semifinals, but had to withdraw because of Cruz’s injury, which left Guatemala’s Andy Leonardo and Luis Garcia with the bronze without playing the third place match.
Men’s main draw results and standings
The third stop on the 2023 Belgian national tour took place in Kortrijk from Saturday through Monday. After winning the first event in Hacht two weeks earlier, Louis Vandecaveye and Gilles Vandecaveye claimed another gold, topping the final standings in the 12-team men’s main draw. In Monday’s final, they mounted a comeback from a set down to gain a 2-1 (16-21, 21-19, 15-9) victory over Ward Van Dyck and Tom van Walle. The third place was shared between the two semifinal losers, Martijn Colson and Dennis Deroey, and Jeroen Oprins and Mathias Blondeel.
Britt Ruysschaert and Els Vandesteene made it three in a row on the women’s side, adding a Kortrijk gold to the trophies from Hacht and Hechtel-Eksel. In the final, they mastered a 2-0 (21-18, 21-14) shutout of Jade Van Deun and Youne Coens, while the duos of Leen van Grinsven and Annelies Vandenabeele and of Emma van Doren and Ilya van Doren finished in joint third place.
The 2023 French national tour opened with a men’s tournament in Dijon over the weekend. A duo from Monaco also joined the 16-team main draw. Tom Altwies and Elouan Chouikh-Barbez topped the podium. They managed a tight 2-0 (21-18, 27-25) victory over Julien Legrand and Maxime Capet in Sunday’s final. Jeremy Ullmann and Vianney Pollet took bronze after the withdrawal of their third place match opponents Romain Di Giantommaso and Liam Patte.
Germany’s highest placed teams in the FIVB Beach Volleyball Rankings won the men’s and the women’s trophies at the second stop on the 2023 German national tour, which took place in Bremen again. Nils Ehlers and Clemens Wickler swept the hard-fought men’s final against Lukas Pfretzschner and Robin Sowa by 2-0 (25-23, 21-17), after an even tougher 2-1 (21-23, 21-18, 15-12) comeback victory in their semifinal against the powerful Dutch duo of Steven van de Velde and Matthew Immers, who shared the third place with Benedikt Sagstetter and Jonas Sagstetter.
Svenja Muller and Cinja Tillmann won the women's tournament. They delivered a 2-0 (21-15, 24-22) victory over Melanie Gernert and Anne Krohn. The bronze medals were shared by Lea Kunst and Sarah Schulz, and the previous week’s winners Chenoa Christ and Kim van de Velde.
The 2023 Dutch national tour got underway with the first stop in Apeldoorn over the weekend and with the participation of duos from Czechia and Italy. Emi van Driel and Brecht Piersma triumphed as winners of the 13-team women’s main draw. In Sunday’s final, they produced a 2-0 (21-11, 21-13) shutout of Lynn van Mill and Iris Reinders. In a highly contested third place match, Floor Hogenhout and Lisa Luini took a 2-1 (22-20, 15-21, 15-13) victory over Maren de Jong and Mila Konink.
Dirk Boehle and Mees Sengers led the 12-team men’s standings. They took the gold after a 2-0 (21-12, 21-16) sweep of Sunday’s final against Quinten Groenewold and Sam van Der Loo. The bronze went to Erik Nijland and Yannick Verberne after a 2-1 (15-21, 21-14, 15-11) comeback victory over Joris Berkhout and Rik van Solkema.