The new exciting sport expands its geography
Exciting snow volleyball events were held in Germany and Japan over the last two weekends.
The European country held its fourth national championships in Oberstaufen on 4 and 5 March, with Jennifer Gernert-Scharmacher, Lydia Scherber, Melanie Gernert and Nele Barber claiming the women’s title, and Georg Wolf, Jonas Reinhardt, Paul Becker and Peter Wolf lifting the men’s trophy. With a snow volleyball exhibition in Zao on 26 February, on the other hand, Japan became one of the first few non-European countries, whose federations have organised snow volleyball events.
Men’s teams in action on Oberstaufen snow (Photo credits: Tobias Heimplatzer)
Eight women’s and eight men’s teams took part in the modified pool play main draws of the German national championship in Oberstaufen. The pool winners progressed straight to the semifinals, while the teams placed second and third in their pools advanced to the crossed quarterfinals.
Top-seeded Barber - Gernert - Gernert-Scharmacher - Scherber won all four of their matches to triumph as champions without losing a single set. In the women’s final, they delivered a hard-fought 2-0 (18-16, 16-14) victory over fourth-seeded Bianca Peter, Eva Schilf, Laura Mahlmann and Michaela Henry.
The bronze medals went to second-seeded Ida Burbulla, Luisa Doss and Sandra Ferger, who produced a 2-0 (15-5, 15-8) shutout of Larissa Claassen, Katharina Rathkamp, Nina Deepen and Nina Interwies in the third place match.
The men’s gold also went to the top seeds in the main draw bracket. Becker - Reinhardt - Wolf - Wolf crowned their run of four consecutive wins with a 2-0 (15-10, 15-10) sweep of third-seeded Flo Wenz, Lucas Wenz, Lukas Kopfer and Tim Kreuzer in the final.
Experienced snow volleyballer Florian Schweikart, who was on the German national team that played at the inaugural FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour event in 2019, led his teammates Julius Hofer, Sebastian Burgis and Yannic Beck, seeded second, to the podium as they mastered a 2-0 (15-7, 15-7) win over Christian Otte, Florian Fiedler, Soren Schipper and Tom Fieger in the bronze medal match.
Five men’s and two women’s teams took part in the Japanese Snow Volleyball Exhibition in Zao.
A squad of three professional beach volleyballers won the women’s match. Shion Tsubouchi and 39-year-old Samaa Miyagawa, both members of the Japanese national team during the 2019 FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour, were joined by Miharu Kashihara at the Miyagi Zao Eboshi resort, where they mastered a 2-0 (15-10, 15-9) victory over the team of Tohoku Fukushi University Sendai.
The men’s squad of Okazaki Construction Owls Shiwa won both of their matches of the three-way round-robin men’s tournament in Zao, a 2-0 (22-20, 15-11) over the team of volleyball YouTubers BeeQuick, and a 2-0 (17-15, 22-20) over Dots Hokkaido. Dots also beat BeeQuick in straight sets, 2-0 (15-9, 15-8).
The team of Tohoku High School Sendai also made their contribution to the snow volleyball show. They defeated the local team of Zao by 2-0 (15-13, 15-8) and then, in the only three-setter of the day, they managed a 2-1 (9-15, 15-13, 15-7) comeback victory over BeeQuick.
A snow volleyball clinic was also held by the players, and many people enjoyed giving the winter sport a try.
The historic event in Japan was organised by another member of the 2019 Japanese national snow volleyball team, Shinako Tanaka, who is now in charge of the sport at her National Federation.