Czechia’s Barbora Hermannova and Marie-Sara Stochlova claimed the women’s trophy at the first of two back-to-back Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Challenge events in Dubai. It was their team’s first Beach Pro Tour gold and second medal overall, after they took silver at the Agadir Challenge in July.
Hermannova & Stochlova snatch first Beach Pro Tour gold
China’s Xia & Lin and USA’s Horton & Scoles complete the first Dubai Challenge podium
Pubblicato 03:48, 25 Oct 2022
The silver medals went to Xia Xinyi and Lin MeiMei. It was the Chinese pair’s first podium at the Challenge level. They had already collected a full set of hardware in the Beach Pro Tour Futures tier.
19th-seeded Americans Katie Horton and Julia Scoles, who started the tournament in Saturday’s qualifiers, crowned their international debut as a duo with the bronze medals.
Hermannova and Stochlova, seeded second in the tournament, could not hold on to the five-point lead they had at 10-5 in the first set of Tuesday’s final. Fifth-seeded Xia and Lin fought back to catch up at 17-17 and stayed in control through the end of the set, which came on a clever cross-court shot by Xia. Tables were turned in the second set. This time the Chinese side had the early lead, but the Czechs regained control after 6-6. At the end, they scored three in a row, with Hermannova’s curve shot down the line bringing the winner. The Czechs were the better side at the beginning and at the end of an otherwise hard-fought tie-breaker. After 12-12, they took the next tree rallies, with Stochlova’s kill block bringing in the match point, converted on a wide hit by Lin for a 2-1 (18-21, 21-17, 15-12) Czech victory. Hermannova finished as the top scorer of the match with 32 points to her name, including three blocks and two aces.
“In the first two sets I made serving errors at important moments, and in the third set till 11-11 each of my serves went into the net or three metres out. It was tough on the mind. But our coach Sebastian teaches us how to have fun during the matches and I think it’s visible on the court, even in games like this when we don’t feel great,” Stochlova told Volleyball World after the final. “It has been a pretty amazing journey for me and I’m enjoying it!”
“Marie stayed positive and cheered after every ball, even when it was not perfect. She kept me in a positive mood through the whole match and deserves credit for it,” Hermannova added. “It has been a hard year for sure, with some injuries and everything, but we managed to keep it on a high level and I am very proud of it. So we’ll go into the next year both satisfied and hungry.”
In both sets of a very tight bronze medal match, Horton and Scoles were pushed to overtime by their Thai opponents, fourth-seeded Taravadee Naraphornrapat and Worapeerachayakorn Kongphopsarutawadee, but managed to squeeze out a 2-0 (26-24, 22-20) victory, with Scoles delivering a match-high 26 points. The gap never exceeded two points throughout the first set and the lead went back and forth before the Americans scored three in a row to close it at 26-24. In the second, Horton and Scoles managed to break away with a 7-3 advantage, but the Asians caught up at 17-17 to prompt another interesting epilogue. They saved two match points for another tie at 20-20, but then served long to gift the Americans another one. Finally, Scoles put an end to the game with a monster block for 22-20.
In their semifinal earlier on Tuesday, Xia and Lin lost the first set to Naraphornrapat and Worapeerachayakorn, but came back to level the score, with both sets very tight and decided by the narrowest of margins. In the tie-breaker, however, the Thai team stormed in on a 5-1 run, but their Chinese opponents quickly gained control on the court and cruised on to celebrate with a 2-1 (19-21, 21-19, 15-9) victory.
In the other semifinal, Hermannova and Stochlova recovered from the five-point deficit they had at 16-11 Horton and Scoles’ way to win the first set. In the second, the Czechs never let their opponents edge forward and stayed in control to claim a 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) win.
The second Dubai Challenge tournament starts on Thursday.