Beach Pro Tour 2022 - News

Raisa Schoon trying to overcome a one-hand block by Tanja Huberli

Raisa Schoon trying to overcome a one-hand block by Tanja Huberli

It was a pretty heavy first day for Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon at the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Finals in Doha. On Thursday, the third-seeded Dutch team played two hard-fought three-setters, losing the first one after winning the first set, and winning the second one after losing the first set. There were plenty of ups and downs in both women’s pools and with eight different teams winning the day’s eight matches, the stage is set for fierce battles over the next days.

· Watch all matches at the Beach Pro Tour Finals in Doha live on Volleyball TV.

Dominating in offence, Stam and Schoon were well in control at the start of their first Pool B match against wild cards Sara Hughes and Kelly Cheng to win set one. They kept up a balanced fight until 11-10 in the second set, when the Americans made four in a row and never looked back to level the score. In the third set, Cheng was on fire in attack. She stepped up her hitting efforts to spike 10 points in the tie-breaker alone towards a 2-1 (18-21, 21-18, 15-10) victory.

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Their second match did not start so well for Stam and Schoon. Although it was an even fight against Nina Brunner and Tanja Huberli, the better Swiss attacks paid off in the first set. The Swiss started making too many mistakes in the second set and the Dutch pair used that to level the match. Schoon’s productive swinging efforts in the tie-breaker helped her team gain control and cruise on to a 2-1 (19-21, 21-18, 15-11) comeback.

“In the second and third sets of the first match we felt a little bit tired, we were thinking a lot and didn’t play our own game. But now we got our energy back for the second match and did what the Americans did to us in the first,” Schoon told Volleyball World. “Now we have to recover well, because we have another two games tomorrow.”

“I think it was a good day, although we lost the first match. We took our lessons from it and then we immediately fixed it in the second. And I’m really proud of seeing that total difference,” Stam added. “Now we have four teams with one win each, so it is going to be an interesting pool. Every match is like a final and it’s really cool.”

Tillmann & Muller in action

Tillmann & Muller in action during their straight-set upset of Barbara & Carol

Indeed, Brunner and Huberli had already won their opening match producing a 2-0 (21-18, 21-19) shutout of Cinja Tillmann and Svenja Muller, but then the Germans came back to deliver a 2-0 (21-18, 22-20) upset of second-seeded Brazilians Barbara Seixas and Carol Solberg, with Tillmann leading the way with an impressive match high of 23 points.

There are four teams with one win apiece after day one in Pool A as well. Fourth-seeded Taliqua Clancy and Mariafe Artacho Del Solar started their campaign with a 2-0 (21-17, 22-20) victory to spoil the international debut of newly-formed Canadian pair Sarah Pavan and Sophie Bukovec. Clancy led in both kill blocks (five) and serving aces (four) to accumulate a match high of 20 points.

However, in the evening session, the Australians were defeated in straight sets by fifth-seeded Anastasija Samoilova and Tina Graudina. With Tina stuffing six blocks, the Latvians bounced back from an earlier loss to master a 2-0 (21-16, 24-22) shutout of Clancy and Mariafe.

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It was Taryn Kloth and Kristen Nuss that managed a convincing 2-0 (21-18, 21-15) upset of the European champions in their first match at the Finals, with Kloth producing as many as 23 points towards their success.

However, the Americans were not able to follow up with a second win on Thursday either. In Pool A’s only three-setter of the day, they put up an even fight against reigning world champions Eduarda Santos Lisboa (Duda) and Ana Patricia Ramos. However, with Ana Patricia dominating with her blocks and Duda contributing four aces, the top-seeded Brazilians managed to start the competition with a 2-1 (23-21, 18-21, 15-13) victory.