The number one team in the world and reigning world and Olympic champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum added the first Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour champions title at the Finals in Doha on Sunday to their impressive showcase of trophies and medals. With this victory, the Norwegians, seeded second at the historic tournament, crowned a brilliant season, during which they also won the world title at Rome 2022, three Elite16 gold medals in Ostrava, Paris and Cape Town and two Elite16 bronze medals in Rosarito and Uberlandia.
Vikings triumph as first Beach Pro Tour men's champions
Bryl & Losiak and Nicolai & Cottafava complete the historic podium
Pubblicato 07:45, 29 Jan 2023
The silver medals at the inaugural 2022 Beach Pro Tour Finals went to fifth-seeded Michal Bryl and Bartosz Losiak of Poland. It was their fifth podium of the season, after the four gold medals they earned at the Elite16 tournament in Hamburg and the Challenge events in Tlaxcala, Doha and Espinho.
Sixth-seeded Italians Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava took the bronze to enrich their podium collection from the first Beach Pro Tour season to one gold (Jurmala Elite16), one silver (Doha Challenge) and two bronze medals (Paris Elite16 and Doha Finals).
Bryl and Losiak stormed into Sunday’s gold medal match on a 5-1 run, but Mol and Sorum caught up at 9-9. An even battle unfolded through 14-14, but four successful rallies down the road, the Norwegians already enjoyed an 18-14 advantage. The Poles fought on to get back to within one, but two monster blocks in a row by Mol finished the set in Norway’s favour. In the second set, Bryl and Losiak produced four points in a row to build a 10-6 gap and kept it up for a while, but at 16-16, the Vikings were all caught up again. To end the tournament in style, they crowned the end of the match with four points in a row. A spike by Sorum levelled the score at 18-18 and Mol followed up with three consecutive monster blocks to close the match at 2-0 (21-18, 21-18). Anders Mol’s blocking efforts in the final brought in as many as eight stuffs towards his 19-point match high.
“Oh, this is amazing!” said Mol right after the gold medal match. “This Finals title is really, really, really cool. We fought so many great teams here, in Doha. The best of the best are here, so I’m really proud and very tired.”
“It’s been just tough matches at this tournament,” Sorum added. “What’s made the difference is that I have Anders Mol by my side. He was really carrying the team in this final. He played amazing, had some amazing blocks and just kept pushing. I was tired, but he just kept giving me good feedback on my reception, and it was enough to win the game. I’m super happy and proud of the team. It’s been a long week.”
In the first set of the bronze medal match, third-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands built up a five-point lead against Nicolai and Cottafava and kept it up until 17-12, when Nicolai’s fantastic blocking inspired a great comeback. The Dutch were the first to reach set point, but another monster block by Nicolai crowned a three-point series that finished the set Italy’s way. The tables were turned in the second set. The Italians had a comfortable 16-10 advantage, when Brouwer and Meeuwsen started mounting their comeback. After 17-13, they scored six in a row to take the lead and soon the match was level on a successful swing by Brouwer.
The tie-breaker offered a tight battle, during which the gap never went beyond two points to one side or the other. After 14-14, another monster block by Nicolai gave Italy their second match point and Cottafava converted it with a clever sharp-angle shot for a 2-1 (22-20, 19-21, 16-14) win. Paolo Nicolai was the best scorer of the match with 26 points, including five blocks and two aces.
The last competition day started earlier with the semifinal matches. Each of the two duels for the spots in the final was decided in three sets.
Bryl and Losiak wasted an early three-point lead to lose the first set to Brouwer and Meeuwsen by a two-point margin. In the second, they completely dominated to prompt a tie-breaker. The Dutch had the early lead (5-2) in the third set, but the Poles caught up quickly and, after 9-9, they ran off with four in a row and never looked back, 2-1 (19-21, 21-12, 15-11). Each of the two Polish players finished with 22 points. They shared an impressive total of eight aces towards the victory.
Mol and Sorum comfortably won the first set of their semifinal against Nicolai and Cottafava. The Italians “returned the favour” in the second to level the match. In the tie-breaker, Sorum did his magic in attack, while Mol added a couple of aces to the high-standard output of his blocking as the Norwegian pair closed the match at 2-1 (21-15, 14-21, 15-10). Mol impressed with a total of seven stuffs in the match, but Cottafava was the best overall scorer on 23 points, all in attack.