The Hague, The Netherlands, July 15, 2017 - It has been over 24 years since the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia as the former sovereign state in Central Europe had a “banner” day here Thursday for a Czech Republic men’s team and a Slovak Republic women’s pair at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark.
What could make the weekend more interesting for “Czechoslovakia” at the newly-constructed multifunctional sports and education center is that the indoor Volleyball teams from the Czech and Slovak Republics will be competing against The Netherlands and Korea in FIVB World League action Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
After a Slovak Republic team defeated the No. 2-seeded women’s team in the US$150,000 Dela Beach Open, the Czech Republic men’s pair of Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner upset fifth-seeded Gustavo "Guto" Carvalhaes and Pedro Solberg of Brazil 2-1 (21-17, 19-21, 15-12) in a 45-minute Pool E match on an indoor court at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark.
In the first center court match Thursday outside the Sportcampus Zuiderpark. Andrea Strbova and Natalia Dubovcova of the Slovak Republic upset second-seeded Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude of Germany 2-1 (21-19, 19-21, 15-10) in a 48-minute Pool B match. Like their former compatriots, both teams had to win two qualifying matches Wednesday to gain “money” round berths in this week’s FIVB World Tour stop.
Natalia Dubovcova (left) and Andrea Strbova of the Slovak Republic
With the victory, Perusic and Schweiner will meet 12th-seeded Austrian Olympians Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst Friday morning with the winner of the match capturing Pool E and advancing to the 24-team elimination bracket with a first-round “bye” while the losing tandem faces a challenger in the opening “knockout” round. It will be the first FIVB match between the two teams as Perusic and Schweiner are competing in their seventh World Tour event as compared to the Austrians’ 47th.
Doppler and Horst, who were the only team to defeat the Rio 2016 Olympic champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt during pool play at the Copacabana Summer Games, posted a 2-0 (21-17, 21-18) group win in 34 minutes over Maciej Rudol and Jakub Szalankiewicz of Poland
In Wednesday’s qualifier, Perusic and Schweiner ousted the No. 1-seeded team in the preliminary matches with a 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) victory in 33 minutes over Daniel Bergerud and Christian Sorum of Norway. Earlier Wednesday, the Czech pair posted a 2-0 (21-12, 21-14) win in 28 minutes over Ruslan Bykanov and Yaroslav Koshkarev of Russia. Playing in four World Tour qualifiers this season, the Czech pair has a 6-1 record in the preliminary rounds with five of the victories over higher-seeded tandems.
With the women’s FIVB World Tour competition also being played on the outdoor center court and the two inside rectangles for Beach Volleyball at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark, the Dela Beach Open also marks the first-time that a FIVB World Tour event is also being held at the same site of a FIVB World League indoor stop.
FIVB World Tour action continues through Sunday with the medal matches as the winning pairs in each gender’s competition will share the $10,000 first-place prizes. The men conclude “modified” pool play matches Friday morning followed by the first-round of elimination in the afternoon. The quarter- and semi-final matches for both gender’s will be played Saturday.