The Hague, The Netherlands, June 16, 2017 - The men’s field for the US$150,000 Dela Beach Open was cut in half here Friday as 32 pairs started play on the indoor and outdoor Beach Volleyball courts at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark with only 16 tandems remaining in contention for the championship medals Sunday.
On a day when the Dela Beach Open promoter and Dutch Volleyball federation honored five-time Holland Olympian Reinder Nummerdor, pairs from 10 countries posted wins to advance to Saturday’s schedule where the men will play three rounds at the newly-constructed Sportcampus Zuiderpark facility where both the FIVB World Tour and World League events are being staged this weekend.
Honoring Reinder Nummerdor (left) Friday with wife Manon and daughter Milou
Leading the field into Saturday’s “Sweet 16” matches are top-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen as the Dutch 2016 Olympic bronze medal winners and 2013 FIVB world champions defeated a team from Qatar Friday mid-day to secure the Pool A title that earned them a first-round “bye” for the start of elimination.
“Our goal is to win this tournament,” said Brouwer, “and winning our pool to reach the final 16 to skip a round of elimination is nice. However, we really like Beach Volleyball and wouldn't mind to playing an extra match as we like to play as many as we can.”
Meeuwsen said his team “really love play at the brand-new stadium. The atmosphere is there, although it's not full yet. So, come and watch us! Tomorrow nobody is excused because it's not a working day. Except for us, of course. We don't call this work. We are planning on having a big party tomorrow.”
Alexander Brouwer (left) and Robert Meeuwsen with Dutch fans
With Brouwer and Meeuwsen due to their first-round “bye”, teams winning opening elimination matches Friday evening were fifth-seeded Gustavo "Guto" Carvalhaes/Pedro Solberg of Brazil, ninth-seeded Sam Pedlow/Sam Schachter of Canada, 11th-seeded Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai of Italy, 15th-seeded Martins Plavins/Haralds Regza of Latvia, 18th-seeded Christoph Dressler/Thomas Kunert of Austria, 20th-seeded Nico Beeler/Marco Krattiger of Switzerland, 24th-seeded qualifiers Vitor Felipe/George Wanderley of Brazil and 20th-seeded qualifiers Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner of the Czech Republic.
While eight teams only played one match Friday due to winning their pools, Canadians Pedlow and Schachter had to win twice with a pair of victories over North American rivals from the United States and Mexico.
“We are finding our rhythm and enjoying playing in Holland and in the indoors (played all three matches indoors,” said Schachter, who competed for Canada in the Rio 2016 Olympics with Josh Binstock. “It's a little bit different than we are used to, but we are starting to get used to the new environment and really enjoying it and playing with good energy. We hope to keep that going tomorrow and beat a couple more teams and play outside for once.”
As for playing indoors, Schachter said he “had to make some adjustments because I am used to digging the ball as high as I want, it's my style, and I had to make adjustments. It’s difficult to play against float services because they move a lot more and the air is different and there's no wind. But we are used to it because we train most of our season inside.”
Sam Schachter (left) bumps the Mikasa as Canadian partner Sam Pedlow follows the action
Here are the “Sweet 16” men’s matches for Saturday morning when the women will be playing their “elite eight” contests at the Sportcampus Zuiderpark.
• Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins, Latvia (No. 2 seed) vs. Lupo/Nicolai, Italy (11)
• Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst, Austria (12) vs. Plavins/Regza, Latvia (15)
• Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera, Spain (6) vs. Vitor Felipe/George, Brazil (24, Q5)
• Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola, Brazil (4) vs. Pedlow/Schachter, Canada (9)
• Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho, Brazil (3) vs. Beeler/Krattiger, Switzerland (20)
• Robin Seidl/Tobias Winter, Austria (25, Q7) vs. Guto/Solberg, Brazil (5)
• Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin, Russia (7) vs. Dressler/Kunert, Austria (18)
• Brouwer/Meeuwsen, Netherlands (1) vs. Perusic/Schweiner, Czech Republic (28, Q16)