FIVB News: "European Continental Beach Volleyball Cup - Greece and Estonia share top honors in Rhodes!"
Rhodes, Greece, September 18, 2010.
split the top positions in the Sub Zonal Phase - Pool G of the European Continental Beach Volleyball Cup in Rhodes
. While Greece’s top team and strong favorites of the women’s tournament, Maria Tsiartsiani/Vassiliki Arvaniti, struggled to gain two victories over Estonia, it was Joanna Papageorgiou/Christina Roubanis who shut out Kristel Kiens/Kertti Kulm 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) to finish the series 3-1.
Both Greece and Estonia qualify to the next phase of the Continental Cup, as does Cyprus, which had defeated Romania with a ‘golden set’ victory on Friday. The European Continental Cup will give one berth per gender for the 2012 London Olympics, plus an additional chance to qualify to the Olympics through the World Cup.
“It was nice to finish at the top of the Pool before the home crowd in Rhodes,” said Arvaniti after the gold medal had been secured. “We are still not playing 100 percent, but tournaments such as this are a great chance for us to improve.” Tsiartsiani added: “It’s nice to see that Joanna and Christina [Greece’s second team in Rhodes] stood up to expectations and did exactly what they needed to do in scoring the deciding victory that earned us first place.”
In the men’s competition in Rhodes, the final was a walkover for Estonia, which outclassed Greece three times and comfortably earned the gold medal. Karl Jaani/Rivo Vesik scored two of the Estonian victories, with Kaarel Kais/Kristjan Kais adding a third to send the Baltic team to the top position on the podium.
Regardless of the result, both Estonia and Greece qualify to the next phase of the competition in 2011 and stay on track on their quest for an Olympic berth in London 2012
“It was a lovely event,” said Vesik at the conclusion of the tournament. “I think we deserved the first place, as we fielded the best two teams although Greece proved very competitive.” Jaani, meanwhile, concentrated on his country’s Olympic vision: “We are currently ranked 31st in the world, so it is important for us to continue to believe in an Olympic qualification.”
The two Romanian and two Cypriot teams split victories, with one each, and forced the series to a ‘golden set’, where Moisa Abrudan/Marius Maskovits inched past Misha Kushnerev/Jimmy Apostolou 15-12, to earn the bronze medal and a berth in the next phase of the Continental Cup.
“With the top two teams of the tournament beyond our reach, the third place in this tournament should leave us satisfied,” said Abrudan after the deciding ‘golden set’. “Our Olympic dream is still alive,” added his teammate as he rejoiced for the unique victory over Cyprus.