Larnaka, Cyprus, July 29, 2016 – Czech girls Martina Maixnerova and Marie-Sara Stochlova proved to be worthy of the second chance they were given at the FIVB U19 World Championships in Larnaka. The 17-year old qualifiers, who entered main draw as lucky losers, claimed the pool win on Friday with their third straight win.
“We couldn’t be happier”, Maixnerova said after their hard fought 2-0 win (24-22, 24-22) over Italy’s Chiara They and Reka Orsi Toth. “We started in qualification, so our goal was to be in main draw. That almost didn’t happen, but we were very lucky. And now we are taking this second chance to the limit.”
After two straight wins over Cyprus and Mexico on Thursday, the Czech girls had to dig deep against They and Orsi Toth. The Italians kept coming back and seemed to handle the heat a lot better. They and Orsi Toth had several opportunities to enforce a tiebreak, but could not score the decider. In the end the Czech girls claimed the victory on their first match point.
“Our strategy”, said Stochlova, asked about the key to winning this tight match. “We were preparing for this match yesterday and our coach made a really good strategy. We knew if we executed this plan it would work for us.”
Stochlova, who won bronze at the U18 European Championships last year with a different partner, struggled with the Cyprus heat. Temperatures in Larnaka rise to above 40 degrees Celsius this week. At the end of the match against Cyprus on Thursday she had to vomit. ”It’s really bad”, she said about the weather conditions. “But when you don’t think about it too much, you can do it.”
The bye in the first elimination round, which they earned as pool winners, will give them some time to recuperate. Asked about their biggest rivals towards the podium, Maixnerova said: “We don’t know the other teams that well. Maybe Netherlands, Brazil, USA. But we don’t care, we can beat anyone and if we just play our own game.”
On the court next to the Czech-Italy game another pool win decider was played. Ukraine’s Viktoria Lysytsia/Kateryna Dashevska and Germany’s Hanna Viemann/Lena Günther both entered the court undefeated in pool C.
Lysytsia and Dashevska, only 15-year old and two years younger than the Germans, proved to be the strongest ones. The Ukraine girls, who had already defeated Norway and Namibia, booked their third straight win (21-11, 21-16).
“This was our toughest match so far”, said Dashevska. “It was difficult but we did it and we are very happy to be in the second round. Our speed and our coach’s game plans got us this far.”
The U19 World Championships are their first international tournament, so they are here to gain any experience they can get, Dashevska said. Ending up as pool winners came unexpected.
“We just wanted to play, have fun and show everybody our game. It will be difficult to keep playing our own game in the next round, but I think we have a chance to do well.”
As expected Brazil’s top team Eduarda ‘Duda’ Lisboa and Victoria Lopes Pereira also won their pool with straight wins. The second Brazilian team, qualifiers Vitoria De Souza Rodrigues and Ana Carolina de Almeida Costa, claimed top position in pool D.
The other pool winners in the women’s tournament are Russia’s Polina Tsyganova and Olga Kozhadey, USA’s Megan Muret and Alexis Filippone, Dutch team Nika Daalderop and Mexime van Driel and Austria’s Ilona Kiss and Victoria Deisl.
The elimination rounds start on Saturday followed by the semifinals and medal matches on Sunday. The pool winners earn a bye in the first elimination round.Quick Links
• U19 World Championships Larnaka, Cyprus 2016 - website
• Qualification - Men
• Qualification - Women
• Main draw - Men
• Main draw - Women