11.08.2021 - Vienna, Austria
Not many good things have happened in Barbora Hermannová’s career over the last month or so, but winning her opening match at the A1 CEV EuroBeachVolley Vienna 2021 presented by Swatch on Wednesday was certainly one of them.
After not being able to compete at the Tokyo Olympics due to a positive COVID test and seeing her partner Marketa Sluková not being in good shape to play in Vienna, the 30-year-old Czech picked up 22-year-old Marie-Sara Stochlová and the two came from behind to defeat Norwegians Ingrid Lunde and Emilie Olimstad 2-1 (21-23, 21-14, 16-14) on Pool E in one of the A1 5G Side Courts.
“I really have to thank Marie for being here,” Hermannová, a silver medalist of the 2016 EuroBeachVolley said. “She fought really hard for the win, set me extremely well and was actually a lot calmer than I was in some moments of the match. For two blockers who only practiced twice before the tournament, I think we did pretty well. And the best is that we still have some room to improve as we get to know each other better on the court.”
The positive result represents a much-needed change of mood of sorts for the Czech star, who was able to smile again on a volleyball court after some weeks of difficult news.
“I very much miss Maki (Sluková) here,” she added. “But I’m glad that I didn’t have to give up on our spot and that Marie could come and play with me. Winning the first game was a big success for us but I want to keep playing here for as long as we can.”
The undesired scenario has opened the doors for Stochlová, a rising talent in the Czech Republic, to make her debut at the EuroBeachVolley. The opportunity came in a good moment for the blocker, who won her first World Tour gold medal just ten days ago, when partner Martina Williams and her triumphed in a one-star event in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
“It’s amazing to be here,” she remarked. “I’m just glad for the opportunity of being here and playing with someone like Bara (Hermannová). I’m trying to enjoy as much as I can and improve my defense too. To play against all these players I used to watch on TV, I just want to do my best and hopefully we’ll win some more.”
Their opening match victory has already guaranteed the Czechs in the elimination rounds in Vienna. Later on Wednesday, they will try to secure a spot in Round of 16 of the EuroBeachVolley as they face Germans Karla Borger and Julia Sude, who defeated Spanish Angela Lobato and Daniela Alvarez in straight sets (21-18, 21-16) for the top spot in Pool E.