06.08.2022 - Vienna, Austria
After fighting their way back to the semifinals, the Norwegians faced their Dutch opponents on Saturday morning at the A1 CEV BeachVolley Nations Cup 2022. Youngsters Berntsen/Mol H. and Varenhorst/Van de Velde came to play in the first match. It kept the balance in the battle for points until the technical timeout at 11:10 for Norway. The Norwegians demanded the challenge when the Dutch had caught up two points to a score of 13:12 and suspected a net error - without success. The Norwegian team equalized and the score was tied at 14:14. After the Dutch again managed to make up two points, Berntsen/Mol H. took a time-out at 16:14. Nevertheless, the Dutch team kept the lead. The first set point at 20:17 was fought off by the Norwegians, but Varenhorst/Van de Velde finally won the set on their second try.
Varenhorst proved his strength with 8 blocks and also secured the lead with his teammate's strong defense in the second set. Time out at 7:6, the lead stayed with them. Technical timeout at 12:9. Despite great efforts on the part of the Norwegians to catch up, they could not significantly improve their deficit. The Dutch were from the beginning the better team on this Saturday morning and so they reached in no time the match point at 20:15, which was denied to them. With an attack into the diagonal by Van de Velde, it worked out and the Dutch emerged as winners of the first match.
The second match was played by the beach volleyball superlative of the two nations, Mol A./Sørum faced Brouwer/Meeuwsen. With unmistakable ambition and fighting spirit to reverse the defeat of their colleagues in the first match, the Vikings started the first set. The number three in the world ranking was able to extend the lead with strong attacks and shots to the longline. Technical timeout at 12:9, the Dutch called a challenge for "ball in/out" which was successful. Mol A. took control of the game immediately after and shined with a block and two ace services in a row, score 16:10 for the Vikings and heading for set point. With a precise diagonal shot Sørum catapulted the ball into the opponent's court. Set win for the Norwegians at 21:14.
Strengthened and ready to fight back, the Dutch advanced into the second set. The two teams engaged in an even battle of points, with no clear lead for either team. Technical timeout at 11:10 for the Vikings. The Dutch responded with a defensive strategy, Brouwer proved to be a gamechanger, scoring three straight points and improving the score to 14:12 for the Dutch team. A timeout for Norway followed. Surprised by the plot twist in the game, the Norwegians made a few mistakes. All signs were already pointing to a third set. Set point at 20:17, Mol A. gave away the winning point to the opponents by a double touch. The Dutch won the set at 21:17.
The fighting Vikings did not let this go, willing to win the third set, the Norwegians showed that they can work under pressure and perform at their best. They regained the lead of the decisive third set and surged ahead to 10:6. Already at this point, the likelihood of a golden set was looming. Brouwer/Meeuwsen took a timeout at 11:7 and the men made it exciting, the Dutch coming back from the break full of energy to improve the situation for themselves, and rallied to a 2-point deficit at 13:11. Nevertheless, the match was won immediately afterwards at 15:11 on the side of the Norwegians, by an attack into the diagonal of Sørum.
Eight minutes remained until the start of the Golden Set, for which the coaches sent their respective top teams and Mol A./Sørum and Brouwer/Meeuwsen, who had been seen in the second match, into the race. It was all about getting into the final, so nothing was risked. Both teams were hot for the victory, showed highest commitment and offered the fans a top match. The rain did nothing to dampen the mood of the raging crowd in the stadium. Timeout for the Dutch after a 3-pointer by Mol A. with the score at 7:6 for the Vikings. Mol A. shone again with an enormously high block quota. Sørum gave away a point to the opponents by a shot into the net and thus the Vikings were ahead by just one point at 11:10. The Norwegians then took a breather. Point after point a back and forth, the nail-biter began. The Norwegians kept their nerves. Match point at 14:13, equalizer by the Dutch thanks to Meeuwsen's shot into the diagonal. The teams did not give each other anything, fascinating things happened on the center court. Finally Mol A. made the winning move and the Vikings won the semi-final 17:15.
The final with Norwegian line-up will be played on Sunday at 16:30, against whom is yet to be decided.
Nations Score: Norway 2:1 Netherlands