Olsztyn, Poland, August 27, 2015 – Swiss qualifiers Nico Beeler and Alexei Strasser might look like the underdogs in Pool B, but on Thursday morning they made clear that they are out to beat the top teams here at the FIVB World Tour Olsztyn Grand Slam.
In their first pool play match Beeler and Strasser, who are ranked 31st, defeated second seeded Brazilians Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg 2-1 (21-19, 20-22, 15-13) with cheeky, but very well executed play.
“After winning two games yesterday in qualification it just feels great to keep the performance up,” Strasser said, “and surprisingly winning against one of the top teams of the tournament.”
The new Swiss pair could have even won the match in two sets, with a match point at 20-19 in the second.
“Definitely, but that is beach volleyball and they are a top team and have a huge service,” Strasser said. “Evandro put us under pressure at the right time. We could have won the second, but it was really good to keep up in the third and keep believing and winning the match 15-13. That is a really good feeling, the same maybe as winning 2-0.”
Beeler added, “We had pressure with our service and had a good tactics on block-defence. We tried to play aggressive in the side-out and that was the key.”
Their other opponents in Pool B are 15th seeded Italians Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai and 18th ranked Lucerne Open winners Alex Ranghieri and Adrian Carambula, also from Italy.
“It’s a nice challenge,” Beeler reflected, “and it’s always easier to play against top teams.”
“We believe in ourselves and I think after winning against the first seeded in the pool there is no reason to believe we cannot do it again,” Strasser said.
The 28-year old Strasser has played on the World Tour for a number of years, but 22-year old Beeler made his debut this season.
The pair placed fourth at their first event, the Lucerne Open, finished 25th at the Gstaad Grand Slam, but were unable to progress beyond qualification at the Yokohama and Long Beach Grand Slams.
Strasser, a 2.02m tall blocker who played with Sebastien Chevallier and Mirco Gerson on the World Tour, is sure the results will come sooner or later.
“I have a young guy at my side now, who understands how to play and how to enjoy the game. That makes us strong,” he said. “I can do my job in blocking and I know I have a great defender behind me and that puts pressure on the other side and I think that’s what it is all about in beach volleyball."