Olsztyn, Poland, August 28, 2015 – Latvia’s Martins Plavins and Haralds Regza were roared into the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour elimination rounds on Friday by a host of their compatriots who had travelled to Poland to cheer them on.
The pair defeated Mexico’s Juan Virgen and Lombardo Ontiveros 2-0 (21-18, 21-13) to go with another 2-0 (21-19, 21-17) victory over Austria’s Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst that meant they reached the elimination rounds that start on Saturday.
Up to 100 fans have hit the road to Poland and they haven’t been shy in making their presence known, both for Plavins and Regza and their compatriots Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins.
“Because of them we beat Austria yesterday and they helped us a lot today,” Plavins said. “During the first set the score was very tight and I think after the first set the Mexicans didn’t believe they could beat us and the fans, so the second set was easier for us.
“They come every year and every year there are more and more. I think next year there will be even more.”
Plavins has happy memories of Poland. In 2012 he and Janis Smedins won their first World Tour gold medals together, just after a week after they won bronze at the London 2012, Olympic Games.
This year he and Regza won gold at the Baku 2015, European Games in only their third tournament together and since then they made their World Tour debut as a team at the Long Beach Grand Slam last week.
“Back then it was unbelievable,” Plavins said. “Twenty-twelve was very successful. It was my first chance to win a gold in a Grand Slam and it was unbelievable. I will never forget it.
“The European Games helped me chose a partner for this Olympic Games cycle. It was big and it is seen as the same as the European Championships.”
Lucena calls for improvement
Nick Lucena admitted that he and Phil Dalhausser need to raise their game if they want to progress to the latter stages in Olsztyn.
The pair wrapped up pool play with a 2-0 (22-20, 21-14) win over French pair Jean-Baptiste Daguerre and Yannick Salvetti. It means they begin the elimination rounds having won two of their three pool matches after initially going through qualifying.
The pair only recently teamed up and won silver at the Long Beach Grand Slam last week, which was their first World Tour tournament together.
“We’re a little tired from the season,” Lucena said. “This tournament has been the hardest and been a good test for us.
“We’ve been struggling as a team energy wise and we’ve had some success the last three tournaments, but things aren’t going our way, so to come out and win that one is a good, but we’ve got to play a lot better or we’re going to lose our game.
“They played tough the first game and we had to play well to beat them. They won a lot of scrambled plays, but the second one was a little easier.”
For all the Olsztyn Grand Slam men’s results, click