2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup

  • Maria Tsiartsiani back in business
    2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup

    Athens, Greece, May 23, 2014. After taking the 7th place in Thailand at the Bangsaen Open in October 2012, Maria Tsiartsiani withdrew from the beach volleyball tournaments due to a shoulder injury that had to be treated. In the months after her withdrawal she gave birth to her first child - her daughter Sophia who is now 7 months old.

    Almost twenty months after her last appearance on the international beach volleyball scene Maria is back in action as Greece’s coach Kostas Tampouratzis put her name on the national squad roster and she will partner again with her former teammate Vicky Arvaniti.

    “As I stated last year, my priority at that time was my daughter and my health… As time goes by and my daughter is growing up, I feel the desire to get back on the sand and since the doctors reassured me that my shoulder is OK, I wanted to try again,” said the 34-year-old player and admitted that she has “this strange feeling - everything looks familiar but at the same time everything seems so new.”

    “For twenty months my life was in a totally different route but I really have the desire to get back to the court again, to start practicing and play on high level,” Maria explained. “Personally I am curious if I will be able to get back on the same level as I used to be, but with Vicky’s help I think I can do it. At least I will give it a try.”

    Maria and Vicky have been a pair in beach volleyball since 2009, but after their reunion they will have a third person on their team.

    “Sophia will be our mascot, our lucky charm…,” said Vicky who is thrilled with the return of Maria. “I felt like on our first day as a pair back in 2009 and I am really happy that she is back. We know each other very well, but for sure she is going to need some time to get back in full shape.”

    This year Arvaniti will end her partnership with Penny Karagkouni, a team that won the silver medal at the Mediterranean Games in Mersin, Turkey and ranked 5th at the 2013 CEV Beach Volleyball European Championship - Final in Klagenfurt. Penny’s new partner will be Evi Christou.

    “It was a good experience playing with Penny, and I believe that I helped her with my experience. I think after the return of Maria we have two good pairs that can compete on high level,” said Vicky.

  • 22/06/2014 02:09
    Greece cruises to third round after winning first place in Schinias
    2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup

    Schinias, Greece, June 21, 2014. The women’s beach volleyball national team of Greece won the first place in Pool E of the first round of the 2014-2016 CEV Beach Volleyball Continental Cup. The home heroines achieved a straight win against Malta in the semifinals and repeated their performance in the final match-up against Belarus, which had defeated Romania. On Sunday morning Romania and Malta will battle to stay in contention for the second place in the pool, as the winner of this match-up will get to measure up to Belarus in the afternoon.

    Greece 2, Malta 0

    Maria Tsiartsiani made her new international debut after an 18-month absence as she and her partner Vasiliki Arvaniti were the first to take on the center court in Schinias on Saturday morning. They did not encounter any problems against Malta’s Maria Demicoli / Daniela Maria Bonnici, defeating them in 26 minutes by 2:0 (21-7, 21-9). On the second court, the game was somewhat more competitive, but Greece’s Panagiota Karagkouni / Evangelia Christou still managed to shut out their Maltese opponents by 2:0 (21-16, 21-15) for 34 minutes and the home team made it to the final.

    Belarus 2, Romania 0

    In the second semifinal in Schinias, both Belarusian duos managed to win in straight sets against their Romanian opponents. On center court Alena Bernatovich / Valeryia Babenka shut out Andreea-Maria Barsasteanu / Beatrice Galit by 2:0 (21-15, 21-10) in 34 minutes. Viktoryia Siakretava / Viktoryia Shalayeuskaya needed only half an hour to overcome Ioana-Alexandra Ordean / Adriana Melniciuc by 2:0 (21-13, 21-7).

    Greece 2, Belarus 0

    In this final match-up, Greece was once again convincing and showed its superiority over the opponent with two straight-set wins. Vasiliki Arvaniti / Maria Tsiartsiani overpowered Siakretava / Shalayeuskaya in a game that showed their high level. The Belarusian team could not do much when the Greek girls served and attacked, so the victory came easily by 2:0 (21-13, 21-15) in 39 minutes. It was even easier for Karagkouni / Christou against Bernatovich-Babenka. The Greeks won the first set by 21-9, but the second one was more competitive, at least during the first half of the set. The Greek girls powered up at this point and took the set by 21-17 to secure their country’s participation directly in the third round of the Continental Cup next year.