Hlupic, De Jager win men’s beach volleyball title

SWAKOPMUND – The Bank Windhoek National Open Beach Volleyball Tournament at the Swakopmund Mole Beach last weekend was a huge success with 27 strong participants who vied for supremacy.

The teams consisted of 12 men’s and 5 ladies’ teams, 5 mixed 4-a-side teams, mixed social teams and 5 junior girls teams. All participants delivered thrilling action as the weather made it easier for them, while the spectator turnout for the two-day event was impressive, according to organisers. The 5 junior girls teams played a ‘Queen of the Beach’ competition over ten matches, with changing partners, to determine the best individual player. Kristin Schulz was the winner with 7 victories, while Carmen Curschmann came in 2nd and Juliane Schuckmann took 3rd place.

The 5 mixed 4-a-side teams battled it out in the soft sand on the beach with the final match played between Farmers Attack and ‘Ek kom nou’. Farmers Attack managed to win the final in 2-1 sets, while ‘The Scoops’ won their play-off match for 3rd position against FX Fitness. In the 5 ladies teams competition, top seeded U-21 national team players Julia Laggner and Saskia Henckert reached the final after brushing aside veterans Wiebke Hoeritzauer and Antje Kesselmann in straight sets. The other semi-final match saw Rosi Hennes and Teja Lück play against Anita Kinder and Simone von Wietersheim in a very close match, with Kinder and Von Wietersheim taking revenge for their defeat in the group phase to qualify for the final.

The final saw Laggner and Henckert comfortably winning the first set 21-13, while the second set was equal up to the end. Although both teams had a chance to finish the set, it was Laggner and Henckert who won it 25-23 and gaining the title in 2-0 sets. The 3rd place play-off was won by Hennes and Lück. The 12 men teams battled it out in two groups of six, with the top four teams of each group advancing to the knock-out phase. The first semi-final match saw Tin Hlupic and Brendon de Jager play against Marc Neuhaus and Arno Pack. Hlupic and De Jager had no problems winning comfortably by 2-0 sets to reach the final. The second semi-final saw veterans team Achim Lück and Peter Brinkmann playing against James Verrinder and Gerard Fischer.

Verrinder and Fischer won the first set 21-15, but Lück and Brinkmann put up a great fight in the second set and won it by 26-24, forcing the match into the tie break third set. Verrinder and Fischer led comfortably due to unforced errors by their opponents, and managed to win that set by 15-11 to advance to the final.

The last match proved to be a thriller with both teams playing on equal terms, with Fischer and Verrinder winning the first set 26-24, but it was not yet over as Hlupic and De Jager came back in the second set, winning it comfortably and forcing the match into a tie break third set. Hlupic and De Jager made sure they repeated their victory from the first round to win the final and subsequently won the men’s title of the National Open Beach Volleyball tournament.

By Staff Reporter