Louis Daignault (ISN)
June 22, 2013, UMAG, Croatia (ISN) – Grant O’Gorman of Toronto and Aaron Nusbaum of Aurora, Ont., strung together three victories on Saturday to advance to the men’s semifinals at the FIVB U23 World Championships in beach volleyball.
O’Gorman and Nusbaum, the bronze medallists at the 2011 World Youth Championships, also held in Umag, opened the playoffs with a 21-16, 21-18 victory over Thomas Hartles and Jesse Hawkins of New Zealand.
Then in the round of 16, the Canadians upset fifth seeds Fabio Rodrigo Castro Bastos and Saymon Barbosa Santos of Brazil 19-21, 21-15, 15-10. In the quarterfinals they eliminated Max Beyzien and Max-Konas Karpa of Germany 21-16, 12-21, 15-10.
“It was tough run. It had to be three in a row today”, Nusbaum said. “And two ended in a tiebreak.”
The most memorable match was the elimination of Brazil’s top team Fabio and Saymon. “After going down in the first set we refocused and executed at the right time. But it was probably the hardest match we ever played.”
It did not stop them from claiming a final four spot after their last win over the German qualifiers. “We came down very smooth in this game, but lost the second. We just refocused and went back to what we were doing in the first.”
In the semifinal they are up against Russia’s Viacheslav Kirienko and Dmitry Uraikin, last year’s bronze medallists at the Youth World Championships. “Tomorrow is a brand new day”, Nusbaum commented. “We are going to have a good rest, refocus and we will be back tomorrow.”
The final is also on Sunday.
On the women’s side, ninth-seeds Sophie Bukovec and Ali Wooley of Toronto lost in the first knockout round to Anna Behlen and Yanina Weiland of Germany 21-9, 21-15 to finish in 17th place.
Greg Simone of London, Ont., and Gabriel Burlacu of Tecumseh, Ont., also lost in the men’s first knockout round to Michal Bryl and Kacper Kujawiak of Poland 21-16, 21-12 for 33rd place.