2017-07-30 12:07:00 CEST
Flier and van Iersel may have been a late addition, but they are making their World Champs count
From the lows of missing out, to the highs of earning a place at the 11th hour, the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 has already been a rollercoaster experience for Manon Flier and Marleen van Iersel.
Throw in the fact that this is Flier’s very first season on the sand, then this becomes undoubtedly a trip to Vienna to savor for the Dutch pair.
When you’re starting out as a new partnership it can be hard to find the rhythm, but this duo may have just found their breakthrough moment.
That came in their first victory of the competition, against higher-ranked Chinese team Wang Fan and Yue Yuan in a breathless three-set outing, the latest whirlwind occasion they thought may not happen just a few months ago.
“When we started playing together at the beginning of this year, our main aim was the World Championships so it was a massive disappointment and bummer to miss out on qualification and the wildcard,” said Flier.
“We knew we were on the reserve list so we knew we might have a chance, but when we found out we were absolutely amazed, there was a lot of celebration after finding out and we were all so delighted.
“To start with we get on well together, but when it comes to playing together it was hard to begin with. She knows how it is to play for prizes, and I do as well, but not on the beach!
“I feel like a child again and it’s hard to be yourself. I know myself as a confident player, but to be that confident on the beach is so hard – I don’t have a base to rely on so it’s about building that up.
“Wins like this help so much, not just for me but for both of us individually and as a partnership too. We work so hard and a lot of the time we’re hanging in there because we lose, but wins like this show you that you are on the right track, this could be a real breakthrough.”
While Flier may feel like she has returned to youth taking baby steps on a new court, van Iersel has certainly been there, done that and got the t-shirt.
That comes in the shape of four previous World Championships, each one leading to a top-ten finish, though even she is continuing to learn on the Viennese sand.
Against China that came to the fore in magnificent style, taking the opening set 22-20 in a rubber that neither team was able to break free in for long.
The second was to go Wang and Yue’s way but, playing their best beach volleyball of the competition so far, the Dutch duo shone to win the decider 15-12 in a game almost lasting an hour against the 18th seeds.
“We’ve been struggling for a while, we’re a new team looking for victories and there has been progression, we just haven’t been getting the results we’ve wanted,” Flier added.
“To have this at a World Championships against a good team like China is really great, we’ve had our ups and downs in the game but it was a great contest, but to keep playing like that and to bring the game home is amazing.
“We were not going to let this slip, we had our strategy and we felt good – our service game was strong and China were playing very well, they didn’t give us anything and we had a tough time to make points, but we played well and took some chances.
“We made less mistakes, we’ve been making a lot of unforced errors in our previous games and we made 21 alone against Canada – we played really well but if you have that many errors then it’s really hard to beat any team, so it was really pleasing to be able to correct that.”
One more win could be enough for the Dutch duo to take their place in the knockout stages, with their final pool game to come against Marta Menegatti and Rebecca Perry of Italy at 4pm CET on Monday.
Watch that, and all the games from the World Championships, live on BeachStream. Click here to sign-up!
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