French city of Montpellier is turning into the center of Beach Volley for WEVZA countries this weekend, with the celebration of the WEVZA Beach Volleyball Zonal Event Indoor. Teams from the countries members of the association gathered for a first day in which the favorite presented their power in the initial matches.

This is the second international event taking place this year in Montpellier after the women-only CEV Satellite that the city and the local Beach Volleyball club hosted last June.

The 12 participating teams were divided into four pools of three teams each; after completion of pool play the tournament will continue on Saturday with the knock-out phase and come to an end on Sunday, November 16, with the final and classification matches.

The women’s entry lists are topped by Italy’s Giulia Momoli and Laura Giombini who recently claimed a fifth place at the FIVB Challenger in Pattaya, Thailand. They did not have to sweat at all to win their first match in the tournament as they exploited the withdrawal of their French opponents Anastassia Koutchouk/Alexandra Jupiter. Second-seeded Laura Longuet and Deborah Giaoui of France were also off to a flying start with a speedy 21-9, 21-6 victory over their countrywomen Candice Peter and Inès Ben Jaddi.

The third and fourth seeds of the tournament, France’s Melinda Adelin/Mathilde Giordano and Germany’s Sandra Ittlinger/Yanina Weiland also claimed their first match in the pool with straight-set victories over two young pairs from Spain. These Spanish tandems were celebrating their international debut and in the end did not make it out of pool play.

A total of five French teams have already progressed to the single elimination round, including U20 pairs Aline Chamereau/Ophélie Lusson, Pauline Lassale/Manon Rebuffel and Alexia Richard/Margaux Carrère. “We are looking forward to playing strong teams from other countries,” they said. “It is very important for us that we can play tournaments also during the winter season and we wish there would be more events like this one here in Montpellier.”
The women’s quarter-finals will start on Saturday at 2:45pm and will be joined – beside the five French duos – also by Italy’s Momoli/Giombini and Laura Cavalluzzi/Jessica Jenifer Luca and by Germany’s Sandra Ittlinger/Yanina Weiland.

The men’s competition got started on Friday with France’s Tristan Szapiro/Cyril Maurel claiming the derby with their countrymen Yousri Anegay/Matthieu Estanave (21-19, 19-21, 15-8) to advance to the main draw together with another two teams from France – Yann Faure/Théophile Carrau and Maxime Thiercy/Tanguy Lomba – and Italy’s Matteo Galli/Tiziano Andreatta.

The top teams started out strong in the main draw and on Saturday morning will play their last match in the pool hoping to get a good draw in the quarter-finals. Maxime Thiercy – a bronze medallist from this year’s U21 World Championship in Cyprus – and Tanguy Lomba recorded a 21-18, 23-21 victory over Italy’s Andrea Galli and Tiziano Andreatta. “We did our best in our first match with France’s top team Youssef Krou and Edouard Rowlandson but we knew they were too strong for us as they recently won the FIVB Open in Xiamen, China. So we knew we had to win that second match in order to stay alive in the tournament and we are satisfied with our performance against the Italians,” Thiercy and Lomba said.

Another strong team from France who has been competing on the World Tour, Jean-Baptiste Daguerre and Yannick Salvetti, started their campaign by routing Spain’s Ferran Serra and David Jarque Rodriguez by 21-11, 21-12. Arnaud Gauthier-Rat and Arnaud Loiseau – who this summer represented France at the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing – beat their countrymen Faure and Carrau in two sets as well (21-15, 21-19). “We started each set very bad but we came back strong and finished it in the best way,” they said.

The men’s quarter-finals will start on Saturday afternoon at 5:45pm.

The Western European Volleyball Zonal Association (WEVZA) is the youngest among Europe’s five Zonal Associations and was established last year on the eve of the XXXIV CEV General Assembly held in Copenhagen, Denmark. The eight member countries of WEVZA are Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

Click here to access to all the results of the tournament.

Click here to access to the photo gallery of the tournament.