Rosarito, Mexico - Elite 16 - Beach Pro Tour 2022 - News

26_BPT Rosarito - Semifinals - NEDvsNOR

The physical ability to dominate opponents has taken Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen a long way. The Dutch Bash Brothers performed at the absolute best of their playing style at the Rosarito Elite 16 event, and were rewarded with their first medal on the Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour, a silver.

Partners since 2011, Brouwer and Meeuwsen were world champions two years later and claimed bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics. In their best moments, hitting the ball hard has been key to their success.

During their spectacular run to the gold medal match in Rosarito, where they eventually fell to world ranking leaders Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar, the Europeans produced the kind of numbers that show how well they utilise their main assets.

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Brouwer, 32, ranked first over the entire tournament with 118 kills. In all but one of the team's six matches in Rosarito - the final - the experienced defender registered at least 15 kills, nearly doubling that number to 29 in the team’s final pool play match against Americans Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabb.

Meeuwsen, 34, was on fire from the service line, tallying a tournament-best 16 aces. He scored from the service line in five of the team’s six matches in Mexico and had an impressive five aces against Bourne and Crabb.

One of the highlights of the Dutch team's campaign in Rosarito was certainly their two victories over reigning Olympic champions Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway. With Brouwer producing 24 kills and Meeuwsen firing three aces in the semifinals, it would have been hard for any team in the world to beat them.

Mol was also in top form in his first tournament of 2022, producing more points than any other player entered in the event at 125. His 35 blocks were the most in the category and his 15 aces were second only to Meeuwsen’s 16.

06_BPT Rosarito - Men QF NORvsBRA

Mol was his usual self, dominating opponents at the net

Dutch offensive efficiency was also seen in the women’s tournament, which was won by Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon. The 23-year-old Stam was the top scorer of the event in Rosarito with 141 points. She also had more kills than any other woman at 118.

Bronze medallists Talita Antunes and Rebecca Cavalcanti of Brazil built their remarkable campaign, which started in the qualifier and ended on the podium, on their blocking and serving game. While the 39-year-old Talita led all blockers with 21 points, the 28-year-old Rebecca was the most lethal server with 15 aces.

Latvian Olympian Tina Graudina, who claimed silver with partner Anastasija Kravcenoka in Rosarito, produced a great demonstration of how impactful her blocking can be in international beach volleyball. The 24-year-old struggled in pool play, producing just three block points in three matches. She was on fire on Saturday, however, registering 16 blocks across two matches (nine against Americans April Ross and Emily Day and seven against Talita and Rebecca) and helping the team move forward to the gold medal match. The fact that she didn’t get a single stop against the Dutch was certainly one of the factors that prevented the Latvians from taking the title in Rosarito.

The top players in the world will have almost two months to prepare for the next Elite 16 event of the season, in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and will certainly be ready to produce outstanding numbers once again.