Norway’s Maaseide siblings looking forward to 2009 season

Kathrine Maaseide prepares for the 2009 season

Kathrine Maaseide prepares for the 2009 beach volleyball season. Photo:

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — Part of the Beach Volleyball scenes are “family affairs” with the brother and sister combinations, husband and wives watching each other play, and siblings following their mothers onto the international sands of the SWATCH FIVB World Tour.

Starting in 1996 at the first Olympic Beach Volleyball Games in Atlanta where the Hamilton brothers (Glenn and Reid) competed for New Zealand to the Beijing 2008 Summer Games where the Schwaiger sisters (Doris and Stephanie) placed fifth for Austria, “family affairs” have provided interesting happenings.

Entering the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Tour season, the main focus will be on the Brazilian Salgado clan (Carolina, Maria Clara and Pedro) along with the Schwaigers.  But, come June, the ranking family of Beach Volleyball will be the Maaseides as their Norwegian country will be hosting the SWATCH FIVB World Championships in Stavanger.

Both Bjorn and Kathrine Maaseide will be competing in their sixth SWATCH FIVB World Championships when the 10-day US$1 million event starts June 26 in Vaagen Harbour in the southwestern Norwegian port city of Stavanger where international Beach Volleyball events have been staged since 1999.

Bjørn Maaseide

Thanks to Bjørn Maaseide, Stavanger has become one unique site on the international beach volleyball circuit. Photo: Wikipedia

Due to Bjorn Maaseide’s effort, Stavanger has become one of the most unique sites on the annual international Beach Volleyball circuit where cruise ships and other sailing vessels dock along the Vaagen Harbour centre court to provide a setting unlike any other venue in the world.

“First of all, I am really motivated to continue to play, especially because of the world championships being held in Stavanger,” said 32-year-old Kathrine Maaseide, who has been playing on the SWATCH FIVB World Tour since 1999 with appearances with Susanne Glesnes in the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. “It will be a fantastic event.”

With Glesnes expecting her second child in early July, Kathrine Maaseide will be competing in the 2009 SWATCH FIVB World Championships presented by ConocoPhillips with 25-year-old Janne Kongshavn.  “Janne is full of fire and talent,” Kathrine Maaseide added. “We just have to work hard now to find the synergy together.”

While Kathrine Maaseide has competed in 118 FIVB-sanctioned events with Glesnes (103 events) and Kristine Wiig (15), Kongshavn played in her first SWATCH event in 2006 and has 22 international starts the past three years. While Maaseide has reached SWATCH quarter-finals five times with 197 FIVB wins in 438 matches, Kongshavn has never placed higher than 25th with a 9-29 FIVB match mark.

Kathrine Maaseide, who is currently training in Brazil with Kongshavn and their coach Vento (Richardo Brunale de Andrade), said that she will be “feeling no new pressures” this season with the world championships being in Norway as she seeks to better her ninth-place finish at the 2007 worlds in Switzerland with Glesnes.

“As a new team, I don’t feel the pressure concerning results,” said Kathrine Maaseide. “I think both Janne and I will play with the pressure we put on ourselves.  But, we are really excited about playing in front of 7,500 people at home.  I know it took me some years to not feel the pressure of playing in Stavanger, but I feel I got rid of it.  It has a lot to do with self-confidence, and of course, experience.  The key now is to make Janne feel comfortable playing with me along with feeling relaxed when we play in Stavanger.”

While Beach Volleyball continues to be her focus saying it still is a “mystery on what she will do after she completes her playing career,” Kathrine Maaseide hopes the efforts by Glesnes, Nila Ann Hakedal and Ingrid Torlen have been an “inspiration” to younger Norwegian women seeking a Beach Volleyball career.

“I hope so,” said Kathrine Maaseide about being an inspiration for younger players.  “When younger players come to our training sessions, I am trying to be helpful and inspiring with the kids.  I always try to have time for clinics when people ask.  I find that these clinics help inspire me as I see the excitement from the younger players as they look up to Susanne, Nila Ann and Ingrid for what we have accomplished.  The key is convincing young people that it takes time and a lot of hard work to play at an elite level.”

In joining her brother Bjorn Maaseide as the only brother-sister combination to compete in the same Olympic Beach Volleyball competition at the Athens 2004 Summer Games, Kathrine Maaseide and Glesnes ended the 2008 season strong with a ninth-place in Beijing where both of their losses were to teams that advanced to the Olympic “final four.”

Hakedal and Torlen also placed ninth in Beijing as both of their setbacks were to the Olympic finalists at the Norwegians lost to Americans Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh in pool play before being eliminated by Jia Tian and Jie Wang of China in the elimination round.

In forecasting the 2009 season, Kathrine Maaseide feels ”Brazil and China will still be strong, and also the Americans. I’m not sure at the moment what teams that will continue together, but I think for a few more years we will see China, Brazil and USA on the podium.

“I am eager to get the season started,” said Kathrine Maaseide.  “I am thankful that the world championships will not be our first event together. We have SWATCH tournaments in Brazil, China, Italy, Japan and Osaka along with European tour events to prepare for our appearance in Stavanger. Right now, I am really excited about our prospects.  Both Janne and I are working hard, so we feel we have a chance to be very competitive.  But playing against the best teams in the world can also be a very humbling experience, especially if you are not prepared to play.”

Content courtesy of: International Volleyball Federation


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