Technology and late nights help young Austrians

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Baku, June 19, AZERTAC

Some high-tech software, a handheld video camera, a laptop and countless man hours have all been crucial in Austrian pair Lena Maria Plesiutschnig and Katharina Schutzenhofer's surprise run in the women's Beach Volleyball.

Thanks to funding from the Austrian government's Rio 2016 programme, the team has been using Data Volley, software that enables coaches to record, analyse and package every serve, reception, set, attack and block.

"I think it is very important. We get some tactics to predict what balls we can play. Without this it is very difficult for a young team to figure out what they (the opposition) are doing," said Schutzenhofer after a 2-1 victory on Thursday evening against Sophie Van Gestel and Jantine Van Der Vlist.

The Dutch were many people's tip for gold but found themselves up against a team armed with in-depth information on how they play.

"When she (Van Der Vlist) was at the middle at the outset we knew which places we should protect," said Schutzenhofer.

Such information does not, however, come easily.

"Yesterday (the final Pool A group match on Wednesday evening) we played at 10pm. The coach of the team came to me at 1am, I gave him the material. I don't think he went to bed until 3am," explained Martin Plessl, scout for the Austrian team.

The Austrians next meet Russian pair Mariia Prokopeva and Ekaterina Syrtceva, who upset the much-fancied Finns, Riikka Lehtonen and Taru Lahti.

Having heard that Plessl had predicted his charges would be playing Finland in Friday's quarter final, the two Russians remained unimpressed by his abilities.

"The ball is round and anything can happen," said Syrtceva, before Prokopeva added, "We'll do what we can and we will see who expects what."

Of course, Plessl had taped the entire match. Another long night awaits the scout.

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