Kozuch all smiles with transition to beach volleyball

Vienna, Austria, July 30, 2017 - A year ago at this time, you would have received a hearty laugh if you told Germany’s Maggie Kozuch her indoor volleyball career had made the transition to the beach.

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All she is doing now is competing with Olympian Karla Borger in the FIVB World Championships. And you still can’t wipe the smile off of her face.

Borger took the plunge with Kozuch and brought her to the United States in February for the start of the 2017 FIVB World Tour at the Fort Lauderdale Major in Florida. They won only one of four matches in that event, but since, the progress is visible with finishes of ninth, fifth and ninth places in the succeeding events. They opened the 2017 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 with a victory and it was plain to see the improvement Kozuch has made.

“I’m just here. I think it’s easier to see from outside the court,” Kozuch said with her trademark smile. “There are still things that are new for me and some things work out and some not. For sure you can see the difference from February to today but for me it’s difficult to compare. I feel a little bit more secure in some elements and some things because I have more experience. On the other hand, there are some situations in which I don’t feel confident and that’s normal.”

Borger’s patience is paying off, and Kozuch’s smile is infectious to Borger.

“It’s unbelievable if you see her some months ago, she’s really progressed from week to week. It’s cool to see,” Borger said, before adding with a laugh: “I went to see some videos from the beginning of the season and now. She’s still not a beach volleyball player but she’s really close. What she’s doing on the court is amazing for an indoor player.”

Talking in Porec, where she teamed up with Laura Ludwig for the event, Maggie Kozuch describes her transition to beach volleyball

The duo opened with a tough 2-0 (21-16, 21-17) Pool D win over fellow Germans Julia Grossner and Nadja Glenzke. Perhaps a time or two, Kozuch’s anxiousness led to dipping into a ball Borger was ready to scoop up, but that’s just part of the growth the pair will endure. And Kozuch is more than willing to feed off of Borger’s emotion.

“Wow, I was so happy that she screamed out loud in two or three moments,” Kozuch said. “It was really important for the dynamic. It gave me a lot of ‘Yes, wow, we are here, let’s do this together. I got goose bumps because I really enjoy to stand next to her and to play and I can’t wait to play more with her.’

With a spot assured in the World Championships’ elimination rounds, Kozuch and Borger end pool play against German rivals Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst with a centre court match at 14.00 (local time) on Monday in the first FIVB World Tour meeting between the two teams.

Both teams won their second match Saturday with Ludwig/Walkenhorst defeating Glenzke/Grossner 2-1(17-21, 21-15, 15-12) and Borger/Kozuch besting Mahassine Siad/Imane Zeroual of Morocco 2-0 (21-10, 21-11).  Ludwig and Walkenhorst opened World Championship play Friday with a 2-0 (21-10, 21-12) win over the Moroccans.


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