The question the Norwegians themselves can’t really answer is: How did this happen so fast?
Sorum and Mol tucked away their seventh gold medal of the season by topping Brazilians Alison Cerutti and Alvaro Filho 2-0 (21-11, 21-17) in the finals of the FIVB A1 Vienna Major presented by Swatch on Sunday.
It was pointed out that in June of 2018, they weren’t even on the same team. When they joined forces, they basically warmed up during three tournaments, then arrived in Switzerland for the Gstaad Major.
They won three consecutive tournaments to close the year. In 2019, they have won 61 of 65 matches, so since Gstaad of 2018 Sorum and Mol’s record is 78-5.
“It’s so hard to describe because one year ago, two years ago, we were watching the stars on YouTube,” Sorum said. “I was playing some qualifications, some opens and two years later we are No. 1 in the world, and we play in tournaments in front of people like this, we beat teams like Alison, a legend in the sport.”
Before the beach volleyball crazed Austrians on a bright, warm day, Sorum and Mol raced to their ninth medal in 11 tournaments this season. Their victory before a cascade of Norwegian flags was their 20th consecutive triumph.
“We try to put that in perspective,” Mol said. “Every time we win another tournament, it’s a little difficult to realize what is happening in the last year. On the level we keep playing on, it’s really special.
“We’re happy with the season already and we have been for a long time. We just never get tired of this feeling, so we’ll keep on going as long as we can.”
Both Norwegians were quick to add that it just might get a little tougher for the rest of the world to catch up.
“We’re just starting,” Sorum, 23, said. “It’s only the beginning.”
“This is only the beginning and there are still some younger bulls coming up in my family and they want to beat us,” Mol, 22, said. “So, we have to keep improving every year.”
The seven victories in one season is the second most in FIVB World Tour history. Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser won nine in 2010 and Mol and Sorum joined Brazilians Franco Neto/Roberto Lopes, Emanuel Rego/Ricardo Santos, Jose Loiola/Emanuel and Ricardo/Emanuel on seven.
“Just naming those names is giving me goosebumps,” Sorum said. “It’s special to be a part of this amazing sport.”
Alison and Alvaro, who are in their first season together, captured their third medal in 11 events on Sunday. They fell behind early in the first set, then held leads of three points at three different spots in the second.
A hit by Mol broke a 16-16 tie and started a wave of four consecutive points for the Norwegians.
“They’ve been the best team in the world for the last year and it’s important for us to play them,” Alison said. “The last time I played them was one year ago and it’s impressive how much better they’ve got.
“They’re young, but very calm and they know when to change their strategy, which is not usual for players of their age. I feel like we didn’t play as well as we could in the final, but it’s a big opportunity for us to learn and improve.”
In the bronze medal match, Poland’s Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl defeated Dalhausser and Nick Lucena of the United States, 2-1 (21-17, 17-21, 15-11).
The A1 Major Vienna men's podium featured (left to right) Alvaro, Alison, Sorum, Mol, Bryl and Fijalek.
“If you can win against Phil and Nick that’s proper motivation,” said Fijalek, who had two back-breaking aces in the third set as the duo captured its sixth medal in 28 tournaments. “We are in a good way right now. Hopefully this tournament will help us win at a better rate.”
Dalhausser had five of his 10 blocks in the second set, but Fijalek’s first ace broke a 7-7 deadlock and the Americans couldn’t catch up.
“The difference was Fifi’s four or five points in the third set there,” Dalhausser said. “I thought it was a pretty even match, but they played great.”