Romania edges Cyprus in five and steps closer to second round berth
2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men
Limassol, Cyprus, May 13, 2012. Romania scored a decisive victory in five sets over Cyprus Sunday evening in Limassol for the first round of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship and moved one step closer to advance to the next stage of the competition scheduled for this coming September. The visiting team, however, had to come back from a crucial 24:20 for Cyprus in the first set, to rally for six straight points, take an overall lead and eventually finish the match 2-3 (24-26, 26-24, 14-25, 25-22, 6-15).
Despite the way the first set was lost, Cyprus continued to challenge Romania in the second set and gained a quick 20:15 lead. When Romania closed in at 21:20 it seemed like a repeat of the opening set, but Cyprus held on to win the two decisive points at 24:24 with an attack by Gavrilis Georgiou and an ace by captain Nikos Kolas to tie the overall score at 1-1.
Romania came away with an easy third set, before the home team pulled together to come back from 15:18 in the fourth and go on to score four straight points at 20:21 to come ahead 24:21 and force the game into a tie-break.
The fifth set, however, was a walkover for Romania, who shot off to a 1:11 lead and never looked back.
Romania scored off 16 block points (to Cyprus’ 15) and 8 aces (to 5) and rounded off the victory with 50/122 kills (41%) to Cyprus’ 46/118 (39%). Romania’s opposite Ciprian Matei was top scorer of the match with 27 points, followed by Cyprus’ Georgiou with 22.
“I expected it to be a difficult match,” said Romania’s head coach, Dan Gavril, after the match. “We are a brand new team that hadn’t played a single official or friendly match until today and that’s why our performance was not that good. We still have our ups and downs from point to point and set to set, but I think that eventually it was our efficient serving that clinched the match.”
“The first set was decisive, when we blacked out at 24:20 and dropped it from within our hands,” added Costas Delikostas, head coach of Cyprus. “Our performance today was not satisfactory, especially in receiving, but if we play up to par next Saturday, I still think we have a fair chance.”
The two teams face off against each other next Saturday in Piatra-Neamt for the away match.
Picture: top scorer of the game, Ciprian Matei of Romania attacks before the Cyprus block of Gavrilis Georgiou and Anthimos Economides