Finland opens by routing Montenegro, Greece claims marathon with Romania
2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men
Trikala, Greece, September 6, 2012. Finland opened the European qualifier for the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Men taking place in Trikala by downing their opponents from Montenegro in three, straight sets (25-22, 27-25, and 25-20). Antti Siltala and Mikko Oivanen top scored for the Finns with 14 and 12 points respectively.
Finland made some mistakes in the opening set but their blocks paved the way for the final 25-22. Finland was challenged by Montenegro only as they tied the score at 22 with an excellent round from the serving line, before Siltala and two errors by Montenegro contributed the 25-22 that called for the provisional 1:0.
Montenegro dictated the pace of the game for most of the second set mainly via Marko Bojic and Aleksandar Milivojevic; however, Finland got back on track right by the time it counted the most, with Oivanen acing for the 25:24; the Finns missed on that set ball but a mistake by Milivojevic and Konstantin Shumov spiking directly after a poor reception by libero Ivan Rasovic sealed the final 27-25.
Everything was easy for Finland in set 3 (8:3, 13:6) that stretched the margin up to 10 points (19:9) and even though Montenegro got as close as to 23:19, the Suomis rushed to the final 25-20 and 3:0.
“I am satisfied even though the result is not good for us. We delivered a great performance, especially in the second set, but we are a young team and Finland has a longer bench. Tomorrow against Greece it will be a tough match but we came here to get positive results” stated Ivan Joksimovic, head coach of Montenegro, after the game.
“It was important for us to win the first match. We played good and we gained confidence. Only in the second set we had problems as the opponents risked with their serve. It is important also that we remained focused all the time. In theory we are the favorites of the group but we must show it out there on the court. We want to take as many points as possible before we travel home to play there the second round” said Finland’s mentor Daniel Castellani.
In the other match of the day Greece beat Romania 3:2 (25-14, 25-18, 21-25, 21-25, and 15-12) supported by some 2,500 fans that accompanied their heroes by calling loudly for “Hellas, Hellas”. Greece went up 2:0 but had to stand the furious comeback of Romania before finally taking the deciding tie-break and two points from this game.
Mitar Tzourits set the pace of the game for Greece in the first set (10:4), Christofidelis aced for the 16:9 before Kostas Prousalis and the blocks of Petreas increased the margin up to 21:12 thereby paving the way for the final 25-14.
Greece dominated the scene also in the second set (8:5, 16:12), Christofidelis aced once more for the 18:12; Romania went down 15:22 and Greece quickly wrapped it up at 25-18 for the 2:0.
Everything changed in set 3 where Romania went up 5:1, 10:4, 16:11 and 22:17 but the addition of Kokkinakis and Pelekoudas could change the course of the game, with the hosts coming back to -2 (23:21), before Romania scored the next two points and Razvan Mihalcea closed it out with a block on Ioannis Kyriakidis.
Greece fought hard to close the match in the fourth set but Romania set the pace there as well (8:7, 16:13); with two blocks by Adrian Gontariu on Ilias Lappas, the score moved to 20:14 and Romania cashed the fourth set ball to go for the 25-21 that called for the tie-break.
There Greece opened strong (3:1) and after going up 8:5 and 12:9, it was Petreas that sealed the final 3:2 victory (15-12).
“The first two sets were really bad for us; we played good in the next two but in the tie-break we made too many mistakes and Greece stepped up their quality. I am sure we can play better and bring it home the next time. The atmosphere was great” commented Romania’s coach Mariusz Sordyl.
“We had many ups and downs, we lost one point but were able to stand the pressure of this home debut. Romania played well in set 3 and 4 causing problems to our reception. Anyway, congratulations to my guys because they deserved this victory” stressed home mentor Alekos Leonis.
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