Belgium wins much awaited derby with neighboring Oranjes, Israel upsets Estonia
2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men
Kortrijk, Belgium, September 8, 2012. The home heroes of Belgium scored on Saturday their second win at the European qualifier taking place in Kortrijk as they stormed back from two sets down and were able to survive five match balls before they eventually edged the Netherlands 3:2 (17-25, 20-25, 25-16, 25-18, and 20-18). With this result Belgium tops the charts of the group after two days of action.
In what was a real derby starring two neighboring countries, Tony Krolis and Jelte Maan set the pace for the Netherlands in the opening set (4:0, 16:10) and even some changes to Belgium’s starting six could not change the course of the game. Belgium stabilized their reception in set 2 so that setter Frank Depestele got more options in attack, calling for wing spiker Gert Van Walle or for the middle blockers Pieter Verhees and Simon Van de Voorde. Belgium went up 16:11 but the serving turn of Jeroen Rauwerdink flipped the charts around and the guests could go for the provisional 2:0. Jelte Maan delighted the audience by jumping over the press stands in set 3 but that rally was closed by Van de Voorde; finally Belgium found their best play with Van Walle that was well supported by Depestele, Kevin Klinkenberg and Gertjan Claes to go for the 1:2. The hosts stretched their momentum to set 4 where Van Walle was just outstanding and the Dutch guys looked tired. In the deciding tie-break, Belgium went up 10:5 but some blocks and the float service of Maan close the gap to 10:11. Belgium eventually saved five match balls before Verhees cashed their second opportunity to celebrate a splendid 3:2 win.
“My team is perhaps a little tired after playing four difficult matches in one week. However, we have to rest and get ready to play Israel on Sunday. Everything is possible in this tough group” said Dutch coach Edwin Benne. “We basically presented them with the second set but I am still pleased with our reaction and performance. The guys fought for every single point after a very difficult start” stated home mentor Dominique Baeyens.
In the second match of the day Israel caused a real surprise by edging Estonia 3:2 (25-21, 22-25, 18-25, 25-17, and 15-12). Estonia dissipated a 2:1 lead and the result confirms that Israel is not to be underestimated at all in what was already seen as an “iron Pool”.
Estonia opened with the right pace (8:5) anchored by Oliver Venno and Ardo Kreek before Israel fought their way back to seize the first set helped by an outstanding performance of Alexander Shafranovich. Genadi Sokolov and Shon Faiga helped Shafranovich pace Israel’s offense also in set 2 (20:19) but Venno and Siim Ennemuist could pocket that section of the game for Estonia (1:1). By scoring 12 points all alone, Venno was the absolute star of the match in set 3 and helped Estonia break away after the second mandatory stop. Even though Sokolov sprained his ankle and was out of contention, Israel played fearlessly in set 4 with Katzenelson and Shafranovich moving the score from 9:3 to 16:10, with Ariel Hilman calling for the tie-break.
Hilman, supported by Guy Ben Gal, who had replaced Sokolov, anchored Israel to a splendid 3:2 win that brought a big smile on the faces of the Dutch and Belgian supporters.
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