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06/09/2012 18:00
Croatia cruises to convincing win over Team GB, easy debut for Romania
2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women

Piatra Neamt, Romania, September 6, 2012. The second round qualifier – Pool D for the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women started on Thursday in Piatra Neamt with Croatia downing Great Britain in three straight sets (25-21, 25-18, and 25-20).
Croatia started well with setter Bernarda Brcic feeding opposite Sanja Popovic and outside hitter Mira Topic for the provisional 8:6 at the first technical time-out. Ivana Milos and Antonija Kaleb stretched the margin via some massive blocks (16:8) before Great Britain responded with good actions in defense by libero Maria Bertelli and the offensive power displayed by team captain Lynne Beattie and opposite Rachel Bragg. The 2012 Olympians mentored by Audrey Cooper managed to cut the gap but Croatia clawed back with excellent blocks and attacks to go for the final 25-21 and provisional 1:0.
Great Britain opened set 2 pretty well with setter Lucy Wicks opting regularly for Beattie as she was causing troubles to Croatia’s block and defense system. However, Croatia responded with Mira Topic on fire, so some good serves and attacks paved the way for the 16:14 that called for the second technical time-out. Great Britain fought hard to keep the score close but could not avoid Croatia rush for the final 25-18.
With good defense and the always dangerous attacks killed by Lynne Beattie, Great Britain got to the front in set 3 (8:6) but Croatia responded well with Popovic and the blocks stamped by Kaleb. Still Great Britain enjoyed a narrow margin by the second technical time-out (16:15) but Popovic was one of a kind taking her side by the hand and going for the 25-20 that closed the game in straight sets.

In the second match of the day the local heroines of Romania delighted their home fans by routing Portugal in straight sets (25-17, 25-18, and 25-11).
Romania started out strong with good defense helping setter Diana Calota (Neaga) feed properly wing spiker Elena Lapusneanu (Zaharia) who successfully killed quite many attacks. Portugal responded mainly with Dulce Santos Machado and Nuria Lopes Da Silva but Romania was simply too solid going up 8:4 and then stretching the lead to 16:10 via the spikes killed by Denisa Rogojinaru. The set ended quickly in a 25-17 for the home side that re-asserted its dominance also in set 2 via middle blocker Iuliana Nucu and opposite Daiana Muresan (8:4, 16:10); the final 25-18 was soon there and Romania totally dominated the scene also in set 3, with impressive 8:0 and 16:4 leads at the first and second mandatory stop and the match ending in a massive 25-11 for the final 3:0.

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