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15/09/2012 23:00
Spain qualifies for final round, Slovakia to have last chance in May
2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women

Ra’anana, Israel, September 15, 2012. On Saturday Spain qualified for the final round of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women after edging in Ra’anana the local heroines of Israel (25-19, 25-17, 21-25, and 25-19) to finish atop of the charts in Pool A. In the other match of the day Slovakia beat Sweden 3:0 (25-20, 25-17, and 25-12) to claim the second place in the charts and get a last chance to make it to the European Champs via the third qualification round coming up next May.  

After a strong opening by Sweden, Slovakia went to the front in the opening set (8:6) and extended that margin to 13:9 with the help of Veronika Hroncekova and Erika Salanciova. The side around head coach Miroslav Cada set the pace 16:12 at the second technical time-out but Sweden could reduce a bit the gap via the blocks of Tina Johansson and Madelene Green before Slovakia pocketed the final 25-20.  
Anchored by Martina Viestova, Slovakia cruised to a massive 8:2 in the second set and even though Sweden scored the next four, still Slovakia enjoyed a margin of eight (16:8) by the second mandatory stop. With good defense and the attacks of Brazilian-born Solange Soares Slovakia comfortably sailed to the final 25-17.
Things did not change in set 3 with Slovakia up 8:5 and 16:6 and going for a speedy 25-12 with the last point being contributed by Soares, top scorer of the match with 19 points.
“We played very good in all fundamentals and this made the difference today. I am very happy and finally these were two good weeks for our team” said the Slovak mentor.  
“We improve match by match and this is very important for us. I hope we can continue to progress and finally be able to challenge the strongest teams” added Sweden’s mentor Tina Celinder-Nygren.

Spain and Israel rounded out the program of the tournament with the match of the day and after Slovakia’s win over Sweden, the home ladies needed a 3:0 to finish second in the group.
Israel started out well (6:2) but Spain drew level at 8 via some mistakes of Israel; the guests went up 16:12 and 19:14, eventually cruising to the final 25-19.  
Spain set the pace of the game all the way through in set 2 going up 16:7 and responding very well to Israel’s attacks. Spain stretched the margin to 18:10 and kept momentum to wrap it up at 25-20. Israel went for all or nothing in set 3 (8:2), remained ahead (15:10) and after Spain closed it at 21 all, eventually scored the next four to call for the fourth set.
Helped by the local crowd Israel pushed also in set 4 (8:3, 10:5) but Spain fought back by the second technical time-out (18:15, 19:17) eventually pocketing that much desired win (25-19).
“We played an excellent game and I am very happy with this qualification for the European Championship since it pays back the hard work of the past weeks and months” said head coach Francisco Hervas.

Click here for more info, including detailed stats of the matches

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