Schwerin, Germany, September 6, 2013. Defending champion Serbia fell short against courageously fighting Bulgaria in a remarkable five-set thriller (25-23, 25-13, 22-25, 28-30, 13-15). In Pool D’s second match of the day, the Czech Republic overpowered Poland in extremis 24-26, 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 15-12.
In an exciting match, Serbia dominated throughout most of the game but Bulgaria never gave in and turned the game around in a heroic fashion. In the “Sport- und Kongresshalle” in Schwerin, 1.211 spectators saw a very entertaining match with many turning points, and Bulgaria being the more fortunate of the two very good teams.
Bulgaria grabbed the early 2-0 lead but Serbia reacted strongly with a 4-0 run to turn the score to 4-2. In the early stages of the match, both teams were obviously nervous making several mistakes in their offensive play. At the first technical time-out, Serbia took a small lead of 8-7. During the first half of the first set, no team was able to extend its lead to more than 2 points showing the equal level of both teams at that stage of the game. At the second technical time-out Bulgaria lead by 16-14 due to their good blocking game. In a very close match up, Serbia grabbed the first set using their second set point 25-23. Strashimira Filipova on Bulgarian and Jovana Brakocevic on Serbian side were the standouts for their teams with 6 points each.
In the second set Serbia was the first team to create a six-point lead at 12-6. Especially Brakocevic (SRB) put great pressure on the Bulgarian defence with her blasting serves. At the second technical time-out, Serbia exceeded its lead with a 6-0 run to 16-6. Bulgaria could not find an answer to the variable offensive power of Serbia that positioned its key player Brakocevic (SRB) extremely well. After 22 minutes, Serbia took the second set in a dominating fashion with 25-13.
After a dominating second set by Serbia Bulgaria came back fighting courageously keeping the game close at the first technical time-out (8-7), even taking the lead after a 4-0 run shortly afterwards (8-11). Now highly motivated to keep the run going, Bulgaria played superb volleyball exceeding its lead to 13-20. Elitsa Vasileva (BUL) contributed 6 points to a now powerful Bulgarian offence that played creatively confusing the Serbian defence. On the other side, the Bulgarian defence found a better way to hold off the Serbian offence by claiming 6 block points. Although Serbia decreased the lead they could not stop its enthusiastic opponent who won the third set 22-25.
In the fourth set Serbia came out fighting hard taking an early lead of 8-4 at the first technical time-out. Especially the offence looked very strong now and forced its opponent to quite a few unforced errors increasing the lead to 6 points at the second technical time out (16-10). Serbia kept this lead throughout most of the set. But in the end Bulgaria was on fire and able to put more pressure on the Serbian defence to turn around the game. An exciting game developed in the final stages of the match with continuously switching leads. In the end, Bulgaria showed more heart winning the set with its fifth set point 28-30 in a heroic fashion.
Bulgaria took the early initiative in tiebreak play leading 7-3. Serbia bounced back closing the gap to a 1-point margin (8-9). Bulgaria fought bravely claiming the first surprise of the championship beating Serbia 15-13 winning the tie-break and the match 3:2 overall.
Serbia captain Maja Ognjenovic ''We started well but then lost concentration and made too many mistakes. Congratulation to Bulgaria, they fought well. It is only the first game, so we can still advance.”
Bulgaria captain Strashimira Filipova: ''Our organization was very good after the second set and we were fighting very hard all together. Now we want to finish first the group.”
Serbia head coach Zoran Terzic: ''We lost the match in the third set. I have no explanation why we played a different game after the first two sets.”
Bulgaria head coach Marcello Abbondanza: “We are very happy that we overpowered a very strong team. After the first set we showed great energy to find to our game.”
Czech ladies beat Poland in marathon match
The Czech Republic claimed their first victory in Pool D after defeating a strong Polish team in five sets (24-26, 25-21, 25-21, 24-26, 15-12). 1.372 spectators witnessed a very close match up with excellent volleyball from both teams. Best player of the day was Andrea Kossanyiova of the Czech team with superb spikes from the left.
In the first set, the team from the Czech Republic took the first lead (6-3) taking advantage of quite nervous Polish players who had a few unforced errors early in the game. Throughout the entire set, the Czech ladies kept a small lead of not more than three points. However, in crunch time of the first set Poland turned the tables taking their first lead at 23-22 winning the set in 29 minutes 26-24. The Czech team struggled late in the set, especially in defensive play. Andrea Kossanyiova (CZE) was the leading scorer with six points.
The second set started with a series of errors on both sides. Both attacking players of Poland and the Czech Republic dominated this phase of the game with well-placed spikes. At the first technical time-out, Poland trailed their opponent by only one point (7-8). During this stage of the set, no team could extend their lead until Czech's Kossanyiova smashed the Mikasa down to make it 18-16. The game stayed close until the end of the set when the Czech team took a two-point lead (23-21), putting a lot of pressure on the Polish team. The Czech Republic finished strongly winning the second set 25-21 and thus tying the duel 1-1.
Poland started better into the third set taking an early lead (3-1) but the Czech team fought back keeping the game close at the first technical time out (7-8). After the technical time-out, the Czech ladies extended their lead with powerful offence play, especially by their wing-spikers leading 16-11 at the second technical break. Poland could not find a way to stop the good Czech offence; consequently, the Czech team grabbed the third set 25-21. Michaela Monzoni (CZE) became the key player for her team with six points.
Like in the previous sets, both teams were facing each other on an equal level in the fourth set with some advantages on the Czech side, leading at the first technical time-out (8-6). After exhausting long rallies, the better end was mostly on the Czech side leading by five points later in the set (19-14). However, Poland could close the gap and even turned the set around displaying great fighting spirit to win it with their first set point 26-24.
Tiebreak play stayed as close as the rest of the match until the Czech block accelerated in the end to grab the win after a marvellous marathon match.
Poland captain Katarzyna Ewa Skowronska-Dolata: “It is not easy to accept the loss. I feel really bad about it and guilty as well because I made too many mistakes.”
The Czech Republic captain Aneta Havlickova: “It was a very hard match against a strong opponent. We put everything we had into this game and won a very important match.”
Poland head coach Piotr Makowski: “We had a lot of bad moments today in our game. We have to fight very hard tomorrow to be able to win the game and to have the chance to advance.”
The Czech Republic head coach Carlo Parisi: “I am really happy for the team. We needed all the power we had to beat Poland.”
The Preliminary Phase of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women is split into four pools of four teams with the top three from each pool advancing to the next competition stage. The first ranked teams of each pool are directly qualified for the quarterfinals, while the second and third ranked teams will fight for the last four quarterfinal tickets.
For the first time in history, 130 countries with all five continents involved cover the Women's EuroVolley.
CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women
2011 in Italy/Serbia: Serbia (gold), Germany (silver), Turkey (bronze)
Records of the last five editions
2009 in Poland: Italy (gold), the Netherlands (silver), Poland (bronze)
2007 in Belgium/Luxembourg: Italy (gold), Serbia (silver), Russia (bronze)
2005 in Croatia: Poland (gold), Italy (silver), Russia (bronze)
2003 in Turkey: Poland (gold), Turkey (silver), Germany (bronze)
CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women
1. Russia (17 gold / 4 silver / 3 bronze), 2. Poland (2/4/5), 3. Germany (2/5/3), 4. Italy (2/2/2), 5. The Czech Republic (1/4/4), 6. The Netherlands (1/2/1), 7. Bulgaria (1/0/2), 8. Serbia (1/1/1), 9. Croatia (0/3/0), 10. Hungary (0/1/3), 11. Turkey (0/1/1), 12. Romania (0/0/1). 12. Ukraine (0/0/1).
All-time medal table
World Ranking – Women (participating teams)
4. Italy, 6. Russia, 7. Serbia, 9. Germany, 11. Turkey, 13. Poland, 18. The Netherlands, 22. The Czech Republic, 31. Croatia, 31. Bulgaria, 36. Azerbaijan, 39. Belgium, 39. Belarus, 42. Spain, 42. France, 109. Switzerland.
For further information visit the official website or click here for a detailed match schedule of the prelims.