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07/09/2013 23:00
Serbia sweep Czech ladies, Poland surprise first day winner Bulgaria
2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women

Schwerin, Germany, September 7, 2013. On day 2 of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women, titleholder Serbia swept the Czech Republic in straight sets (25-21, 26-24, and 25-23) while Poland surprised first day winner Bulgaria with a 3:1 (22-25, 25-18, 13-25, and 18-25) win. The situation in Pool D is still fully open after two competition days. 

Championship favourite Serbia booked their first win in Pool D by beating the Czech Republic in straight sets (25-21, 26-24, and 25-23). Even though Serbia played without top player Brankica Mihajlovic due to an arm injury suffered in the match against Bulgaria, the 2011 European champions showed great team spirit after their loss in the first match. Player of the match was once again Jovana Brakocevic with 25 points including 7 break points.

Both teams started very concentrated into the set scoring several direct points in the first few minutes. Serbia took a two-point lead into the first technical time-out and showed more assertiveness at this early stage of the match (8-6). The Serbian ladies extended their lead to a five-point gap at 16-11 with powerful play from their wing-spikers. Natasa Krsmanovic led her team with six block winners to an undisputed 25-21 in the first set.

In the second set, the Czech team started with more force and claimed an early 7-3 lead over surprised Serbians who countered with great effort and excellent defence to tie the game at 9-9. However, the Czech Republic found back to their strengths and turned the tables at 16-15. With all their experience, Serbia took control again displaying great defensive skills to grab the second set in extremis 26-24. Jovana Brakocevic dominated the set contributing a total of 9 points with her powerful attacks.

The Czech team started again quite well into the third set, grabbing the first lead by excellent block and defensive play (8-6). After resumption, the Czech team continued their run thanks to their good organization until Serbia tied the game at 20-20, willing to take the win in three sets. In the end, Serbia showed more cleverness using their third match point for a well-deserved 25-23 set and 3:0 match win.

Czech Republic captain Aneta Havlickova: “We didn't play a bad match. At the beginning of every set we took the lead, but by the time we got to 20 points, Serbia had already closed the gap.”

Serbia vice-captain Jovana Brakocevic: “My team played a good match, especially after the loss of yesterday's game. The reason why we won this match was that we managed to play a strong second half of the game. But even though we got back into the tournament with this win, there is still a lot to improve.”

Czech Republic head coach Carlo Parisi: “We knew before that we had to fully concentrate on the game against Serbia, since this team is one of the strongest in the tournament. Unfortunately, we could not accomplish that. We didn't put all of our energy in the last points of every set and that is why we lost.”

Serbia head coach Zoran Terzic: “Both teams played very well today. My team had difficulties getting into the game due to the loss of yesterday's match. The players were still busy thinking about their mistakes from yesterday. Even though we won this match, there are still many elements in the game of my team that we need to improve before going to Zurich.”

Poland surprise first day winner Bulgaria

In front of 1.500 spectators, Poland impressively grabbed their first win by defeating Bulgaria in an exciting match 3:1 (22-25, 25-18, 13-25, 18-25). Much improved Polish ladies showed their real potential by dominating Bulgaria in front of many enthusiastic Polish fans who made their way to the “Sport- und Kongresshalle” in Schwerin.

Bulgaria took the initiative right from the beginning displaying great defensive skills and leading quickly with 6-2 but Poland answered promptly with a 5-0 run to retake the lead at 7-6. The ladies from Poland increased their pressure on Bulgaria with fast and powerful play scoring several block points at that stage of the set. Bulgaria’s coach Marcello Abbondanza reacted quickly using a timeout to break Poland's flow. His plan was successful because his players accelerated their game to retake the lead with a 6-0 run (17-12). Poland turned the tables themselves by having an 8-0 run to retake the lead in a top-level match at 21-22. In front of standing ovations by a great number of Polish fans, the Polish squad grabbed the first set with great enthusiasm (25-22).

The second set started with the same high-level Volleyball as the first had ended. Both teams made almost no mistakes keeping the score within a one-point gap until Bulgaria used a few good services to take the lead at the first technical time-out (8-6). Bulgaria even managed to extend their lead until the second technical time-out displaying tremendous blocks and a fast-paced play (16-12). Bulgaria continued to dominate the set playing variably and forcing Poland to quite a few mistakes. Consequently, Abbondanza's ladies used their first set point to tie the game 1:1 (25-18) with 7 points added by wing-spiker Dobriana Rabadzhieva.

Poland reacted strongly at the beginning of the second set taking an early lead with an amazing blocking game (6-0). Bulgaria did not find a way to stop the almost perfectly playing Polish ladies who dominated clearly offensively as well as defensively midway through the set (16-5). Poland played the rush and won the third set champion-like 25-13. Poland’s Skowronska-Dolata led her team with 5 break points out of a total of 7 in set 3.

The Polish power did not let down at the beginning of the fourth set leading quickly 8-6 at the first technical time-out. Bulgaria found no answer to the powerful game of the Polish squad that accelerated their game throughout the entire match, displayed by a 19-12 lead late in the set. In the end, Poland impressively rushed through the fourth set dominating Bulgaria in every aspect of the game using its third match point to an unquestioned 3:1 victory.

Bulgaria Captain Strashimira Filipova: “Poland’s advantage in this match were their services. This made it difficult for us to play a tactical game. For tomorrow we have to learn from our mistakes of today, if we want to reach the next round in this tournament.”

Poland Captain Katarzyna Ewa Skowronska-Dolata: “Today we took a big step towards the next round of the championship. I don’t need to say how important it is now to prepare properly for tomorrow.”

Bulgaria head coach Marcello Abbondanza: “I’m very sad about this loss because this match could have turned also our way in order to win the first place in our group. While the first set could have been won, the third set was way out of our reach. This very unstable performance is following us since the beginning of this season. First we win a game and the next one seems to be twice as hard and we lose.”

Poland head coach Piotr Makowski: “First of all I would like to thank our fans for all of their support today. All this cheering really made the difference for us; it gave my team an energy that was not to be expected. We did not start very well, so I had to react by making some changes to the starting six. We won this game because of our good services and our hard fighting. Due to this win, we have now a chance to take the first place in our group.”

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
Records of the last five editions

2011 in Italy/Serbia: Serbia (gold), Germany (silver), Turkey (bronze)
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
All-time medal table

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).

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.

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