Halle/Westphalia, Germany, September 10, 2013. In Tuesday’s playoff round, Turkey outclassed Belarus in straight sets (25-16, 25-13, and 25-17) while Croatia overpowered the Netherlands in extremis 3:2 (23-25, 25-11, 22-25, 25-23, 15-11). Turkey take on Russia in Wednesday’s quarterfinals before Germany receive Croatia for the second knockout duel in Halle/Westphalia.
In the first playoff match at Gerry Weber Stadium in Halle/Westphalia, Turkey booked their ticket for the quarterfinals by sweeping Belarus 3:0 (25-16, 25-13, and 25-17). In front of 2.900 fans, Seda Tokatlioglu topped the scorers' chart with 20 points, followed by teammate Bahar Toksoy with 14 kills.
At the start of the first set, the team from Belarus took advantage of good blocking and attacking, taking a two-point lead at the first technical time-out (8-6). However, it was the Turkish team, especially Gözde Sonsirma Kirdar, who moved the scoreboard forward until 15-12 with an outstanding record of 70% perfect attacks and 6 points. On the other side, the team of Viktar Hancharou acted more and more nervously and was not able to stabilize their performance. At the end, Turkey made an unambiguous statement, claiming the first set with a nine-point difference (25-16).
The almost 3.000 fans saw a similar game in the second set. Belarus started very well and quickly gained a 5-2 lead. As the set progressed, Turkey retook control of the match with strong net play and thus consequently turned the tables to 16-9. The Belarusian wing spikers were several times stopped by the Turkish defense. The team of head coach Massimo Barbolini kept their pace to fly to an undisputed 25-13.
The way of play didn't change in the third set. Turkey kept the upper hand with powerful attacks and excellent blocking. At the second technical break, Turkey led 16-13. Belarus tried everything but couldn't deal with the speed of the Turkish team to put an end to Belarus’ short trip to Halle/Westphalia (25-17). Turkey, on the other hand, advance to the quarterfinals, challenging Russia on Wednesday evening (17.00 local time).
Turkey head coach Massimo Barbolini: “We played a good match with strong serves and solid blocking. With today’s win, we reached our first goal at EuroVolley 2013. Nevertheless, we would like to make it to Berlin. Before, we have to beat Russia. They are a very strong team. They have no stars, but they play as a team. That is their strength.”
Turkey captain Neslihan Darnel: “We did a good job today and worked well. From now on, we have to concentrate on tomorrow’s game against Russia.”
Belarus head coach Viktar Hancharou: “It was a good experience for us today. We tried our best, but we made many mistakes. Turkey has very experienced players; we had no chances to win the game.”
Belarus captain Volha Palcheuskaya: “First of all congratulations to Turkey. They played a good game today. We lost too many points in defense and attack. We are sad, but we tried to show our best. At the end, the result at 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women is ok for us.”
Croatia win five-set thriller versus the Netherlands
In Tuesday's second playoff match in Halle/Westphalia, Croatia overpowered the Netherlands 3:2 (23-25, 25-11, 22-25, 25-23, 15-12) to claim their well-deserved quarterfinal ticket at 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women and play there hosts Germany.
In the beginning of the first set, the Netherlands took a quick 5-3 lead. The teams took a lot of risk at serve, causing major problems on each side of the court. The crowd saw great block actions by Sanja Popovic and a Croatian team that led 8-7 at the first technical time-out. At resumption, the Netherlands and Croatia kept the pace with their wing-spikers Anne Buijs (5 points) and Mira Topic (6 points). It didn't change the course of the game, both teams battled hard until the end of the first set (19-19). In a thrilling final phase, Robin de Kruijf decided the first set for the Dutch team at 25-23.
At the start of the second set, the Netherlands experienced substantial problems in reception, offering their opponents a seven-point lead (8-1). The plot of the set did not change with the Croatian team on fire. Igor Lovrinov’s ladies performed very well in attack and wrapped up the set 25-11.
The Netherlands needed a better start into the third set. It seemed that they had recovered from the shock and led 8-5 at the first technical break. Maret Grothues was the key player for the Dutch at that moment of the game with very solid passing. Croatia came closer at 20-21 but could not pull through. Robin de Kruijf ended the third set in the Netherlands favour with a spectacular block winner on Martina Malevic.
One set down, Croatia didn´t give up in the fourth set. They set the pace right from the beginning and reached a three-point lead at 16-13. However, Croatia could not benefit from their 18-17 lead with a 3-0 Dutch run to 20-18. The Netherlands showed great offensive play, but missed too many chances to book their quarterfinal ticket at that moment of the match. Samanta Fabris added a kill to make it 24-23 for Croatia, before another Dutch error raised the Croatian hopes for a comeback (25-23).
Croatia kept momentum, starting very well into the fifth and deciding set (8-5). The Netherlands had lost their concentration with the Croatian team flying to a 15-12 set and 3:2 match win.
Mira Topic was the best scorer of the game, contributing 18 points for Croatia’s hard-earned win. Sanja Popovic added six block winners to the Croatian triumph.
The Netherlands head coach Gido Vermeulen: “We had a good game plan and many block winners, but Samanta Fabris made the difference for Croatia. We couldn't stop her.”
The Netherlands captain Maret Grothues: “We knew that Croatia was a strong team. They played very well in Dresden. It was a strong performance of Croatia.”
Croatia head coach Igor Lovrinov: “I’m really satisfied. It was a great game from both teams and I am sure the fans enjoyed it. The Netherlands have a great team for the future. I sent in Samanta Fabris; she is very young, very powerful and she played unbelievably good today.”
Croatia captain Sanja Popovic: “It was a hard game. Both teams were equal all the way long. At the end, very small details made the difference.”
Germany v Croatia
The first ranked teams of each pool were directly qualified for the quarterfinals of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women, while the second and third ranked teams fought for the last four quarterfinal tickets. After the playoff round on Tuesday, EuroVolley 2013 continue with eight teams battling for the four semi-final spots.
Russia v Turkey
Belgium v France
Serbia v Italy
For the first time in history, 140 countries with all five continents involved cover the Women's EuroVolley. A detailed TV schedule is attached here below.
CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women
Records of the last five editions
2011 in Italy/Serbia: Serbia (gold), Germany (silver), Turkey (bronze)
CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women
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)
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 playoff round.