Berlin, Germany, September 14, 2013. In front of 8’513 electrified fans in the sold out Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin, 2010 world champion Russia sailed to their 18th gold medal in history of European Volleyball, defeating host Germany 3:1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 25-14). Most Valuable Player Tatiana Kosheleva (19 points) and Russian opposite Nataliya Obmochaeva (28 points) were the main protagonists of Saturday’s gold medal clash.
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World No. 6 Russia jumped out for a 4-0 lead at the start of the much-awaited gold medal match of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women. German captain Margareta Kozuch opened the score for the hosts with a hammer from the right side. Both teams quickly put a lot of pressure on the opponent’s passers. Russia kept the upper hand until the second technical time out, but could not pull through. Two German block kills drew level at 17-17. There was not much to separate the two teams at the start of tonight’s deciding duel of EuroVolley 2013, co-organized by the German and Swiss Volleyball Federation. Russia had some advantages in blocking (6-3) while Germany served much better. Kosheleva found a gap in Germany’s defence to make it 22-20 for Russia. The hosts did their best but could not prevent the East Europeans from seizing their second set point at 25-23. Nataliya Obmochaeva was the outstanding player in the first set, scoring ten times for Russia.
The balance of power changed in the beginning of the second set. The courageous German ladies took more risk, provoking several Russian mistakes. Viktoria Chaplina served three missiles in a row, but could not close the gap to more than four points at the second technical time-out. Saskia Hippe stopped Kosheleva at the net to move the scoreboard forward for Germany (18-13). Kosheleva and Obmochaeva responded with two blistering winners to reduce the German advantage to three points at 16-19. However, it was not good enough. Heike Beier led her teammates to a well-deserved 25-23 set win. Russia still struggled with poor passing (25% positive passing).
2010 world champions Russia regained momentum in the middle of the third set. At the second technical break, the team of head coach Yuriy Marichev had earned a two-point advantage. Nevertheless, the brave Germans bounced back with Hippe on fire (20-20). The set balanced on a knife’s edge now, with both teams alternating spectacular offensive combinations with impenetrably defense work. However, Russia kept the upper hand during the ‘money time’. At their first set ball, Russia’s 178cm-tall setter Ekaterina Pankova stopped Beier with a remarkable block winner to offer her team a hard-earned 2:1 set lead. With her eight winners, Obmochaeva was again the driving force for the World No. 6.
Russia kept control of the match early in the fourth set. The Germans hardly found an answer to the powerful Russian game. Giovanni Guidetti sent in Jennifer Geerties for Maren Brinker, but could not end Russia’s rush to a six-point lead at the second technical break. The Russian express was unstoppable now. Obmochaeva hammered for a 20-13 lead before Kosheleva added another winner to her remarkable record book. At 24-14, Most Valuable Player awarded Tatiana Kosheleva brought up match point. One rally later, Nataliya Obmochaeva ended it in Russia’s favour, bouncing the new European champions in heaven.
Russia captain Ekaterina Pankova: “Germany served very well. It was not easy to organize our offense. However, we proved our strength by strong teamwork and good preparation. Thanks to the organizers and fans; we felt very comfortable here.”
Germany captain Margareta Kozuch: “Congratulations to Russia. They played very well tonight. We needed a lot of energy to stay in the game. It already started with a hard-fought first set. The Russian offense played just brilliant. We tried to push a lot of pressure on their passers. It was not good enough. Anyway, I am very proud to be part of such an amazing team. We had the chance to show our beautiful sport to a huge audience.”
Russia head coach Yuriy Marichev: “It was definitely our toughest game today. Germany served very well. I told my players to focus on our strength at the net. It helped. I am very happy.”
Germany head coach Giovanni Guidetti: “Russia was the outstanding team at EuroVolley 2013. They beat Serbia and Turkey in straight sets. The gap between the Russian and our offense was too big tonight. Furthermore, Russia had 18 block kills. We only had nine. However, I am very proud of my players and my staff. We reached three times in a row the semi-finals at European championships, two times in a row the gold medal match. We can be gratified for such an achievement. Thank you Berlin, thank you Germany.”
Russia as the winner of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women have qualified for the 2013 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup featuring a total of six teams per gender with the hosts Japan being joined by the continental winners from Asia, Europe, NORCECA and South America with an additional country selected by the FIVB.
With Germany and Russia, the two best-ranked teams of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women as well as organizer Italy have qualified for the 2014 FIVB Volleyball World Championship.
The five best-ranked teams of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women as well as the organizers from Belgium and the Netherlands have qualified for the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women.
Fair Play Award: Gert Vande Broek (head coach Belgium)
Best Spiker: Jovana Brakocevic (Serbia)
Best Blocker: Christiane Fürst (Germany)
Best Server: Margareta Kozuch (Germany)
Best Libero: Valerie Courtois (Belgium)
Best Receiver: Suzana Cebic (Serbia)
Best Setter: Ekaterina Pankova (Russia)
Best Scorer: Lise Van Hecke (Belgium)
Most Valuable Player: Tatiana Kosheleva (Russia)
9. The Netherlands
10. The Czech Republic
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)
For further information visit www.eurovolley2013.org and www.cev.lu for detailed match statistics.