Young Azzurri make it closer to final round via second home win
2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship - Men
Zocca, Italy, July 13, 2012. Italy edged Germany 3:1 (24-26, 25-22, 25-22, and 25-20) in what was supposed to be the real highlight of the third-round qualifier for the 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Men currently taking place in Zocca. With this result the hosts look in a very favorable position to claim a pass for the final round that is slated for later this summer in Gdynia (Poland) and Randers (Denmark). Earlier in the afternoon the Netherlands suffered their second defeat being downed in straight sets by Slovenia (26-28, 13-25, and 20-25).
Italy caught a flying start going up 16:9 in the opening set but their opponents did not give up that easily and with a series of good services they shook Italy’s defense line, eventually tying the score at 18 all. The group around Edoardo Picco responded going up 24:21 with some blocks to stop the German spikers but the hosts eventually missed out on three set balls, with Germany turning the charts around for the provisional 0:1 (24-26). The second set followed a similar plot with Italy going up 16:11 but once again Germany fought its way back up to 17:16. However, this time the “Azzurrini” did not lose composure and could finish it off at 25-22.
In set 3 it was Germany that did initially set the pace of the game (9:7) but Italy drew at 11 and eventually went up 15:13. The score stayed very close up to 21 all before Italy showed good nerves to complete its run at 25-22. The fourth set was pretty balanced as well with Italy going to the front by the first technical time-out (8:6) and changing gear to stretch the lead up to 11:7. Germany could not respond anymore and the match ended in a 3:1 win for Italy. “It was a hard-fought game but we were very mentally strong and we stepped up in the fourth set showing some good actions there” said Italy’s head coach Marco Bonitta.
Slovenia and the Netherlands were searching for their first win in the tournament and Slovenia opened pretty well there going up 10:6. However, the “Oranjes” got back on track and drew level at 24 all. The Slovenians reacted promptly and finished it off with the score of 28-26. Slovenia caught an excellent start and went up 12:4 in the second set and without slowing down their pace could go for a speedy 25-13. The third set was more balanced but after the second mandatory stop Slovenia once again took the lead, closing the game with the score of 25-20, and keeping alive its chances to make it to the final round of the European Championship. “We are very happy for this victory against a good opponent like the Netherlands. Yesterday we had not spent a lot of energy, so today the boys had the right emotional charge” stated Slovenian head coach Samo Miklavc after the game. “We played very bad, I’m really disappointed” said a visibly upset Dutch head coach Arnold van Ree.
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