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26/08/2012 15:00
Straight win over Germany sends Bulgaria to the top of the charts in Pool II
2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship - Men

Randers, Denmark, August 26, 2012. After three days of action Bulgaria tops the charts of Pool II in Randers having scored on Sunday a speedy 3-0 win over Germany. In what was supposed to be the match of the day, Spain dissipated a 2:0 lead and was eventually forced to play a tie-break by a hard-fighting Turkish team that ultimately could not complete their great comeback. Greece scored their first win of the tournament by edging the hosts of Denmark 3-1; that was a third consecutive defeat for the home heroes but still the group captained by Peter Trolle Bonnesen could celebrate for taking their first set in the final round of a European Championship.

The provisional leaders of Pool II, Turkey and Spain, crossed their ways on Sunday in Randers in a match where the first place in the group was evidently at stake. The teams were all even in the table and this was reflected by a long and tough game that Spain ended up winning 3-2 (25-22, 25-13, 22-25, 20-25, and 15-13).
Spain dominated the first set and had twice the amount of points scored by Turkey by the first technical time-out (8:4). From there Spain worked out a comfortable lead (21:12) and though the Turkish team fought bravely back and got close (22:24), they could not deny Spain wining the first set 25-22.
Spain also had the upper hand in the second set leading 8:5 by the first technical time-out. Spain’s 196 cm tall opposite Andres J. Villena who had scored 28 and 29 points in the two first matches of the tournament continued at a similar standard with 27 today. Spain was in total control throughout the second set and their seven point lead (16:9) by the second technical time-out was converted into a clear 25-13 set win.
Turkey found their game again in the third set. Though the Spanish team led 8:6 by the first technical time-out, Turkey took a two-point lead (13:11) and then Spanish head coach Ricardo Maldonado took a time-out. The Turks were leading by one point (16:15) by the second technical time-out. The close fight continued till the end of the set, ending with a 25-22 for Turkey.
The fourth set started as even as the third set had ended. The Turkish team seemed to have bit more to give and when they went in front at 5:4 they did not give their lead away anymore winning the well played and intense fourth set 25-20.
It had to come to a tie break with the two strong teams. Here Spain was in front 8:7 by the side change. A too long Spanish serve gave Turkey a 13:12 lead. Spain shower tremendous morale taking the next three points, the set 15-13 and the match 3-2.
Spanish head coach Ricardo Maldonado: “It was two different games. In the first and second set we dominated completely and in the third and fourth set Turkey was in control. We made a lot of service mistakes in these sets. In the tie-break it is the small differences that win the game. Our block is really good and helped us win the tie-break”.  
Opposite Andres J. Villena: “We played good in the first two sets where our reception and serves were good and we played comfortable. From the beginning of the third set we started making stupid mistakes in our serves and at the same time Turkey started serving really strong and making it very difficult for us. In the tie-break we improved our reception. I am really happy with the win” he said.

In the second match of the day in Pool II the debutant Danes faced Greece. Though Greece had lost a tough tie-break against Bulgaria on Saturday evening they seemed fresh and fit. Both teams fought hard and though Denmark won their first set ever in a Junior European Championship, Greece seized the match 3-1 (25-19, 17-25, 28-26, 25-21).
In the first set the teams were close at the first and second technical time-out (8:7 and 16:13). From here Greece increased their lead and won the set 25-19.
In the second set the air seemed it had gone out of the Greek balloon. After Denmark took the lead at 3:2 they did not let go of it. Especially captain Peter Trolle Bonnesen found his way through the Greek block. Denmark increased their lead and won a well-played second set 25-17.
The third set became a close encounter. Denmark had a one-point lead at the first and the second technical timeout (8:7 and 16:15). Fighting bravely Greece leveled the set at 20:20. The Greeks got in front 22:20, but then they made a formation error which gave Denmark the lead 21:20 instead of being behind 20:22. All level until the very end of the set which the Greeks won 28-26. The Danish team had lost the focus in the beginning of the fourth set where Greece was in front 8:2 by the first technical time-out. It became 12:4 to Greece before something got into the Danes. Suddenly the blocks were tight and the smashes hard and precise. At the second technical time-out the Greek led 16:11 and Denmark came all close at 16:18. At 23:21 the set seemed it could go either way but the Greek team showed great mental strength and won it 25-21 and the game 3-1.
Greek head coach Stylianos Kazazis: “It was a tough game, especially after our long game against Bulgaria yesterday which we lost. Denmark was very strong today and played better than in their two previous matches. Both teams showed good mind and soul and fought hard. Congratulations to Denmark for a good game where they fought to the very end. Now we are looking forward to a day of rest”.

Via the last match of the day Bulgaria claimed the first position in Pool II with a 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, and 25-19) win against Germany.
Bulgaria quickly took the lead in the first set. The Bulgarian team was in front 8:4 by the first technical time-out and the Germans had many difficulties finding an answer to the Bulgarian attacks. In front 16:11 by the second technical time-out Bulgaria seemed to have no problem winning the set 25-19.
The second set was closer until the second technical time-out where Bulgaria led 16:15. Here the Bulgarian team carved out a little margin that was kept up to the end of the set (25-23).
The ending of the second set seemed to have taken much fuel from the German team. They fought strong but you had the feeling right from the beginning of the third set that Bulgaria would win it. The Bulgarian had an 8:4 lead at the first technical time-out which they held to 16:12 by the second. Bulgarian opposite Ivan Ivanov – who had scored 17 and 20 points in the two first matches – totaled 14 tonight and helped Bulgaria winning the set 25-19 and the match 3-0 sending his side to the top of the charts in the Pool.
Bulgarian head coach Miroslav Zhivkov: “It was a heavy game. We had to win it if we wanted to keep following our championship dreams. Again we play strong together as a team and I really admire the guys both on and off the court”.
Opposite Ivan Ivanov: “We played together as a team today. Everybody did their best and we beat them as a team. This is also why I can make a lot of points: it is because the guys help me. I would like to win a medal, but first we have two very difficult matches against Spain and Turkey. Now I am looking forward to a day of rest”.

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