Serbia and host Turkey book second win in Pool I
2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women
Ankara, Turkey, August 19, 2012. Turkey and 2010 runner-up Serbia booked their second win in Pool I at the 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women in Ankara, Turkey. The host proved too strong for France (3:1), while Serbia overcame Slovenia in straight sets. In Sunday’s first match, Belgium defeated Slovakia in straight sets as well.
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It was best publicity for Volleyball when Turkey faced France in today’s second Pool I duel. Even when the French finally left as losers, they presented a classy show at Baskent Hall in Ankara, particularly in the first two sets. After 107 minutes of intense play, a French service mistake finished the hard-fought match to make it 3:1 (24-26, 25-21, 25-15, 25-16) for the hosts. The scoreboard showed 21-16 and 24-20 for the local protagonists in set No. 1 when “les bleus” started their comeback. The team of head coach Jacques Beraud saved four set balls, before captain Kim Nowak hammered vigorous for a well-deserved 1:0 set lead. It was not only their clever organisation on the court, but also their gigantic fighting spirit that featured the young French talents. However, 2011 Youth World and European champions Turkey didn’t give up. Au contraire, the Turkish ladies geared up. Mainly behind the service line, Turkey showed a different attitude, serving stronger and regularly. Compared to the first period, four set balls were now enough to conclude the second set in their favour (25-22). The host kept the pace in the third set, primarily as France abruptly lost their focus. As a consequence, Turkey scored seven points in a row from 11-11 to 18-11. That was too much for the young West Europeans. Turkey pulled clear, winning set three and four confidently 25-15 and 25-16.
France head coach Jacques Beraud: “In the beginning, we took advantage of our underdog status. In the third and fourth set, Turkey served much better, giving us a hard time in reception.” Turkey head coach Gökhan Edman: “We feel a lot of pressure in this tournament as everyone sees us already in the final. France made a very strong tactical game, congratulations.”
2010 runner-up Serbia enjoyed a trouble-free evening in their duel versus Slovenia. Both teams had won their opening match at the 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women, but only Serbia managed to copy their win from the day before. After 73 minutes, Serbia easily won in straight sets (25-18, 25-14, 25-21). From 9-11 to 17-11, Serbia scored eight consecutive points to turn the tables in the first set. It was not the perfect Serbian game, but enough to overcome the irregular Slovenian play at the start of the sixth match of Pool I. The Serbian staff made its homework with a clever defensive concept versus Slovenian opposite Iza Mlakar who was the outstanding force for Slovenia the day before. As a consequence, Serbia dominated the match quite effortlessly. After a solid 25-18 first set win, the young Serbian players jumped out for a 12-2 lead in the second period. Natasa Cikiriz scored eight points in the first and added six in the second set to make it 25-14 for Serbia. Additionally, the talented Serbian blockers booked eleven (!) block kills in the first two sets. The Slovenian hopes vanished quickly into thin air in the third set as the favourites never looked back. At the second technical time-out, the scoreboard already showed a four-point lead for the team of head coach Ratko Pavlicevic. Serbia pulled through (25-21), booking their second straight-set win here in Ankara.
Serbia head coach Ratko Pavlicevic: “We played quite well in the first two sets. We made a good scouting which helped us to score a lot of block points. But we still need to improve our general level.”
Serbia captain Bianka Busa: “It wasn’t easy tonight, even if it looked like. We experienced some problems in passing.”
Slovenia head coach Bruno Najdic: “Serbia is an outstanding team. My players showed too much respect, principally at the net. To have a chance against Serbia, we needed a top serving performance.”
Earlier on Sunday, Belgium beat Slovakia in straight sets (25-18, 25-22, 25-18) to book their first win at the 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women. Celine van Gestel led the Belgians with 17 kills, 15 at the net and two from the service line. Andrea Strbova was the most helpful player for Slovakia with ten points. With a burning smash from the left, Birthe Wittock smashed the Belgian team to a merited first set win. The Belgian squad had already showed their potential the day before versus Turkey, but confirmed its strength with today’s solid performance. On the Slovakian side, the spikers didn’t manage to conclude the rallies, giving Belgium several opportunities for counter attacks. Things didn’t change in the second and third set. Even though Slovakia was each time close at the second technical time-out (15-16 and 16-15), the East Europeans couldn’t find a way to pull through. It seemed as the team of head coach Eva Kosekova lacked punch and confidence. After 78 minutes of playing time, the young Belgian squad closed it out in straight sets to keep their hopes alive for a successful 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women campaign.
Belgium head coach Julien van de Vyver: “I’m satisfied; we managed to control today’s game. During some difficult moments, we kept calm. This is an important step to prepare the next matches.”
Belgium captain Sarah Coppens: “We committed fewer mistakes today; this was one of the key factors. We had strong serves and worked well as a team.”
Slovakia captain Barbora Kosekova: “We acted too harmlessly at the net. We didn’t manage to put enough pressure on the Belgian defence. I don’t know why we can’t find better solutions.”
The classic powers Italy and Serbia, host Turkey as well as Russia, Poland and Germany are the favorites for the crown of the prestigious CEV under 19 age category competition. Two weeks before the men’s juniors will battle for medals in Denmark and Poland, Turkey is in the spot light for the prominent CEV event at Baskent Hall that hosts Pool I and Ahmet Taner Kislali Hall featuring Pool II. A total of 38 matches are played during the tournament, running from August 18-26.
The Preliminary Phase of the 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women is split into two pools of six teams with the top two from each pool advancing to the semifinals. Pool I comprises 2010 runner-up Serbia, host Turkey, Slovakia, Slovenia, Belgium and France. Pool II sees title holder Italy defending their reputations versus 2010 bronze medalist the Czech Republic, Russia, Poland, Germany as well as Bulgaria.
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