Poland surprise titleholder Italy in straight sets
2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women
Ankara, Turkey, August 19, 2012. Poland showed their muscles by defeating reigning champion Italy 3:0 in Sunday’s Pool II action at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women in Ankara, Turkey. Russia beat Bulgaria 3:1 while Germany overpowered the Czech Republic 3:1 as well in today’s third match at Ahmet Taner Kislali Hall in Ankara.
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It was the first major surprise of the 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women when Poland crashed titleholder Italy in straight sets (27-25, 25-20, 25-20) in today’s fifth match of Pool II. Except for the first set, Italy never had a chance to overcome the strong Polish squad. Polish middle-blocker Agnieszka Kakolewska topped the scorers with 14 points, including 3 aces and 4 block winners. In the middle of the first set, Italy bounced back from 12-16, but couldn’t conclude their set ball at 25-24. Three Polish points in a row offered the girls in red and white jerseys the first set in extremis. Poland gained momentum and quickly led 6-1 in the beginning of the second set. Italian head coach Marco Mencarelli called his ladies off court to have a serious talk. However, it didn’t help as the Polish express moved on. Italy never gave up, but couldn’t find a way to stop the strong Polish squad (25-20). Two sets down, the titleholders led 8-7 at the first technical time-out in set No. 3. However, Poland kept cool, continuing their run until the end of the match (25-20). After yesterday’s win versus the Czech Republic, it was the second triumph for the promising Polish squad.
Polish head coach Andrzej Pec stated after the game: “We perfectly prepared the match and it was the key for the win. We also served very well.”
Germany scored their first win at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women, proving too strong for the Czech team (25-27, 25-16, 25-12, 25-18). The Czech girls fought heroically in the first set, but Germany managed to stay focused and literally hammered their opponents during the rest of the game. German opposite Lisa Izquierdo topped the scorers chart with 25 points. Germany started well prepared and was in front at the second technical time-out in set No. 1. However, the Czech girls fired back and finally took the set with the help of some sharp serves from middle-blocker Katerina Zemanova. But Germany stayed cool. As from the second set, the Germans were the dominant team on the court. As a result, the Czechs couldn’t hold the pace and Germany made the scoreboard moving in their favor (25-16). The team of Han Abbing continued their run with an 8-0 (!) lead in the beginning of the third set. Czech head coach Stanislav Mitac called his ladies several times off court, but it didn’t help. Serving powerfully, German setter Magdalena Gryka put a lot of pressure on the Czech passers. As a consequence, the Czech Republic didn’t find a way to stop the dominant German squad (25-12). Things didn’t change in the fourth set with Germany pulling through (25-18).
German head coach Han Abbing: “We lost yesterday. It is sometimes difficult to retrieve your confidence. However, we knew that we were the better team tonight. We managed to analyze their game quite well.”
Czech coach Stanislav Mitac: “It was almost a copy of yesterday’s match. We started very well. But for the rest of the game, Germany played much better. It’s a pity; we had planned to win this match.”
In today’s first Pool II encounter, Russia overcame Bulgaria 3:1 (21-25, 25-16, 25-15, 25-16) to book their second win in Ankara. Although Bulgaria made life difficult for their opponents, mainly in the first set, Russia finally prevailed. Bulgaria couldn’t keep the pace they showed in the beginning of the match. Russian outside hitter Kseniia Ilchenko topped the scorers with 20 points including 5 aces. Irina Voronkova helped her side with 19 kills. Bulgaria made 18 reception errors. Russia made an impressive start into the game and forced Bulgarian head-coach Radoslav Bakardzhiev to call an early time-out at 2-6. It helped as Bulgaria came to life again and led 8-7 at the first technical break. Russian setter Elena Novik served two aces to move the scoreboard in Russia’s favor. However, Bulgaria never looked back. Wing-spiker Gergana Dimitrova finished the set with an ace for her side (25-21). Both teams still played on a high level at the start of the second set. Still, Russia seemed to display more power and determination. As a consequence, the Russian powerhouse already led by seven points at the second technical break. There was not much to do for the Bulgarian team to stop the tall Russian hitters (16-25). Russia kept the duel under control in the third and fourth set to finally claim a well-deserved win in their second appearance in Ankara.
Bulgarian head coach Radoslav Bakardzhiev mentioned after the game that this match was almost the same as the defeat they had suffered on Saturday. Bakardzhiev said: “Russia fought back bravely and put a lot of pressure on our team. We need to stay more focused.”
Russian head coach Svetlana Safronova added: “We acted like a wave today. There were many ups and downs in our game, but fortunately we managed to win.”
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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