Turkey in extremis and Serbia continue their winning streak
2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women
Ankara, Turkey, August 20, 2012. Turkey and Serbia remain unbeaten at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women in Ankara, Turkey. Two sets down, the hosts made an impressive comeback versus Slovenia (3:2), whilst Serbia defeated Slovakia in straight sets. Earlier today, Belgium won their second match at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women in a thrilling five-setter 3:2 versus France.
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In was the match of the day at Baskent Hall in Ankara when host Turkey faced Slovenia in the eighth clash of Pool I. Two sets down, the Turks bounced back heroically to finally keep a clean sheet at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women. After 121 minutes of passionate play, Turkish middle-blocker Ceylan Arisan blocked Turkey in heaven (23-25, 17-25, 25-17, 25-12, 16-14). Slovenian Iza Mlakar topped the scorers with 18 points, two more than Turkish middle-blocker Asli Kalaç. The host booked eleven block kills, Slovenia only five. The young Slovenian talents served 18 aces, Turkey’s side 13.
After four intense sets (Slovenia booked the first two, Turkey No. 3 and 4), Turkish middle-blocker Arisan truly inspired her side with a faultless performance behind the service line to bring Turkey 8-1 in front at side switch in the deciding fifth set. Some rallies later, Turkey already led 12-6 and had six match balls at 14-6. However, the Slovenian squad never gave up, fighting back courageously, until the scoreboard showed 14-14 to discomfit the faithful Turkish supporters. The duel now balanced on a knife’s edge, before a successful Turkish offensive combination and a rock-hard Arisan block ended the astonishing roller-coaster match in extremis in Turkey’s favor.
Turkish captain Damla Cakiroglu: “I would like to congratulate Slovenia for their impressive game today. We showed how ambitious we were with our comeback. I am happy for the win.”
Turkish head coach Gökhan Edman: “We knew that being patient would be the key for a comeback. My team is under big pressure and expectations are really high after our triumphs last year. It was important to win.”
Slovenian captain Nika Blagne: “We proved today that we can play at the highest level. We were that close to a win and even that makes me happy.”
Slovenian head coach Bruno Najdic: “We prepared well for this match. We knew that good serves would be the key and as you can see we were really close to win the game.”
In tonight's last duel in Pool I, Serbia crashed Slovakia in straight sets (25-20, 25-13, 25-12). The Slovaks suffered a lot against the well placed Serbian blocks. Although Slovakia started well into the first and second set, Serbia was able to turn the tables twice. Serbian opposite Nina Cikiriz topped the scorers chart with 14 points. Captain Bianka Busa helped her side with 12, including 3 block kills.
Slovakia started courageously and put some pressure on the Serbian receivers. However, Serbia managed to comeback right after the first break and never looked back. The plot remained the same in the beginning of the second set. Slovakia led by three points at the first technical break, but couldn't go much further as the powerful Serbians granted their opponents only five points more during the rest of the set (25-13). Serbia's opposite Cikiriz led her team also in the third set, showing some impressive offensive combinations at the net. On the other side of the net, Slovakia didn't find the energy and power to fight back. Serbia concluded the set 25-12 in their favor, hence booking their third consecutive win here in Ankara.
Slovakia head coach Eva Kosekova: “There was a big difference between the two teams and Serbia was a very strong team tonight. It was very difficult for us to score.”
Serbia head coach Ratko Pavlicevic: “All teams in our pool are strong and Slovakia is one of them. They played really well at the beginning of the first two sets. 3-0 is 3-0, so I am happy for that win.”
Earlier today, Belgium won their second match at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women in a thrilling five-setter 3:2 (25-20, 19-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-6) versus France. Both teams experienced many ups and downs during the match; however the Belgian ladies managed to stay calm and finally won the duel with a convincing tie-break show. French opposite Zongo topped the scorers chart with 19 points, one more that Belgian wing-spiker Van Gestel, but Zongo’s effort was not enough for a first French win.
Although the young French talents made an impressive start and jumped out for a 6-2 lead, Belgium booked six points in a row in the first part of set No. 1. Belgium increased speed and power to open the gap to nine points at the second technical break. Belgian middle-blocker Linde Hervent concluded the first set with an impressive block winner. While France fired back courageously in the second set (25-19), it was again Belgium’s turn in the third period (25-19).
However, the French side didn’t give up. The last part of the fourth set was very exciting and consisted long rallies with both teams showing some fancy defending skills. Nevertheless, France managed to take the set with their first set point chance (25-23). Still, in the deciding fifth set, the French hopes quickly vanished into thin air as France trailed 3-8 at side switch. The Belgium squad was unstoppable now, combining precise offensive play and very solid defensive skills. As a consequence, the result of the fifth set was beyond debate (15-6), increasing Belgium’s record to 2-1 while France is still waiting for their first triumph at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women.
French head coach Jacques Beraud: “First of all, I am very disappointed because we prepared today’s game very well and our tactic was generally working. However, we could not manage to keep the same level for the entire game.”
Belgian head coach Julien Van De Vyver: “With France we faced a direct challenger. We played well, they played well. I am happy for the win as France is playing on the same level as we do.“
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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