Russia almost qualified for semifinals, Poland and Italy to battle for second spot
2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women
Ankara, Turkey, August 22, 2012. Russia is the first Pool II team having almost booked their semifinal ticket at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women. In today’s top duel of Pool II, the promising Russian talents overcame Poland 3:1. The team of head coach Svetlana Safronova needs one more set to definitively qualify for Saturday’s semifinal. Italy (straight-set win versus the Czech Republic, facing Russia tomorrow) and Poland (against Germany) will fight for the second semifinal spot. Bulgaria and the Czech Republic are eliminated.
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In the eagerly-awaited duel between Pool II’s top teams Russia and Poland, Russian powerhouse overcame Poland 3:1 (25-22, 21-25, 25-21, 25-18) to take the exclusive lead in group II. Russian opposite Irina Voronkova topped the scorers with 23 points. Poland made an excellent start into the game and put the Russian passers under pressure (8-3). However, the plot started to change after a time-out called by Russian head coach Svetlana Safronova at 6-14. The young Russian talents slowly but surely started to narrow the gap. At the second technical break, Poland still led by three units, but the last part was controlled by Russia and Kseniia Ilchenko finished the set with an ace at 25-22. Even though Russia was still the dominant force in the beginning of the second period (8-6), the Polish ladies took over control after the first technical time-out and never looked back (25-21). However, the Polish game was too irregular today. The youngsters of head coach Andrej Pec tried to resist as much as they could, mainly in the second part of the third set, but the Russian express seemed unstoppable (25-21). Although Poland stayed close in the beginning of the fourth and last set (7-8), Russia kept the upper hand and subsequently widened the gap until the end (25-18).
Russia head coach Svetlana Safronova: “I’m satisfied today. We finally started to find our rhythm and played quite well.”
Poland head coach Andrej Pec: “The team with the better serves won. Unfortunately, we managed only in the second set to put enough pressure on our opponents. We had a big advantage in the first set, but for some reason we suddenly stopped playing.”
Today’s second Pool II match featured Italy facing the Czech Republic. The titleholders made short work of their opponents (25-20, 25-22, 25-7) to book their third win at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women. On the other side, the young Czech talents experienced their fourth defeat here in Ankara. Italian Wing-spiker Miriam Sylla topped all the scorers with 16 points. Italy had nine block kills while Czech Republic only had three. Italy made a solid start into the first period (8-3). The “squadra azzurra” dominated their rivals in almost all aspects of the game to book a quite easy first set win (25-20). In the second set, the Czechs bounced back valiantly to turn around the tables until the second technical break (16-14). Italian head coach Marco Mencarelli called his players off court at 19-21 to have a serious talk. It worked as the Italians fired back to take a hard-earned 2:0 set lead (25-22). That was too much for the young Czech girls. Stanislav Mitac’s squad totally lost confidence and concentration in the third set. Miriam Sylla finished the match with a remarkable attack to crash the East Europeans 25-7 (!).
Italian head coach Marco Mencarelli: “I am very surprised how we alternate good and bad moments in the same match. Our girls are very emotional. We were very close to losing the second set, but granted our opponents only seven points in the third period.” Czech coach Stanislav Mitac: “In the first and second set we played at our best level. But then we suddenly stopped playing. There is a difference between the Czech Republic and teams like Germany, Russia, Italy and Poland. I hope tomorrow we can win against Bulgaria.”
In tonight’s last match of Pool II, Germany overpowered Bulgaria in an epic five-setter (23-25, 25-19, 25-18, 23-25, 20-18). Whilst Bulgaria won the first and fourth set, Germany managed to control the middle part of tonight’s last Pool II duel. At the end, the young German ladies were a little bit luckier, proving strong nerves and remarkable mental skills to overpower Bulgaria in extremis at the end of the fifth set (20-18). After several match points for both sides and 123 minutes of electrifying play, German wing-spiker Alisha Ossowski ended the game in Germany’s favor. Germany’s win-loss record improves to 2-2, whilst the promising Bulgarian talents (0-4) will have to pack their bags after Thursday’s last Pool round. Bulgarian wing-spiker Gergana Dimitrova topped the scorers with 26 points, including five blocks and two aces. Lisa Izquierdo helped the winners with 23 points, four units more than her teammate Ossowski.
Germany head coach Han Abbing: “We did not play our best volleyball tonight, but we played with heart. If you are not showing your best technical skills, at least you have to play with a big heart. That is what we did tonight.”
Two weeks before the men’s juniors will battle for medals in Denmark and Poland, Turkey is in the spotlight 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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