Serbia keep clean sheet after preliminary round
2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women
Ankara, Turkey, August 23, 2012. Serbia remain unbeaten at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women. In today’s top duel of Pool I, Serbia routed host Turkey in straight sets to take the first rank after the preliminary round. Slovenia finished third by beating Belgium 3:1, whilst Slovakia booked their first win at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women (3:1 versus France). Saturday’s semifinals feature Serbia challenging Italy and Turkey facing Russia.
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2010 runner-up Serbia crashed Turkey in tonight’s top match of Pool I 25-22, 25-19, 25-21 to finish first in their pool after five competition days. In front of 3’100 faithful fans at Baskent Hall in Ankara, the East Europeans proved too strong for their adversaries. After 81 minutes, Ece Hocaglu sent the ball out of bounds to conclude the eagerly-awaited duel in Serbia’s favor. Best scorer of the match was Serbia’s captain Bianka Busa with twelve kills, whilst Turkish captain Damla Cakiroglu booked nine units for her team. There was not much to separate the two teams in the beginning of the match. Both teams took some risk behind the service line (four mistakes each), but played solid at the net. Serbia led by two points at the second technical break. Some rallies later, Serbia’s captain Busa (seven points in the first set!) hammered the ball down to offer her teammates five set balls at 24-19. Turkey saved three with Asli Kalac and Seyma Ercan on fire, but another service error gave Serbia a hard-earned 1:0 set lead. The team of head coach Ratko Pavlicevic kept the upper hand in the second set, putting a lot of pressure on their challengers. From 14-14 to 19-14, the East Europeans scored five consecutive points, before the hosts fired back to reduce the gap to two units at 19-21. Nevertheless, the young Serbian ladies proved too strong for their rivals. Natasa Cikiriz brought up set ball at 24-19, and an offensive mistake on the Turkish side gave the Serbians a comfortable 2:0 lead. The story of the match didn’t change in the third set. Turkish head coach Gökhan Edman made several substitutions to reinforce his squad, but it was already too late. The promising Serbian talents never looked back (25-21), finishing the first part of their 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women campaign impressively.
Serbia head coach Ratko Pavlicevic: “It was important for us to play a solid game tonight. In front of 3’100 fans, my players can learn a lot. Now we’ll relax a little bit to be ready for Saturday’s semifinal against a strong Italian team.”
Serbia captain Bianka Busa: “Congratulations to my teammates. Tonight’s match was an excellent preparation for Saturday’s semifinals versus Italy. We will be ready.”
Turkey head coach Gökhan Edman: “Serbia showed outstanding block-defense work tonight, congratulations. At the end of the match, I tried some options to prepare the semifinals.”
Turkey captain Damla Cakiroglu: “We are already focusing on Saturday’s semifinals. Serbia was a strong team tonight, they deserved to win.”
In today’s first Pool I duel, Slovenia beat Belgium 3:1 (21-25, 25-14, 25-19, 25-15) to finish their preliminary phase of the 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women on the remarkable third rank. Opposite Iza Mlakar was the dominate player of the match with 22 points, scoring one winner from the service line, four blocks and 17 kills in attack. The main difference at the start of the match was the number of unforced errors. Whilst Slovenia committed eight, Belgium only had two. As a consequence, Belgium concluded the first set 25-21 in their favor. However, the Slovenian block-defense system started to work better in the second set, giving the Belgian spikers a hard time (14-25). As in their previous matches in Pool I, excellent moments alternated with blackouts on both sides. However, the East Europeans seemed to be more determined, particularly in attack and after the second period in passing too. The young Slovenian talents claimed set No. 3 25-19 and never looked back in the fourth and last period (25-15) to finish third in Pool I after the preliminary phase at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women.
Slovenia head coach Bruno Najdic: “Even when the race for the third place was not the key point today, it was still important to win. After a difficult first set, we served much better; that was one of the principal factors to win.”
Belgium head coach Julien van de Vyver: “We were planning to prepare well for Saturday’s game. However, the Slovenian team was much stronger in attack today.”
In the race for the fifth place in Pool I, Slovakia booked their first win at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women by overpowering France 3:1 (25-19, 25-19, 15-25, 25-18). Best scorers of the match were Slovakian Nikola Pistelakova and Andrea Strbova with 17 kills each, whilst Lea Steuperaert booked 14 units for France. The match had no impact on further rounds of the tournament as both team have already been eliminated, but it was important for both sides to finish on a positive note. During the first two sets, the Slovakian team ruled the court (25-19, 25-19), but France came back powerfully with their spikers on fire. French captain Kim Nowak brought up set point with a blistering winner from the left, before a Safiatou Zongo ace gave France new hopes at the end of the third set (25-15). However, it was not good enough to overcome the solid Slovakian squad today. With a well-timed tip, setter Barbora Kosekova ended the match after 96 minutes in Slovakia’s favor (25-18).
Slovakia head coach Eva Kosekova: “We really wanted this win. It was important for us to finish our European Championship campaign positively. My players respected the game plan very well.”
France head coach Jacques Beraud: “I’m disappointed, yes. I gave two new players a chance, but Slovakia played better today. We made a strong comeback in the third set, but offered our opponents too many points in the fourth set. It’s a pity.”
Match schedule for Saturday:
14:00 Serbia vs. Italy (Baskent) - semifinal 1-4
16:30 Russia vs. Turkey (Baskent) - semifinal 1-4
14:00 Slovenia vs. Germany (Kislali) - semifinal 5-8
16:30 Belgium vs. Poland (Kislali) - semifinal 5-8
Match schedule for Sunday:
10:00 Classification match 7-8 (Kislali)
12:30 Classification match 5-6 (Kislali)
11:30 Bronze medal match 3-4 (Baskent)
14:00 Gold medal match 1-2 (Baskent)
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 was split into two pools of six teams with the top two from each pool advancing to the semifinals. Pool I comprised 2010 runner-up Serbia, host Turkey, Slovakia, Slovenia, Belgium and France. Pool II saw title holder Italy defending their reputations versus 2010 bronze medalist the Czech Republic, Russia, Poland, Germany as well as Bulgaria.
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