Russia and Italy book semifinal tickets in Pool II
2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women
Ankara, Turkey, August 23, 2012. Titleholder Italy beat Russia 3:1 in today’s top duel of Pool II to claim their hard-earned semifinal spot at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women. In spite of their defeat versus the “squadra azzurra”, the Russian powerhouse remain first in Pool II. Poland missed their opportunity for a semifinal ticket after their unexpected 0:3 defeat versus Germany. The Czech Republic beat Bulgaria 3:1. Saturday’s semifinals feature Serbia challenging Italy and Turkey facing Russia.
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Russia needed only one set in today’s first Pool II duel against Italy. On the other side, Italy was forced to win to keep their hopes alive for a possible semifinal spot. In a classy match, the “squadra azzurra” finally prevailed (23-25, 25-15, 25-23, 25-16) in their fifth and last preliminary match at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women. Italian middle-blocker Cristina Chirichella and Russian opposite Irina Voronkova topped the scorers with 17 points each. Russia made 14 reception errors while Italy only had six. Both teams made an ambitious start into the game with Russia being a little bit quicker in defense. The Russian powerhouse led 8-4 and 16-13 at the technical breaks, but Chirichella leveled the score at 19-19 with a nice block winner. Nevertheless, thanks to a solid Irina Fetisova block, Russia managed to take a hard-earned 1:0 set lead (25-23). Italy bounced back strongly in the second period (25-15), but lost momentum again in the first part of set No. 3 (11-16). It needed an outstanding comeback of the young Italian talents at the end of the third set to turn the tables again. Wing-spiker Ilaria Maurotti finished the set with an ace (25-23). That was the key moment of the match. Russia didn’t stomach the unpleasant turnover, showing little resistance in the fourth and last set (16-25).
Italian head coach Marco Mencarelli: “We played very well today. Every player on the court gave its best. I don’t know why we couldn’t do so before, but this was the real Italian style.”
Good serves were the key factor for Germany’s straight-set win versus Poland (25-19, 25-20, 29-27) in tonight’s second determinant clash of Pool II. German opposite Lisa Izquierdo topped all the scorers with 15 points. The promising German talents, playing without any pressure, jumped out for an 8-4 and 16-7 lead at the first and second technical time-out. On the other side, the Polish team acted very tensely, being probably too much aware of the difficult task they had to fulfill tonight. Germany never looked back in the first set (25-19). Trailing 5-8 in the second period, Poland tried to bounce back, but the team of head coach Han Abbing kept control (16-14). Some sharp serves from captain and setter Magdalena Gryka moved the scoreboard forward in the West Europeans favor (25-20). Even when the Polish squad did its best to come back in the third set, Germany kept the upper hand. Both teams had several set balls, but only Germany managed to take advantage of one of them. After 74 minutes, Germany ended the clash in their favor (29-27), improving their win-loss record to 3-2. Poland on the other hand missed their opportunity for a semifinal ticket, finishing third in Pool II.
German head coach Han Abbing: “I guess the Polish team felt a lot of pressure. We played freely, relaxed and with confidence. That’s why we finally won that easily.”
German captain Magdalena Gryka: “We played quite spontaneously and tranquil. We made powerful serves and solid passing. All parts of the game were good for us.”
Polish head coach Andrzej Pec: “I don’t know what to say. Maybe we should ask the players. We trained well and the preparations for the match were great. But after having lost the first set, we stopped playing.”
In today’s last duel of Pool II, the Czech Republic beat Bulgaria 3:1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-20). Although the young Czech talents lost the first set, the team of head coach Stanislav Mitac bounced back bravely to beat Bulgaria impressively. Czech wing-spiker Michaela Mlejnkova topped the scorers with 18 points. It was the first win for the Czech team at 2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women. 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 with positive emotions.
Bulgaria experienced the better start into the match. Even though the Czech team came back at the end of the first set, the team of Bulgarian head coach Radoslav Bakardzhiev pulled through (25-23). However, in the second set, the Czech ladies took over control. At the second technical break, the Czech Republic already led by six points and never looked back (25-20). The plot of the match didn’t change much in the third set. Bulgaria tried its best to resist, but a well-timed Czech time-out at 22-21 brought the Czechs back on track (25-22). The match was over as a contest now, offering the young Czech team a merited 3:1 win (25-20).
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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