Outstanding victory for Bulgaria to qualify for European League final
2012 CEV Volleyball European League - Women
Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, July 5, 2012. Bulgaria caused a surprising upset in the final four
of CEV Volleyball European League – Women after beating Serbia 3:1 (34-32, 25-22,
21-25, and 25-20) in the first semi-final played in the Czech city of Karlovy Vary. The Bulgarian team qualified for the second time ever for a CEV European League final in an astounding victory over Serbia, the defending champions of the tournament and the only winner that this competition ever had. The three times CEV European League victors crushed against the inspired Bulgarian players, who presented a compelling opposition and an extraordinary collective performance against the current European champions.
The distribution of Diana Nenova helped Bulgaria overcome the resistance of Serbia in a disputed and exhausting first set (34-32) that gave Bulgaria an advantage in the match. The players trained by Marcello Abbondanza were able to keep their outstanding poise through the second set, as Serbia desperately searched for a come-back. However, Bulgaria was on an exceptional roll and the great performance by Strashimira Filipova put the 25-22 that situated the Bulgarian players only one step away of the final match.
Serbian head coach Zoran Terzic attempted the recovery replacing Maja Ognjenovic and Jovana Brakocevic for Bojana Zivkovic and Sanja Starovic and the gamble momentarily paid off, as Serbia achieved a hopeful partial victory for “plavi” team (21-25). Nonetheless, the inspiration was on the Bulgarian side of the net, and the players directed by Marcello Abbondanza succeed in putting a stop to the Serbian momentum through the spikes of Strashimira Filipova and their successful blocking system. Despite the Serbian attempts, the Bulgarian players confirmed their breathtaking performance (25-20) and inflicted the Serbian team its first defeat in the tournament in two years. The last time Serbia lost a match in CEV European League was on June, 2010, precisely against Bulgaria, thereby registering a record that lasted for 34 consecutive victories in the tournament; a record that finished in KV Arena of Karlovy Vary.
“I am very happy for this result; this match was like a final for us and we are very pleased that we finished it with a victory. Now we just need to fight for the title tomorrow”, said captain of Bulgaria, Strashimira Filipova. The head coach of Bulgaria, Marcello Abbondanza pointed out the extraordinary significance of the result, stating that the victory “is very important for us because we beat the best team of this tournament so far”. “It is a great result for us”, said Abbondanza, “we will try to prepare for the final tomorrow; a final is only one game and everything is possible”.
As for the Serbian team, the causes for the defeat were still on the mind of head coach and captain. “Bulgaria played very well and I am very sorry that we lost because we won the European League for the last three years. Now we have to try to finish in third position”, said Serbian captain, Maja Ognjenovic. “They were better than us. We did not play well and I don’t really know the reasons for this situation”, commented Serbian head coach, Zoran Terzic. “Definitively, this is not good for us; we need to work harder for the next period, specially considering we have the Olympic Games ahead of us”.
This victory gives Bulgaria a spot in the big final scheduled for Friday, at 18:00 GMT +1 and also guarantees the Bulgarian team a spot in the next edition of the FIVB World Grand Prix. Bulgaria will clash in the final with the winners of the second semi-final between The Netherlands and the local heroines of the Czech Republic.
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