Serbia adds bronze medal to its impressive tally
2012 CEV Volleyball European League - Women
Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, July 6, 2012. Serbia won the bronze medal in the 2012 CEV Volleyball European League – Women to continue its impressive run of decorations in the tournament. The three times CEV European League winners beat The Netherlands 3:1 (25-23, 25-15, 23-25 and 25-13) in the classification match, adding another honor to their status of most decorated team in the history of the competition.
The Serbian team found a way to overcome the disappointment of the defeat in the semi-final with Bulgaria and presented a convincing performance in the fight for the third position against a hopeful Dutch side. The Netherlands yearned for an award in their first participation in CEV Volleyball European League Final Four and tried to put their opponent against the ropes in a disputed first set. The spikes by Lonneke Sloetjes and the blocks by Caroline Wensink helped the Dutch squad set the pace in the opening period, but Serbia was able to progressively find its place in the game. The Serbian players stopped their rivals’ opposition in a tied end of the period, and sealed the 25-23 that gave them the provisional advantage in the game.
After this even first period, Serbia took use of the ups and downs of the opposing team to establish its superiority in the match. The effective distribution by Maja Ognjenovic and the attacks by Brankica Mihajlovic put Serbia on the lead (25-15) and constituted the key to the final success of the Balkan side.
Nonetheless, the Netherlands worked hard for the tie-breaker and attempted to present a decent resistance to the defending champions. The performance by Lonneke Sloetjes propitiated that the side trained by Gido Vermeulen carried some uncertainty to the match after earning the third set (23-25). However, Serbia recovered the initiative and was able to avoid the fifth set via a convincing victory in the fourth period 25-13, thus finishing the match 3:1.
“We played a little better than yesterday; we cannot say that we are satisfied but we should be happy with the result today because we showed more motivation than in the semi-final”, said Serbian head coach, Zoran Terzic, who expressed his goal for the following weeks: “We definitively have to work a lot in order to improve before the Olympic Games”.
The Serbian opposite player, Jovana Brakocevic pointed out the irregularity of the game in this classification match. “We had a lot of ups and downs and had troubles finding our level but we did our best and we are satisfied that we could win and that we could claim the third position” she said.
“We are happy that we could play against the European champions and for two sets we were able to play against them at the same level”, said the head coach of The Netherlands, Gido Vermeulen. “Now we just need to go back to the gym and improve”.
The possibility of progress was also stated by Dutch captain, Debby Stam-Pilon. “Serbia deserved to win. I am happy that we are here in this Final Four, as it is a new experience for this young team but I am sad that we couldn’t play at the same level than in the League Round”, said the Dutch player.
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