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09/06/2012 20:00
Turkey stops Czech winning streak
2012 CEV Volleyball European League - Men

Jablonec nad Nisou, Czech Republic, June 9, 2012. As their best players are currently participating in the Olympic qualifier taking place this weekend in Berlin, the home heroes of the Czech Republic suffered their first defeat in this year’s CEV Volleyball European League as on Saturday they were edged by their opponents from Turkey in front of full stands (1:3; 23-25, 25-21, 19-25, 16-25) in Jablonec nad Nisou.  
Both teams started quite cautiously and Turkey enjoyed the narrowest margin by the first technical time-out of the opening set. Adam Bartos got the Czech side back on track with his service (12:9) but Turkey clawed back to even the score at 15 all. The score stayed very close up to another tie at 20 before the balance gradually shifted to the Turkish side of the court, with the guests that did wrap it up at 23-25.
Turkey went up 8:6 in set 2 but the home guys around head coach Jindrich Licek stormed back and with a couple of good attacks moved to the front (15:14). Turkey got a little nervous while the local heroes stayed cool not to lose composure and draw level in sets (25-21).
However, the local favorites slowed down their pace in set 3 where they trailed 11:15; the Czech coach changed his setter, with Lubos Bartunek joining the game, but the course of the game did not turn around (15:20) with Turkey that eventually cashed its second set ball to move up 1:2 (19-25).  
Even though the Czechs played with glowing hearts in set 4, this was totally controlled by Turkey that deservedly claimed the match thereby inflicting the first defeat to the Czechs since the start of the European League.
“We played well for the first two sets but Turkey stepped up in comparison to their previous games and deservedly won. Since some players are injured or sick, I did not have many chances to go for substitutions. The guys were nevertheless fighting all the time as they really enjoyed the great atmosphere contributed by our fans this afternoon, so it is a pity that we could not pay them back with a victory” says Czech head coach Jindrich Licek. “If you are surrounded by an atmosphere like we were today, you easily forget your fatigue and pain and you just want to win the game” adds middle blocker Radek Mach.
“Today we played pretty well, especially in defense and attack. We improved also in comparison with yesterday’s match against Romania” stresses Turkey’s head coach Veljko Basic. “I believe that tomorrow we can play with that same quality as we take on Austria”.  

In the second match of the day Romania edged Austria 3:1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-22, and 25-17) to claim its first victory in this year’s European League. Even though Thomas Zass scored 27 points all alone for Austria, this was not enough to contribute another win for the group mentored by head coach Michael Warm. Romania out-classed Austria in all fundamentals (56% of efficiency in attack vs. 49% for Austria, 12 blocks vs. 9, 5 to 4 in aces). Romania’s captain Dan Borota played very well and pocketed a total of 20 points for his side. In spite of this win the Romanian guys are still ranked fifth and last in Pool B.
“We played much better than we did yesterday with Turkey. We have to prepare very carefully for the match with the Czechs and hope to win on Sunday as well” said Borota. “Our team is very young and we needed a win to get some confidence and move a step forward” stressed head coach Dan Gavril. “We are having many health problems, one player was suffering of stomach pain and had to stay at the hotel and others are not feeling well too. I cannot guarantee that tomorrow with Turkey we can go for a victory” stated Michael Warm after the defeat.

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