Israeli fairy tale continues with second consecutive win
2012 CEV Volleyball European League - Men
Ra’anana, Israel, June 9, 2012. After scoring yesterday their first win in the competition, the hosts of Israel repeated that great performance to please the home crowd in Ra’anana with a second win, this time against Greece (3:1, 25-21, 26-24, 22-25, 25-19).
Israel caught a good start anchored by Alexander Shafranovich and Shon Faiga (8:3) but Greece found its way back to draw level at 14. Israel re-opened the gap (18:14) and the young home guys showed great composure also in the deciding phases of the set to pocket it with the score of 25-21.
Greece went up 5:4 in set 2 but three consecutive points contributed by Tamir Hershko paved the way for the 7 all. The score stayed very tight as the set progressed before Faiga, Shafranovich and Itamar Stein showed off their great skills in offense to contribute the 18:15 lead for Israel. Greece fought back once again and after a time-out Israel found back its best play with Shafranovich that scored three attacks and killed one block to seal the deal at 26-24.
With Hershko on fire Israel cruised to 8:3 and 10:5 in set 3 but Greece clawed back vigorously and eventually evened the score at 12. The guests cruised past at 22:19 and even though Israel tried to deliver a late surge, still Greece could go for the 2:1.
Greece extended that good momentum also to the early stages of set 4 but the addition of Guy Ben Gal helped pretty much the home side that went up 23:19 and eventually finished it off with a spike and a block to celebrate a memorable 3:1 win.
In the other match of the day Slovakia downed Denmark in straight sets (26-24, 25-21, and 25-22) with the guys around head coach Fred Sturm suffering their second defeat after losing yesterday to Israel. Last week Denmark had edged Slovakia 3:2 in Teruel but this time last year’s winners of the European League were not to stop. After trailing 5:8 in the first set, the Slovaks changed gear after the second technical time-out (21:17) and could pocket that opening section after a dramatic final rush (26-24). Slovakia opened set 2 with a 5:2 mini break and after Denmark had leveled at 16 all, the players mentored by Stefan Chrtiansky got back control of the operations (22:19) to go for the final 25-21. Denmark started out furiously in set 3 (5:1, 12:8) but a time-out woke up the Slovaks that pulled together again to finish the game in straight sets.
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