Israeli guys barely miss out on yet another sensation
2012 CEV Volleyball European League - Men
Ra’anana, Israel, June 10, 2012. Israel’s guys were very close to cause another sensation on Sunday as, after edging Denmark and Greece this weekend, they eventually did lose to last year’s winners from Slovakia only at the tie-break in their last home match for round 3 of the 2012 CEV Volleyball European League (2:3, 17-25, 26-24, 24-26, 27-25, 14-16).
After a very close start (7:7), Slovakia gradually imposed its pace in the opening set (9:13) keeping control of the operations all the way through (17-25).
Supported by Alexander Shafranovich and Tamir Hershko, the hosts moved to the front in set 2 (11:8) before Slovakia restored its leadership with a spike of Milan Bencz (18:19). However, loudly cheered by the home crowd the young Israeli side stayed cool and finished it off at 26-24 for the 1:1.
Another neck-to-neck race followed in set 3 where Israel set the pace for a couple of times (14:12, 21:17) before Slovakia stormed back to level at 21 all. Israel missed out on a set ball at 24:23 and Slovakia eventually showed great composure to pocket set 3 (24-26).
Israel played very aggressive in set 4 but another close final rush capped that section of the game with the score being evened at 22, 23, 24 and 25 before the home heroes closed it out by scoring the next two rallies and calling for the tie-break (27-25).
Israel opened powerfully there (4:0, 6:3) but Slovakia fought back to 6 all; Shon Faiga contributed the provisional 13:11 for Israel but in the end it was Slovakia that showed cool nerves to wrap it up at 14-16.
Denmark stopped its negative streak on Sunday by edging Greece 3:1 (25-20, 25-18, 22-25, and 26-24) to redeem for the two losses previously suffered this weekend in Israel.
Denmark opened with a good pace (4:2) and gradually stretched its lead (13:10, 16:12) to pocket the opening set at 25-20 while Greece was being cheered on by their Ambassador to Israel, Mr. Kyriakos Loukakis. After a very close start (10:9), Denmark gradually widened the gap in set 2 as well (16:12) with team captain Kristian Knudsen anchoring his side, together with Flemming Olufsen, to the final 25-18. Greece set the pace for most of set 3 (8:7, 16:15) and even though Denmark did briefly flip the score around (19:18), still Greece stayed well focused to cruise to the final 25-22 to call for a fourth set. There a very close race unfolded with continuous ties up to 20 all before the guys in red jerseys clipped a very slim margin (23:21) and could take the set and the victory at 26-24.
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