Romania falls prey to the Dutch while Austria upsets the Czech Republic
2012 CEV Volleyball European League - Men
Rotterdam, the Netherlands, June 16, 2012. Although today the Dutch volleyball men did not play as well as they did yesterday against Austria, the team of Edwin Benne still left the playing court with a 3:0 victory over Romania. With 25-19, 27-25 and 25-23 Romania lost its second 2012 CEV Volleyball European League - Men match in Rotterdam. Austria created a little surprise in Rotterdam today by defeating the Czech Republic of Dutch coach Stewart Bernard in five sets: 3:2 (27-25, 20-25, 25-21, 21-25, 17-15).
In the first half of the opening set, the teams of Austria and the Czech Republic appeared quite equivalent. Austria was the first to reach the eight points, but after the first obligatory break, the Czech Republic ran away (14-10). The margin of four points did not survive, despite the impressive save of Czech Michal Krisko (17-15). Austria gave a good fight, but could not prevent that after the longest rally of the set, the Czechs had their first set point (24-22). The men of coach Michael Warm, however, managed to even the score again (24-24), after which a lucky serve by Oliver Binder via the net brought the first Austrian set-point, which was cashed immediately.
In the second set, the Czechs immediately took the lead (5-2, 8-3), but at 9 all the score evened again. Then the Czech Republic created a margin of three points, which did not stop the Austrians to get on the same level again (14-14). A well-placed Czech block brought the men of coach Stewart Bernard their 23rd point and a spike by Ales Holubec ended the second act.
The squad of Austrian coach Warm led with four points at the first technical time-out in the third set, which was clearly frustrating Bernard. The Czech Republic managed to fight back into the game (19-19), but after a well-spiked smash and two aces by Aleksander Blagojevic, Austria cashed its second set.
A ball spiked behind the Czech playing lines by Blagojevic brought 10-8 on the scoreboard in the fourth act, but a few seconds later Blagojevic evened the score again with a well-placed spike. The teams turned coins up to 15-15, but then the Czech Republic created a modest margin that was built out carefully (17-15, 20-17). Jiri Kral spiked in the first set-point for the Czechs (24-20), two points later it was clear a deciding set was required.
In the closing act, the Dutch audience got to see an exciting and close match. When the teams switched sides, the Czech led by one point, but it was Austria that obtained the first match-point (12-14). One minute later, the Czech Republic had the chance to close the match in its favor (15-14) but finally it was Austria that won its fourth duel of this European League edition.
”Our top scorer Thomas Zass and Marcus Guttman are both sick and stayed in the hotel. Our goal for today was to divide the play better, perhaps we surprised the Czechs with that. Also, our serving and blocking were better today”, Warm stated after the match. ”Today we were not eager enough, we made too many unforced errors”, Czech coach Bernard added.
The Netherlands did not start the match against Romania well today (1-4), whereas the opponent appeared concentrated and showed good play. Still, an ace by Nimir Abdelaziz evened the score (7-7), but after a well-placed Romanian block, the Dutch were trailing by three points again (8-11). When the Romanians started to make some unforced errors, the tables turned. An ace followed by a direct serving point by Tony Krolis brought 22-19 on the scoreboard, a lead that was not given away anymore by the home team.
In the second act, again the Dutch did not play their best game. At 4-8, Benne brought Robbert Andringa in the field for Jelte Maan, but the Romanians kept on scoring, mainly via the Dutch block. The home squad laboriously fought itself back in the game, when Krolis again made the difference with his fierce serves (18-19, 20-19). The first set-point was for Romania (23-24), but a devastating smash by Krolis ended the second set in favor of the Dutch.
In the closing set, again Romania took the lead in the opening phase. This time the men in orange managed to even the score earlier (7-7). Then Krolis scored two aces in a row again, which widened the margin to five points (16-11). Romania managed to get back on track (19-19), but, cheered by the orange crowd in Rotterdam, the Netherlands took the lead again. After a block by Thomas Koelewijn and two unstoppable spikes by yesterday’s top scorer Thijs ter Horst, it was match-point for the Dutch (24-21). After a wonderful save of Gijs Jorna, Abdelaziz had the honor to end the set and match.
”Everything was better yesterday, but we kept confidence”, Dutch coach Benne stated afterwards. ”Tony made the difference today, but I prefer seeing the whole team make the difference. Tomorrow we get a new chance against the Czechs.” Romanian coach Dan Gavril was also impressed by Tony Krolis: ”He made the difference on crucial points today. We did not expect to win today, but we did have our chances. Unfortunately we did not succeed in cashing them.”
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