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22/06/2012 20:00
Oranjes simply too much to handle for young Austrians
2012 CEV Volleyball European League - Men

Hard, Austria, June 22, 2012. Austria lost its second home match in the last preliminary round of the 2012 CEV Volleyball European League to the leader and actually winner of Pool B, i.e. the Netherlands. Already qualified to the final four scheduled for next week in Turkey, the Oranjes downed the home heroes in straight sets (27-25, 25-21, and 25-21) while Austria will try to improve its ratio to six wins in the competition by playing the Czech Republic on Saturday.
Austria fought bravely in the opening set but could not really shake its opponents; the guys around head coach Michael Warm missed out on three set balls before the Netherlands pocketed it by cashing their first chance to finish it off at 27-25. The second set followed a similar plot with the home side failing to score the deciding points and the guests from Holland going up 2:0 (25-21).
Austria regularly set the pace of the game in the third set with the Netherlands moving to the front for the first time only at 11:10. After that, the “Oranjes” could gradually impose their rhythm going up by 2 or 3 points, a margin that was eventually maintained up to the end of the game (25-21).
Thomas Zass and Alexander Berger top scored for the home side with 12 and 11 points while Jelte Maan paced the Netherlands with 7.
“Yesterday we qualified to the final four so the players were probably not that motivated today but they eventually took this game very seriously” said Dutch head coach Edwin Benne (pictured).
“We cannot complain because we did not play bad today. However, you see that we are gradually running out of fuel, as we have been playing many matches with little rest. We certainly still re-joy for our win against Turkey especially as we have been this team three times in this edition of the European League. Tomorrow we’ll have a tough match with the Czech Republic as their goal is still to make it to the final four and hence I expect they will be playing their best to travel to Ankara” said Austrian head coach Michael Warm.
“The Dutch are not just by chance on top of the standings of the group. Yesterday we had fought back bravely but this time we did not succeed in finding our way back into the game” stated local captain Oliver Binder. “We still hope to score at least one more win on Saturday as we play the Czech Republic for our last match”.  

To keep alive their chances to make it to the final four scheduled next week in Ankara, the Czechs needed to score a 3:0 or 3:1 win against Turkey on Friday but they eventually ended up by losing 2:3 (25-9, 16-25, 25-18, 22-25, and 11-15) to the hosts of this year’s final round. This result paves the way with gold for Slovakia, the team that is currently ranked second in the standings of Pool A and that will hence be able to defend in Ankara the title it seized last year in Kosice.
The Czechs started powerfully downing Turkey in the opening set with the terrific score of 25-9. However, they rapidly lost momentum, started making mistakes while the Turks gradually found their best play to seize the second set with a comfortable 25-16. The Czechs pulled together in set 3 eventually going for the provisional 2:1 (25-18) after setting the pace almost all the way through there but Turkey clawed back once again, going up 18:11 in the fourth set and even though the Czechs fought their way back to 21:19, still they lost the set 22-25 thereby having to play the tie-break. With their chances to make it to the final four already blown away, the Czechs did lose composure in the fifth set where Turkey seized the night at 15-11 by cashing its first match ball.
“We caught a very poor start but then we got back by improving our defense and the quality of our service, so finally the match ended in our favor” said Turkey’s head coach Veljko Basic.

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