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03/01/2013 22:00
Straight wins for Slovakia, Poland and Bulgaria in Nitra
2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Boys

Nitra, Slovakia, January 3, 2013. Slovakia, Poland and Bulgaria all started their campaign at the qualifying tournament for the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Boys taking place through this weekend in Nitra by edging their respective opponents – i.e. England, Portugal and Israel – in three straight sets.
Poland opened the competition by routing Portugal (25-16, 25-21, and 25-14) by imposing its pace and quality in all fundamentals, and especially in blocking, offense and serving. After they did not find much resistance in the opening set, the guys from Poland had to cope with a comeback that Portugal displayed in the second section of the game, clawing back from 15:21 to 21 all. However, Poland could eventually bag the provisional 2:0 after an ace contributed by middle blocker Pawel Gryc sealed the final 25-21. Poland dominated the scene in set 3 (25-14) to ultimately take three points from its first match in the tournament. “Their players were stronger, taller and they also served really well” said Portugal’s head coach Ricardo Rocha. “We had problems in reception and made many unforced errors. If you make so many mistakes while playing a team as solid as Poland you won’t stand a chance” he added.   
“We are pretty satisfied with the result; our players were nervous which is normal for the start of a tournament. We did not show anything special but I am sure that we can play much better” said Poland’s mentor Wieslaw Czaja.
Bartosz Bucko paced Poland with 8 points while Dinis Alves top scored in the match for Portugal with 11.  

In the second match of the day the home heroes of Slovakia easily edged England (25-15, 25-19, and 25-16) showing a very good performance and scoring a few aces. “We did not know much about England before this match but we had expected this was not going to be the toughest rival in this tournament” said Slovakia’s head coach Miroslav Palgut. “We stood out in every fundamental and I am happy with the result since this is a good way to start the tournament. Tomorrow we will play Israel; we crossed our ways last week in Slovenia and there we used our second lines and eventually won 2:1. If we want to make it to the final round of the Championship, we definitely need to score a win tomorrow as well”.   
“It was a good match. Slovakia served extremely well in the early phases of each set and we did not show a good offensive system” added England’s mentor, Brazilian-born Rogerio Ponticelli. “We have to work hard and we know the next game with Poland will be as tough as the one we just had today”.
Simon Krajcovic top scored for Slovakia with 17 points while Toby French chartered 6 for England.  

In the last match of the day Bulgaria easily disposed of Israel in straight sets too (25-13, 26-24, and 25-21) even though the second set turned into a hard-fought battle before Todor Kostov wrapped it up with a block. “The first match of a tournament like this is always particularly difficult. After we played superbly in the first set, my players relaxed as they thought it was going to be an easy task. I am coaching a club competing in Bulgaria’s first division and it is definitely very different to work with players at this age. Anyway I am happy that we finished it off in straight sets” said Bulgaria’s mentor Ivan Halachev.
“Our players are very young and inexperienced and it looks like we did not have enough power to finish it off when it counted the most. We made many mistakes that we shall avoid but I hope we’ll improve match after match, being not afraid of playing against good teams as most of those that were assigned to this Pool” pointed out Israel’s mentor Jacob Herchko.  
Krasimir Georgiev paced Bulgaria in the game with 12 points while Iliya Goldrin registered 15 for the losing side.  

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