Belgium's boys added to starting field of final round
2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Boys
Kecskemét, Hungary, January 6, 2013. As they beat Greece 3:2 (25-22, 18-25, 25-18, 20-25, and 15-13) the boys from Belgium ultimately qualified for the final round of the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship even though still one round is left for completion of the tournament that is running in Kecskemét. Finland – via their 3:1 win (25-23, 25-23, 17-25, and 25-21) over the hosts of Hungary – is very close to achieve this goal as well but the final decision will be made only at the end of the last competition day on Monday.
Croatia opened the program on Sunday by claiming their first win of the tournament cruising past Denmark with the score of 3:1 (25-14, 25-20, 23-25, and 25-20). After a close start (8:8), the Croats imposed their rule in the first set going for a massive 25-14. Anchored by their star Filip Sestan and by Marko Sedlacek, Croatia claimed also set 2 before Denmark got back on track in set 3 via some great play by Mads Molgaard – who eventually top scored in the game with 31 points. However, Croatia got back control of the operations in set 4 and after 101 minutes could celebrate a well-deserved 3:1 win.
In the second match of the day Finland started out strong to claim the first set (25-23) while playing the hosts of Hungary. Finland got to the front also in set 2 with good blocks and even though the final rush was extremely close, the “Suomis” could cash another 25-23 to go for the 2:0. Antti Ropponen was Finland’s best player in the match as he scored all of the most important points. However, Hungary responded in set 3 with Norbert Gebhardt on fire (25-17) but it was Ropponen – top scorer in the end with 28 points – who set the tone in the next section to finish it off at 3:1 for the guys from Finland.
Entering that match with a perfect record after three days, Belgium started out strong with Greece going up 1:0 (25-22) but then Greece reacted and could go for the 1:1. Laszlo Paepe and Arno Van de Velde paced Belgium in set three where the score was tight up to 17 all before Belgium finished it strong (25-18). Via the spikes killed by Georgios Tzioumakas and Vasileios Kostopoulos Greece got back on track in set 4 helped also by the blocks scored by Kyriakos Spyrounis to call for the tie-break (25-20). 15-year old Thomas Konings stood out there for Belgium and the 15-13 and 3:2 secured for this side a spot in the final round of the Championship.
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