Russia has yet to lose a set in Pool II after competition day 3 in Belgrade
2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Boys
Belgrade, Serbia, April 14, 2013. Russia has taken complete control over Pool II of the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Boys, after scoring its third straight-set win on day 3 of the competition. By this time shutting out Bulgaria the squad around head coach Alexander Karikov reserved its seat on the bus for Laktaši. Defending champions and hosts Serbia suffered their third loss, but added their first point for the ranking as Turkey defeated them in a thrilling five-setter. In a direct battle for the runner-up spot Finland beat France by 3-1 but is still behind in the standings on set ratio.
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Bulgaria vs. Russia 0:3 (16-25, 18-25, 17-25)
In today’s opening duel in Pool II, Russia swept away Bulgaria in straight sets - 3:0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-17). Russia’s Victor Poletaev topped the scorers` chart with 15 points, including 2 aces and 2 blocking kills. Milen Iliev was Bulgaria’s most prolific player with 7 points.
Russia had no problems overpowering Bulgaria, as their tall blockers once again did a superb job. Only in the opening few points of each set Bulgaria managed to be an equal rival, but then Russia would storm to a five or six-point lead and easily finish the job. Throughout the whole match Bulgaria could not find a way to stop Russian attacks and the total of only 4 blocking kills by the Bulgarian side tells the story.
Alexander Karikov, head coach of Russia: ”Today we were mixing our line-up a little bit. I gave a chance to some players from the bench, and I am extremely satisfied with their performance.”
Ivan Halachev, head coach of Bulgaria: “I believe today Russia is maybe the strongest team in Europe. When you play against them it is not a question of how you play, but whether they will allow you to play at all”.
Maxim Troynin, Russian blocker: “Our goal was to reach the semi finals. After the day off tomorrow, we play against France for the top spot. We are satisfied with our performance up to now and we are confident that we will continue playing like this throughout the whole championship”.
Mihail Tsvetanov, captain of Bulgaria: “We played our best game and we are happy that Russia responded with their best game, so we had the chance to compete with them on a highest level. The next two matches are crucial for us, and we will do our best to prepare for the final challenges.”
Finland vs. France 3:1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21)
In the second match of the day in Pool II, Finland overpowered France 3:1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21) and remained in the hunt for a place in the semi finals. France’s Timothee Carle and Stephen Boyer topped the scorers’ chart with 17 points each, while Antti Ropponen of Finland was the best scorer of the winning team with 16.
The teams entered the first set very focused, realizing the importance of the match and not making many mistakes. However, Finland managed to score a couple of points for an advantage before the first technical time-out (8-6). After the break France was close, they even tied the result at 8-8, but the Finns soon regained control with an aggressive play, created a gap (15-10) and never looked back. France could not recover, and Finland wrapped it up at 25-19 for 1:0 in sets.
In the second set Finland started in the same fashion as they concluded the previous one, taking an early 4-1 lead. This time France would not allow them to escape. The teams went to the first technical time-out at 8-6 to Finland. After having a maximum three-point lead at 9-6, Finland began to collapse as the French finally got into to right rhythm. Soon, the score was leveled at 9-9, and from that moment on "Les Bleus” took firm control of the match. They slowly but surely created a gap, and in the end deservedly equalized the score in sets 1:1 (25-19).
The third set was all about Finland. The Finns stormed to an early 8-2 lead before the first technical time-out, and that was the blow the French could not recover from. In the end, it was an easy 25-13 and 2:1 in sets to the Finnish team.
In the beginning of the fourth set the tall Finnish blocker Samuli Kaislasalo presented a huge obstacle on the net for the French who could not seem to find a right way to score. Finland took an early 7-3 lead, but the resilient French team would not give up. They were trailing by a couple of points throughout the middle section of the set, but still they were close enough to pose a threat. Finland was in control, but realistically it was pretty much anyone’s game in these moments. The second technical time-out saw Finland moving a little bit closer to winning with a 16-13 lead. After the break, they went up 19-14 and that was it for the French who had to surrender to the better team today.
Pertti Honkanen, head coach of Finland: "France is a very strong team with powerful attackers. We had to stay focused, ball after ball, building our confidence. We are very happy with this victory. Now we have chances to go to the semi finals."
Slimane Belmadi, head coach of France: "Finland played very good today and we were not on our level. I am extremely disappointed. Now, everything is possible. We have to hope that Finland make some mistake."
Sakari Makinen, captain of Finland: "This is a great victory for the team. Tactically we were perfect today, everyone did their job and Lauri Jylha played like never before. He was absolutely great. We are thrilled. This is like a dream we are living and I hope we continue like this."
Aaron Koubi, receiver in the French team: "I am very sad. Now, it is going to be very hard to qualify to the semi finals. But we are still positive and we think we can do it with a bit of luck."
Serbia vs. Turkey 2:3 (14-25, 25-21, 16-25, 25-19, 7:15)
In the last match of Pool II, the reigning European champions Serbia booked yet another defeat at the Final Round on home ground, this time against Turkey by a narrow margin of 2:3 (14-25, 25-21, 16-25, 25-19, 7-15). Turkey’s Cansin Ogbai Enaboifo and Serbia’s Andrija Vilimanovic topped the scorers’ chart with 21 points each.
The host team, without a single point after two days of competition, was in a desperate position before the start of the match with Turkey. Overwhelmed with pressure, the new generation of Serbian youth boys could not respond well to the challenge presented to them. In the first set Turkey immediately seized the lead and went to the first technical time-out with a comfortable 8-4 advantage. After the break, things only got worse for the home side as Turkey was starting to create a serious gap (13-7). Coach Milan Djuricic tried to calm down his team with a time-out, but without any luck as Turkey stormed to a 16-8 lead before the second technical break. It was a matter of routine for the Turkish side to wrap up the initial set at 25-14.
After an early 4-1 lead for Turkey, Serbia managed to regroup and turn the score in their favor before the first technical time-out (8-7 to Serbia). After the break, both teams showed that they are willing to fight. When Serbia’s Milutin Nejic put pressure on Turkish receivers serving couple of great shots, including an ace, for 13-11, Turkey’s coach Ali Kazim Hidayetoglu had to ask for a time-out. After that, Turkey soon equalized and the teams continued to battle in a point-for-point fashion all the way through 18-18, when Serbia had a break creating a two-point advantage (20-18). Turkey quickly responded with a time-out, but could not stop the resurrecting Serbian team to level the score in sets (25-21).
The third set started in a calm atmosphere, as both teams were careful enough not to precipitate themselves. However, when Melih Siratca went behind the serving line, the trouble for the home side began. With an ace and a couple of great serves supported by firm blocking, he lifted his team to a 9-4 lead, which proved to be the key moment of the set. After that, Turkey calmly brought this part of the match to a closure at 25-16 and 2:1 in sets.
The fourth set was pretty equally balanced all the way through the second technical time-out, as neither of the teams could gain some tangible advantage. After the break at 16-14 to Serbia, the home side began to put the pressure on their rivals using the block as their strongest weapon. Turkey could not cope with this sudden change of the situation on the court and Serbia equalized the score in sets 2:2 (25-19).
In the beginning of the fifth set Turkey got off to an early 4-1 lead, and coach Milan Djuricic had to call for a time-out. However, it was of no use as the Turkish side successfully maintained the gap until the very end (15-7).
Ali Kazim Hidayetoglu, head coach of Turkey: "Serbia is a very strong side. This match was very important for them, but we were improving over the time and this victory is well deserved. I think we will perform even better in the upcoming matches.“
Milan Djuricic, head coach of Serbia: "We said goodbye to the World Championship. We are disappointed, especially because we played at home. However, we spotted some guys who can produce a lot for us in the future, and we will continue working.“
Yigit Gulmezoglu, captain of Turkey: "Today we are not satisfied with our performance. We have to play better if we want to qualify to the semi finals."
Andrija Vilimanovic, setter in the Serbian team: "I do not know what is happening to us. Today we showed some of our potential, but in the end we fell physically and that was it. Now we have to beat Bulgaria. As for Russia, it will be almost impossible as they are too strong in this moment. But we will see..."
All matches in Pool II are streamed live on the official website of the Serbian Volleyball Federation here.
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