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17/04/2013 22:00
Poland wins Pool I and secures a semi final spot
2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Boys

Laktaši, Bosnia and Herzegovina, April 17, 2013.  Poland qualified for the semi finals of the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Boys as it continued its winning streak through the fourth competition day in Pool I.  As it overcame the home team of Bosnia and Herzegovina by 3-0 the Polish team has yet to lose a set in this tournament and is now sure to finish on top of the pool before the last three matches are played tomorrow.  However, it will be a tough battle for the second position.  After Italy beat Austria in straight sets today and Slovenia outplayed Belgium in an exciting five-setter, all of these four teams are still in contention for the semis.
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Italy vs. Austria 3:0 (26-24, 25-17, 25-13)
Italy managed to stay in contention for a place in the semi finals as it defeated Austria in straight sets.  Tiziano Mazzone was the best scorer of the match with 14 points while Paul Buchegger added 13 to Austria’s tally.
The first set of this match was by far the most interesting one.  Despite making too many unforced errors, Austria had the upper hand through pretty much the entire set and reached a 5-point advantage at 14-9.  It could see itself as the winner of this first part of the match as it had 4 consecutive set points at 24-20.  However, with captain Sebastiano Milan behind the serving line, Italy made a fantastic run and overturned the outcome to 26-24.
Already with the psychological advantage on its side, the team of Andrea Tomasini went quickly through the following two sets.  Austria never got the chance to take the lead again.  The Italians outplayed their opponents in blocking and offense and piled up a solid advantage to close the second set by 25-17 and the third by 25-13.
Andrea Tomasini, head coach of Italy: “It was a match which decided which team stays in the tournament. In the first set we were afraid, and we did not play so well. Anyway, we succeeded to win it and we played better in the next two sets. Great match for the confidence of the team!  Austria is a very good team, and we had to work hard for every point.“
Nina Sawatzki, head coach of Austria: “It was a very difficult match for us. We had 24-20 in the first set, but we lost it. I think that is the reason why we lost the game. I hope we will succeed to play better in the next match.”
Sebastiano Milan, captain of Italy: “We had a very good match today.  The Austrian team is very good. First set was very tense, but we succeeded to win it. In the next two sets our spike and block did very well. We were very excited about this match as it is very important for the standings in the pool.“
Florian Ertl, captain of Austria: “I am very disappointed right now. We started the match very well, but we missed 4 set points and then Italy started to play better. I would like to compliment the Italian team. Good game for them!  We have to start motivating ourselves for the next match against Belgium.”
Belgium vs. Slovenia 2:3 (22-25, 24-26, 25-15, 25-14, 12-15)
Slovenia emerged as the winner of this exciting five-set roller coaster against Belgium.  The Belgians could have made a huge step towards the semi finals, had they won the three points from this match, but now they have to overcome Austria tomorrow to secure a place among the best four in the championship.  Toncek Stern contributed 19 points for the Slovenian victory and topped the scorers’ chart of the match, while Arno Van De Velde was responsible for 18 of the points on Belgium’s tally, including 6 aces and 7 blocking kills.
The first set as a whole was very close, with a slight advantage for Slovenia.  It was Toncek Stern whose great spiking efforts brought 7 points to his team’s score in this set.  The Slovenes saw their lead disappear as Belgium scored 4 points in a row with some strong serving from Arno Van De Velde to tie the score at 14 each.  The battle continued for every point until the score was again in equilibrium at 22 each, but then Slovenia scored 3 in a row with Jan Kozamernik’s block putting the ball on the floor for the final point.
As Belgium greatly improved its blocking performance in the second set while Slovenia stepped up its serving power, the battle on the court became even fiercer. After several changes of the lead, Iztok Ksela’s boys got to their first set point at 24-23.  They did not take advantage of it, but took advantage of the next one to close the set at 26-24.
With its back against the wall, now Belgium had no other choice, but to increase the pressure.  The team of Steven Vanmedegael took control over the next two parts of the match.  In the third set they established domination thanks to their improved offense and Arno Van De Velde’s prolific serving, and in the fourth their block was like a wall for the Slovenian attacks and their game was almost flawless to convincingly win by 25-15 and 25-14 and set the stage for a decisive fifth set.
Slovenia came out more concentrated for the tie-breaker and took an early lead.  Belgium trailed close behind and eliminated the gap during the mid section of the set, but was never able to take over.  Its players made too many errors and this is actually how they scored Slovenia’s last point for 15-12 and gave the victory to the opponent.
Iztok Ksela, head coach of Slovenia: “It was a tough game. Preparation for this game was very well done. The first two sets were played as we planned. After that, they were serving much better, so we lost two sets quite easily. Somehow we succeeded to win the fifth set with six guys who had never played together before. I am happy because we won this game.“
Steven Vanmedegael, head coach of Belgium: “We knew that it would be a tough game. They have been serving well during the whole tournament. We came back in the third and the fourth sets, playing our game. But in the fifth set anything can happen – it can go either way. We made some mistakes and we lost. Tomorrow we are playing against Austria, so we have to win if we want to reach the semi finals.“
Jernej Vrhunc, captain of Slovenia: “We played well in the first two sets, but then our concentration was on a very low level in the next two sets. Luckily, we managed to play our game in the last one and we won.“
Sander Depovere, captain of the Belgium: “The Slovenian team was really on a roll, but we managed to break them in the third and the fourth set. Unfortunately we lost the tie-breaker.  Tomorrow we have a very important game. If we win, we go to the semi finals, so it is the most important one for us.“
Poland vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina 3:0 (26-24, 25-21, 25-12)
Poland claimed its fourth straight-set victory in the tournament as it ran over Bosnia and Herzegovina in the last match on today’s program in Laktaši.  With 11 points each, Poland’s Pawel Gryc (4 blocking kills) and Bartosz Bucko became the most prolific players of this game, while Marko Matic scored 9 points to become the top scorer for the home side.
In the first set it was hard to tell which team has not lost a set so far and which has not won a game, as the hosts took an early lead, taking advantage of Poland’s mistakes.  The team of Wieslaw Czaja was able to tie the score at 10-10, but the second technical time-out was the first time it went up ahead of the opponent for 16-15.  At 23-17 Poland’s way, everything seemed to be as expected, but not according to the players of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Inspired by the support of the home fans, they stormed back into contention and tied the score at 24-24.  But if Poland has not lost a single set so far, why start now?  With a successful spike it gained another set point and then it was Piotr Badura’s block that finished it off at 26-24.
Bosnia and Herzegovina tried to take control again at the beginning of the second set and was up by 2-1 and by 3-2, but this was all its efforts paid off with.  From this moment on, Poland established total domination on the court.  It closed the second set at 25-21 and the home team was practically absent in the third – 25-12 in Poland’s favor, with substitute player Jan Fornal elegantly hitting the ball off the Bosnian block for the last point.
Sebastian Pawlik, assistant coach of Poland: “Against the weakest opponents our game is on a lower level. The good news is that all players have participated. We are in the semi finals and we are concentrated on winning a medal.“
Ljubisa Ristic, head coach of Bosnia & Herzegovina: “This game has shown that the level of our game is improving as we spend more time together. Unfortunately, our opponents are also better and better, so we did not succeed to win at least a set. Maybe it is a bit weird, but actually this tournament serves for us as preparation for the Balkan Championship.“
Bartosz Bucko, captain of Poland: “Even though we won, it was a terrible game. The only good news is that we are in the semi finals. I hope that we will play better in next matches.“
Muris Krivokapa, captain of Bosnia & Herzegovina: “As the tournament is moving forward, our game is improving. We are sorry because we lost the chance to win a set against Poland, which plays the best volleyball in our pool.“
All matches in Pool I are streamed live on here.
Click here for more information, including schedule, results, statistics and standings.

News nr. 9 of 56
17/04/2013 23:00:00
Finland joins Russia in the semis as runner-up in Pool II
17/04/2013 16:00:00
Slovenian team feels the love in Laktaši

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