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03/01/2013 21:00
Slovenia, Israel and Bulgaria score wins on first day of action in Nova Gorica
2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Girls

Nova Gorica, Slovenia, January 3, 2013. Israel, Bulgaria and the hosts of Slovenia all claimed their respective opening match as a qualifying tournament for the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls got started on Thursday in Nova Gorica.
Israel surprisingly edged Croatia in the first match of the day (10-25, 27-25, 25-23, and 25-20); actually Croatia caught an excellent start dominating the scene in the opening set after setting the pace with a margin of 12 points by the second technical time-out. However, the second set turned into a real fight where Israel eventually had the upper hand after a very close final rush (27-25). Set three followed a similar plot, with Israel wrapping it up at 25-23 and the girls mentored by head coach Sagi Baram eventually brought it home in set 4 after compensating for a catastrophic start (25-20).      

The match with Romania did not start that well for the home heroines of Slovenia (pictured) who were trailing by four points at the first technical time-out of the first set. However, after scoring six points in a row, Slovenia flipped the charts around and eventually seized that section with the score of 25-21. With Maja Mihelj standing behind the serving line for 11 consecutive rallies, Slovenia broke away after the first mandatory stop and pocketed set 2 with the massive score of 25-9. Things did not change much also in the third set even though Romania attempted what would have been a late comeback. Slovenia eventually sealed the final 3:0 (25-21) thereby showing its intention to finish atop of the charts in the group to qualify for the final round of the Championship that will be co-hosted by Serbia and Montenegro in March.    

To round out the program of the first day in Nova Gorica, Bulgaria cruised to a 3:0 win (25-20, 25-18, and 25-11) over Slovakia to confirm its credentials as one of the pre-favorites for the top positions in this Pool.  

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