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29/03/2013 22:30
Host Serbia and title holder Turkey win opening matches, Germany surprise Russia
2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Girls

Kladovo, Serbia, March 29, 2013. Host Serbia (3:1 win over the Netherlands) and title holder Turkey (3:1 victory versus France) came up to expectations on day one of Pool I play at 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls. Earlier today, Germany surprised powerhouse Russia with a hard-fought 3:2 win.

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Serbia vs the Netherlands 3:1
In their opening match of the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls, host Serbia struggled against the Netherlands but eventually won 3:1 (18-25, 25-12, 25-22, 25-11). Serbia`s Jelena Novakovic and Bojana Milenkovic topped the scorers chart with 16 points. Maja Aleksic helped her side with 13, including 5 blocks.
The young Serbian ladies started the match anxiously, but trying their best to delight the home fans in Kladovo. Neither of the teams managed to create a major gap in the first part of the set. Even though Serbia led 16-14 at the second technical time-out, the home side was struggling with the pressure, and the Dutch girls knew how to make the most of it. After the break, the Oranjes swiftly took over and finished with ease at 25-18.
However, except from some parts in the third set, the favorites from Serbia regained momentum and never looked back. 

Marijana Boricic, Serbia Head Coach: “We were hoping to win this opening match. It was important for our girls, because they were very nervous in the beginning and they needed to relax. We struggled with passing in the first set, but when we improved in this segment of the game, it became much easier”.
Jelena Vignjevic, Serbia: “It was obvious that we were very tight at the beginning, and it is normal because we are young and we have to get some experience. Luckily for us, we managed to overcome the pressure soon and everything went well from that point onward. Tomorrow is a new challenge for us, and we’ll be prepared.”
Saskia van Hintum, Dutch Head Coach: “The girls lost a little bit of confidence after the second set and they couldn’t manage the pressure. We are young and that’s the way it goes. My team has to learn to compete on the big scene. Tomorrow it will be better, I am sure”.
Brit Bongaerts, the Netherlands: “We started very well, but as Serbia improved their serve and communication on the court, we couldn`t respond.”

Turkey vs France 3:1
Today’s second Pool II match featured the reigning European champions Turkey facing France. It was not an easy challenge for the title holders, but the Turkish ladies eventually overpowered the resilient French girls 3:1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-21, 25-22), thus booking their first victory at 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls. Turkish Pelin Aroguz was the best scorer of her team with 14 points, but French talent Helena Cazaute topped the scorers with 20 successful kills. One of the main reasons for the French defeat were probably their 17 service errors (compared to nine aces).
France made a solid start into the first period (8-5). However, the Turkish girls managed to wake up on time and get into the match shortening the distance and catching their rivals at 13-13. After that, it was all about Turkey who concluded the first period 25-22.
In the second set, France came up strongly in the beginning, but it was the Turkish squad who went into the first technical time-out with a two-point lead. There was nothing to separate the two teams at that moment of the game before France finally found a way to turn the tables (16-14). It was already too late for Turkey to fight back, and France never looked back until 25-18. 
However, the title holders showed a great reaction. In the third and fourth set, Turkey set the pace with a powerful offensive game and some brilliant defense actions. Even though France tried their best, especially in the beginning of the fourth set, it was not good enough to outfox the reigning champions.

Arelya Karasoy, Turkey: “We are looking up to the generation that won the European title. I think we played well, but we are very ambitions, and we want more. In our next match we are playing with Russia and we were thinking about that game already today”.
Catma Sahin, Turkey Head Coach: “We played against France in a friendly match and won 3:0. But in the competition it is different. I am satisfied with the victory, but not that much with our game. We can do a lot better”.
Nina Stojiljkovic, France: “We knew that Turkey were an aggressive team, but I think we entered the match in a good rhythm and managed to control them. Our problem is to maintain the high level of play over a long period of time. That is something we must work on”.
Serge Marouteau, France Head Coach: “We are having problems in defense and in ball control. Unfortunately, we gave Turkey some crucial points and that were the key moments in today’s match”.

Germany vs Russia 3:2
In the eagerly-awaited opening duel in Pool II, both teams proved to be up to the challenge as Germany edged Russia in a thrilling match 3:2 (25-23, 25-23, 26-28, 20-25, 15-10). German Julia Schäfer topped the scorers with 23 points, including two aces. Team Captain Steffi-Martha Kuhn helped the winners with 17 points. On the other side, the most efficient Russians were Taisia Konovalova and Angelina Sperskayte with 14 kills.
Both teams started the match cautiously, but after a first tie at 5-5 Germany went ahead by three points and reached the first technical timeout with an 8-5 lead. The young Russian talents slowly but surely started to narrow the gap after the break, and they reached a first tie at 20-20. However, Germany managed to hold off the Russian girls and concluded the first set in their favor 25-23.
The teams struggled a lot in the second set, and the young Germans tried to find a way around the solid Russian block. Germany successfully kept up with their rivals for the most part of the set as they managed to turn the score around in their favor at 19-18. Like in the previous set, Jens Tietböhl’s squad was more focused in the finish and, surprisingly, booked a comfortable 2:0 set lead.
Nevertheless, the young Russian talents never gave up. Even as Annegret Hölzig, with a great serve, brought up match point for Germany at 24-23 in the third set, the Russians kept calm and fought back bravely. As a consequence, Russia kept the upper hand at the end of the set by overpowering their rivals 28-26.
The momentum stayed on the Russian side in set No. 4 as the Russian powerhouse turned the tables in the middle of the set. Taisia Konovalova put a lot of pressure on the German passers to make it 16-15 at the second technical timeout. It was the turning point of the fourth period with Russia never looking back (25-20).
However, it was not good enough. Germany bounced back in the fifth and deciding set. At 8-11, Russian head coach Yury Shchuplov called his ladies off court for a serious chat. But it was already too late as the young Germans sailed to hard-earned, but well-deserved 3:2 victory.

Steffi-Martha Kuhn, team captain Germany: “It was a very emotional match. We were good in block, and our service game worked fine. That was our main advantage today. This is an excellent start for us, and we are looking forward to playing even better in the following days”.
Anastasia Cheremisina, team captain Russia: “We were nervous today. That’s all I can say. I hope that we’ll do better in the future”.

The Preliminary Phase of the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls is split into two pools of six teams with the top two from each pool advancing to the semifinals. Pool I comprises host Montenegro, Italy, Slovenia, Greece, the Czech Republic as well as Poland. Pool II sees the local heroines from Serbia defending their reputations versus Russia, Germany, France, Turkey and the Netherlands.

The final ranking of the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls will determine the six teams representing Europe at this year’s FIVB Girls' Youth World Championship coming up later this summer in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, as well as the eight nations taking part at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht (NED).

The matches of preliminary Pool I as well as all semi-final and final matches will be available live and for free at www.laola1.tv. On the other hand, all matches of Pool II will be streamed on the official website of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia and namely under the following URL: http://eng.ossrb.org.

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