Bar, Montenegro, April 3, 2013. Poland escaped a tough challenge by the Czech Republic in four sets to secure the pole position for the second semifinal spot from Pool I at the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls here in Bar, Montenegro. Greece overpowered Slovenia 3:2, while Italy continued their winning streak with a relaxed straight-set win versus host Montenegro.
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Greece vs. Slovenia 3:2 (20-25, 14-25, 25-15, 25-18, 15-10)
Greece sailed to their second win at 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Girls by coming from behind to beat Slovenia 3:2 on Wednesday afternoon. Slovenia drop to a 1-3 win-loss record. Both teams experienced substantial difficulties in service reception.
Anthi Vasilantonaki contributed 18 spikes, 3 aces and one block for Greece to lead her team with 22 points, while captain Olga Strantzali added another 22, including four aces and two blocks. Slovenia committed 24 errors in reception.
The two teams both started strongly in the opening set, where Slovenia maintained a four-point advantage to 16-12. Greece’s blockers were dominant at the net, while Slovenia’s young talents controlled serves and spikes. After the game resumed, Greece committed two unforced errors to let Slovenia rally to 25-20 with impressive determination.
Slovenia kept momentum in the second set and jumped to an early 8-2 lead, while Greece still struggled with service reception. In addition to that, Slovenia found weak side on Greece’s court and reinforced the attacks on that area, finishing the set by the score of 25-14.
Going down by two sets, Dimitrios Floros’ squad fought bravely to step back. They displayed better serves now, giving Slovenia’s passers a hard time. The excellent serving and two block kills by Ioanna Gkountimenko helped Greece overcome their adversaries and leveled one set back at 25-15.
Slovenia’s reception errors were massive blows to their morale allowing the Greeks to take full control of the match in the fourth set. As in their match with Italy on Monday, Slovenian libero Maja Pahor was the main target of the opponent’s servers.
Greece made excellent defensive stops and served flawlessly against the Slovenians in the fifth set. Anthi Vasilantonaki closed the match in favor of the young Greeks with a blistering winner down the line to make it 15-10.
Greece head coach Dimitrios Floros: “In today’s match we had something we haven’t had during the previous matches: the passion to win. With today’s win we are still in the game for the first eight places.”
Greece captain Olga Strantzali: “I’m very happy after this match as we managed to come back strongly. I hope that tomorrow we will play like we played in today’s last three sets to beat Poland.
Slovenia head coach Joze Casar: “The first two sets we played very well. We showed no fear; our reception and attacks were excellent. Unfortunately we couldn’t pull through. Tomorrow we need to win the match against Montenegro in order to be among the eight best teams.”
Slovenia captain Eva Mori: “I am really disappointed. I can’t explain why the game changed in the middle of the match. I am so sad that I do not know what else to say.”
Poland vs. the Czech Republic 3:1 (23-25, 25-13, 25-18, 27-25)
Poland captain Paulina Baldyga: “Today’s match was very difficult for us, but at the same time very important. We were full of enthusiasm and will try to keep the same atmosphere to win our last Pool match versus Greece.”
Poland escaped a tough challenge by the Czechs in four sets to almost secure their semifinal spot at the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls.
Malwina Smarzek and Magdalena Damaske combined for 40 points to lead Poland to their third victory in Pool I in Bar, Montenegro. Poland booked 17 block winners.
The Czech Republic got off to a good start with a 16-13 lead in the opening set as their servers complicated Poland’s offensive game. Michaela Mlejnkova and Katerina Slamova were, as usual, lethal in attack for the Czech Republic. Poland saved five set balls but couldn’t prevent Slamova hammering the Mikasa down on the Czech Republic’s sixth occasion.
In the second set, Poland’s Smarzek helped improve her team’s serving powers as she ran a series of nine consecutive missiles to outscore the helpless Czech side early on. Poland built a commanding lead thanks to impressive offensive combinations and four winning blocks. Smarzek added more uncontrollable hammers from the service line and got help from her teammates at the net as they drew even at 1-1.
The third set was much closer as both refused to let the other get the better of them, with long rallies. The Czech Republic kept Poland at bay but the young Polish talents managed to get the better of the plays and increased their lead towards the end of the set. Middle-blocker Malgorzata Smieszek finally put an end to the Czech challenge with a service winner on Slamova.
Poland looked determined to finish off the match with a 3-0 run in the middle of the fourth set. The Czech Republic, however, made some virtuous runs to stay in the game with a series of six consecutive points from 15-18 to 21-18 but Poland followed their game plan to regain momentum at 23-23 and take the win 27-25.
Poland head coach Grzegorz Kosatka: “This was a very significant match for us. Our game was not perfect, but we won.”
The Czech Republic head coach Leos Chalupa: “We couldn’t find our habitual team spirit today. Now we’ll need a good result versus Italy to keep our chances alive for a top eight spot.”
The Czech Republic captain Pavlina Simanova: “Unfortunately, we couldn’t stabilize our reception. Poland served very strongly though.”
Italy vs. Montenegro 3:0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-9)
Montenegro head coach Marko Radusinovic: “We tried to play point for point but against a team like Italy it’s hard to keep a winning spirit. Let’s try to beat Slovenia tomorrow with solid serves.”
Italy looked very relaxed in their win against host Montenegro in Pool I play of the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls on Wednesday night.
Alice Degradi and Elisa Zanette joined for a total of 16 points, almost outscoring the whole Montenegrin team who produced a scoring output of 20 points.
The Italians took an early advantage as Montenegro was missing a real power hitter to bother the solid Italian defense. Italy took good care of Montenegro’s attackers, as their production was limited to just five points in the first set. “The squadra azzurra” easily finished the set without major challenge from the hosts at 25-10.
Italy varied their attacks from drop shots to strong kills that made it difficult for Montenegro to decipher. Montenegro struggled to execute a solid offensive game due to their poor reception. Six block kills helped Italy to cruise to an easy 2:0 set lead at 25-15.
At that moment of the match, Italy’s head coach Luca Pieragnoli had already substituted the major part of his squad to offer the reserve players some playtime. They quickly honored his trust with some inspiring combinations at the net. Italy never looked back, cruising to a fast 3:0 win.
Italy head coach Luca Pieragnoli: “We were much focused tonight and kept a high pace. I’m very happy to count on a team with twelve strong players.”
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 are available live and for free at www.laola1.tv.
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