Greece and Slovenia claim ticket for FIVB Girls' Youth World Championship in Thailand
2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Girls
Bar, Montenegro, April 6, 2013. Greece and Slovenia kept the upper hand in today’s 5-8 semifinal duels for the highly coveted FIVB Girls' Youth World Championship spots. Greece routed powerhouse Russia in straight sets while Slovenia overcame Germany 3:1 at the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls in Bar, Montenegro.
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Greece vs. Russia 3:0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-21)
Greece fended off a forceful challenge from Russia in Saturday morning’s 5-8 semifinals at the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls. With a 25-21, 25-21, 25-21 victory, the Greeks secured their ticket for the FIVB Girls' Youth World Championship coming up later this summer in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. Russia is out of contention for the highly coveted World Champs spots.
Best scorer of today’s first duel in Bar was Greece’s captain Olga Strantzali with 18 points. Anthi Vasilantonaki added 15 kills for her side. Russia’s best spiker was Angelina Sperskayte with 10 points.
Greece took no notice of the tall Russian blockers as they matched the strength that Russia had shown early in the first set. After Greece went 16-14 ahead, Russia tried hard to come back but the upcoming Greeks stars kept momentum and when they were 23-21 up, Olga Strantzali, who had been impressive in the Greek offence, smashed a heavy spike on the right sideline before she added an impressive service winner to claim the first set.
Russia's lack of offensive power, combined with brilliant attacks by Anthi Vasilantonaki and Alexandra Psoma, allowed the Greeks to keep a small advantage until 16-15 in the second set. Then the scores were tied a number of times as the battle heated up before Greece displayed an outstanding 6-0 run from 19-19 to 25-19 to take a well-deserved 2:0 set lead. Despite an early 0-6 and 7-15 deficit in the beginning of the third set the Russian team refused to give up a priori, relying on Daria Kokoreva’s powerful spikes to spark a comeback halfway. But with Strantzali and Vasilantonaki unstoppable in attacking, Greece kept control towards the end and clinched victory on a Vasilantonaki block.
Greece head coach Dimitrios Floros: “We are very happy for winning this match. Even though we did not succeed to finish among the four best teams of the tournament, this win means a lot for us.”
Slovenia vs. Germany 3:1 (25-19, 16-25, 25-18, 25-15)
Greece captain Olga Strantzali: “The Russians are a strong team and we were a little bit afraid of playing with them as they display excellent physical predispositions. However, we were mentally stronger and much more persistent today.”
Russia head coach Yury Shchuplov: “The Greek team played very well and they deserved the win. They looked stronger and well prepared for this match.”
Russia captain Svetlana Serbina: “I am not satisfied how we played. Even though the team of Greece is very strong we did not show our best and therefore we are very sad.”
Slovenia was victorious over stunned Germany in four sets 25-19, 16-25, 25-18, 25-15 in today’s second 5-8 semifinal duel at the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls on Saturday, unleashing Lana Scuka’s attacking power to clinch an 3:1 victory and secure their ticket for the 2013 FIVB Girls' Youth World Championship in Thailand.
Scuka scored a total of 23 points for her side while Germany’s Julia Schäfer’s output sealed 21 kills for the world No.11.
Teams Slovenia and Germany were evenly matched in terms of its scoring dynamism and the first set duel was an exchange of strong attacks exchanged between powerhouse spikers Scuka and Schäfer. It was only late in the set when Slovenia reached top gear to engine to finally pull away from their West European rivals. Germany’s consecutive errors on attack and service handed the set to captain Eva Mori’s team.
In the second set, Germany’s Schäfer and Steffi-Martha Kuhn helped improve her team’s attacking powers as they began to spike with better efficiency and outscore the helpless Slovenian side early on. Germany built a commanding lead thanks to an assault on the Slovenian receivers – a problem which remained unresolved by the Slovenians. Schäfer poured in more unstoppable serves and got help from her teammates in defence as they drew even at 1-1.
Slovenia came out determined in the second set and took a 14-10 advantage before Annegret Hölzig and Schäfer dragged her side back into the game, turning the frame on its head at 15-15. But despite the best efforts of the young German talents, the black-and-whites could not stop the Slovenians from pulling through as they watched them take a well-deserved 2:0 lead at 25-18.
Slovenia continued with good attack to illustrate their strength in both attack and serve that can be attributed to their control of the fourth set. Germany made some last minute runs but it was not enough to spark a turnaround and a win of the set. Finally, Nika Markovic ended the set and match with a block on the right flank as her side claimed the hard-earned ticket for the 2013 FIVB Girls' Youth World Championship in Thailand.
Slovenia head coach Joze Casar: “I told you at the technical meeting: Thailand is in our dreams! It’s the first time in Slovenia’s history that a team makes it to the World Champs. I still can’t believe it.”
The final ranking of the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls 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 seven nations taking part at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht (NED).
Slovenia captain Eva Mori: “We put a lot of pressure on the German receivers. On the other hand, we controlled our game in almost all aspects. I can’t explain how happy we are.”
Germany head coach Jens Tietböhl: “Slovenia deserved the victory, they played much better. We experienced huge problems in service reception. I’m disappointed as my team was not ready for today’s duel.”
Germany captain Steffi-Martha Kuhn: “We came back strongly in the second set, but couldn’t maintain the same rhythm throughout the whole match. Too bad!”
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