Belgian ladies continue to shine as they stun European vice-champions
2013 CEV Volleyball European League - Women
Leuven, Belgium, June 15, 2013. Another chapter was added on Saturday night to Belgium’s fairy tale in the prelims of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European League – Women as the home heroines followed up on their win over Serbia from Friday to edge the 2011 European silver medalists of Germany at the end of a dramatic five-setter (15-21, 21-17, 21-19, 16-21, and 15-9).
The score remained very close in the early phases of the first set with Belgium paced by the blocks killed by Angie Bland and the attacks by Freya Aelbrecht and Hélène Rousseaux. However, their opponents responded well breaking away after the score was evened at 12 with Margareta Anna Kozuch, Denise Hanke and Christiane Fürst pocketing the provisional 0:1. Belgium stepped up in the second set with a terrific performance by Els Vandesteene well supported by Bland and Aelbrecht for the provisional 8:5. Germany made quite many mistakes in this section of the game and this helped the home side go for the 1:1 in sets. Rousseaux and Vandesteene made once more the difference for Belgium in set 3 helping break away in the score (16:13) and by the time Saskia Hippe tried to level the count, Bland was there to block to make it 2:1 for the home girls.
Belgium suffered a drop of concentration in the beginning of the fourth set with Germany going up 10:3; still Belgium could fight their way back with the serves by Frauke Dirickx, and the contribution by Charlotte Leys. From 8:13 down Belgium leveled at 14 all but the experience of Kozuch, Hanke and Fürst helped Germany call for the tie-break. This was a close fight up to 9 all before Germany made some silly mistakes; Bland and Rousseaux did not waste this opportunity and for the joy of the home audience they finished it off at 15-9 for a second memorable win against one of the top teams in Europe. “Germany was much stronger than Serbia we played yesterday but we kept on fighting and we won. Our tigers are here” said Belgian mentor Gert Vande Broek.
“We made too many mistakes in the deciding moments but in general also throughout the game. We played better than we had done yesterday with Israel but the Belgian team was well prepared and organized. Moreover, they are ready to play that kind of games for they have been together for a longer time. On the other hand, we are still fine tuning our preparations for a busy season” stresses Germany head coach Giovanni Guidetti.
In the other match of the day the three-time winners of the European League from Serbia edged Israel in three straight sets (21-15, 21-18, and 21-19) to get back on track after Friday’s defeat to the home heroines of Belgium. Though they lost in three sets, the players mentored by Arie Selinger did deliver a fairly good performance with Anna Velikiy top scoring in the end with 17 points. Israel did even resist to a couple of match balls before Jelena Blagojevic used her experience to finish it off for Serbia. “We played better than we had done in our first game with Germany” Selinger says. His side went up 10:6 in the second set and after Velikiy had found a way through the Serbian block did set the pace of the game at 17:16 but the final rush was fully under control of the 2011 European champions. Israel caught a good start also in set 3 (7:4) “but the Serbian players had a very good plan for the deciding moments of the game” Selinger stresses. Jovana Stevanovic was the one who contributed the last points in the first set while Blagojevic did so in set 2 and 3. “This is a very important victory. We did not play as good as we wanted but this victory is important for the confidence of the team. We hope to improve game after game” Serbia’s head coach Aleksandar Vladisavljev said.
Click here for more info including detailed stats of the matches