Belgian ladies makes it three in a row
2013 CEV Volleyball European League - Women
Leuven, Belgium, June 16, 2013. The Belgian ladies emulated their compatriots of the men’s national team completing a clean sweep of their first-round matches in the prelims of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European League to firmly sit atop of the charts in Pool B. On Sunday the players around head coach Gert Vande Broek downed Israel in straight sets (21-6, 21-12, and 22-20) to delight their home fans at Sport Oase in Leuven. Belgium claimed set 1 and 2 very easy and then lost focus and composure in the third, but still this was not enough for Israel to prolong the game to a fourth set.
Though they were missing their outstanding setter Frauke Dirickx – who had left the group on Sunday on a honeymoon trip – the home side did show great quality in reception right from the start to ease up the work of young setter Ilka Van de Vyver who could power up Lore Gillis and Hélène Rousseaux (pictured) in offense. Angie Bland also followed up on the good performances delivered against Serbia and Germany to help her side go for a well-deserved 3:0 win. “We did lose focus in the third set and our quality dropped down in serve and reception. However, as we trailed 17:19, we regrouped and decided not to lose that set to finish the weekend on a high note” says Freya Aelbrecht. “Before the start of this leg I bet none could believe we would be the leaders of the Pool after the first round. However, we still have a lot to learn”. “Belgium is simply too strong for us at this stage but this is the third consecutive game where we missed out on the opportunity to win at least one set” was the short comment given by Israel’s head coach Arie Selinger.
After they had both lost to the home heroines of Belgium in the past days, Serbia and Germany played a remake of the 2011 European Championship final match with Serbia eventually having the upper hand after dissipating a 2:0 lead (21-19, 21-16, 12-21, 15-21, and 15-12). Though both teams made a lot of mistakes and it was clear they are still at the very beginning of their work for a busy international season culminating in the European Championship, the game was exciting and provided the audience in Leuven with a good Volleyball show.
Serbia showed great blocks in the first set with Sanja Bursac, Adela Helic and Jovana Stevanovic pacing their side; though Germany closed the gap to two points (17:15) with Margareta Kozuch and Jennifer Geerties on fire, still Serbia claimed the first set 21-19. Germany made a way too many mistakes in the second set while Serbia’s block continued to work perfectly; Stevanovic scored quite many points and helped the 2011 European champions move up 2:0 in sets. However, Germany fought their way back with Kozuch and middle-blocker Christiane Fürst and that trend continued also in the fourth set where Maren Brinker joined forces with her captain to call for the tie-break. This was a real thriller with the score close up to 12 all before the blocks killed by Stevanovic and good serving by Helic paved the way for Serbia with Jelena Blagojevic scoring the final point. “Next week we’ll play our home round and we will try to improve on what we have done here” Blagojevic said. “I am happy with the quality that this young group has displayed. Together with Olga Raonic I am here to help the young players with our experience and this victory against Germany makes me very happy” adds the wing-spiker who plays in Italy for Volley BERGAMO.
“Congratulations to Serbia. They had more power than us in attack. This is one of the points we have to work on” stressed Germany’s head coach Giovanni Guidetti.
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