Belgium completes clean sweep with third consecutive victory
2013 CEV Volleyball European League - Men
Vienna, Austria, June 15, 2013. Belgium completed a clean sweep by scoring a third consecutive win in the first round of play for Pool A of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European League – Men by edging Slovakia in straight sets (21-12, 21-12, and 22-20) on Saturday night at Budocenter. With this result the Belgians keep an immaculate record of three wins in as many matches and top the provisional standing of the group.
Slovakia could not find a way through Belgium’s blocks, a real wall that pushed the Slovaks to despair. Only in the third set Slovakia did show some resistance but Belgium finished it off after 61 minutes of play cashing their seventh match ball with – quite evidently – a block kill. Slovakia ends the tournament with one win and two defeats, the same feat achieved by Austria and Denmark. Bram Van den Dries paced Belgium with 13 points while Matthijs Verhanneman and Sam Deroo added 10 and 7 to the count of the winning side. Peter Michalovic was Slovakia’s most prolific scorer with 6.
“Of course three wins bring good feelings and we have no reasons at all to be unhappy at the end of this weekend” says Belgian mentor Dominique Baeyens. “We scored some 15 blocks today and we played tactically very well. We pressured our opponents with our serves. I have been coaching for a long time but I think that our performance in the first set was truly exceptional”.
“Nothing worked today for us as we did not score at all with our side-out” Slovak head coach Stefan Chrtiansky points out. “I do not know if yesterday’s game with Austria was still on my players’ heads. I thought we had reset our minds but probably this was not the case. We go home with three points from this tournament while we had foreseen to take six. We have to get back on track in the next tournament if we want to qualify for the final four”.
After Friday’s spectacular victory over Slovakia, the home heroes of Austria suffered on Saturday their second defeat in the prelims of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European League – Men losing to Denmark in three straight sets (16-21, 17-21, and 30-32). Denmark had it very easy in the first couple of sets needing only 19 and 20 minutes respectively to bring it home. The third set was much more contested and Austria defended seven set balls for their opponents but missed out on four opportunities to stretch the game to a fourth set. After 72 minutes of play the hosts of this year’s European Championship could celebrate their first win in the competition by cashing their eighth match ball. Thomas Zass was once again Austria’s most prolific scorer with 18 points while three Danish players finished in double digits, namely Mads Ditlevsen (12), Kristian Knudsen and Aske Morkeberg Sorensen (10 apiece).
“We had two or three opportunities in the early phases of the game that we could not exploit and there you could see that today we were mentally not there” says Austrian head coach Michael Warm. “However, we have to accept this and be happy with what we achieved in the past days. At this level every small detail can bring to big mistakes”.
“It was a hard game especially in the third set. We improved since Thursday and we fought for every single point” stresses Danish mentor Fred Sturm. “This steady progress is the positive we can take from this tournament. We wanted to show that we practice and improve every day and my players did achieve this goal here in Vienna”.
Click here for more info including detailed stats of the matches