Young Israelis end Croatia's winning streak
2013 CEV Volleyball European League - Men
Ra’anana, Israel, June 21, 2013. The home heroes of Israel caused the real sensation of the day in Ra’anana as they edged Pool C leaders Croatia 3:2 after coming back from two sets down (18-21, 15-21, 21-15, 24-22, and 15-10) to claim their first victory in this year’s CEV Volleyball European League. In spite of this defeat Croatia keeps the leadership in the Pool with 10 points, while Turkey – after losing today in five sets to Belarus – is ranked second with seven.
After losing to Croatia in straight sets this past week in Rovinj, the expectations around the team coached by Zohar Bar Netzer were high in Ra’anana. Croatia – that was cheered from the stands by their Consul to Israel, Tiha Krce – started out very motivated but the score remained very close in the early phases of the first set. Israel got to the front (14:12, 16:14) after the technical time-out but Croatia could draw level at 18 before taking over control of the operations in the final rush (18-21). The guests did show good momentum also in set 2 going up 6:4 and 14:12, before speeding up the operations for the provisional 0:2 (15-21). Still Israel did show great determination in the third set storming out to an 8:2 lead there, keeping control of the operations at the technical time-out (12:6) and moving up 19:12 before finishing it off at 21-15. The hosts did stretch that positive trend also to the early phases of the fourth set (7:5), playing with good quality and focus before Croatia came back right in the end with the score evened at 21 and 22. However, the Israelis did show great energy to score the next couple of points and call for the tie-break. There they started out strong leading the way 8:3 as teams changed sides of the court and finishing it at 15-10 for a well-deserved home victory.
“We are more than happy with this win especially because we have a young team and this represents a great boost of confidence for the future” Israel’s head coach Bar Netzer said. “We played very bad today and gave a chance to our opponents who knew how to exploit it” commented Croatia’s mentor Igor Simuncic. Ivan Raic top scored in the game with 22 points while Tamir Hershko paced the home side with 14.
In the other match of the day Belarus got their revenge for last week’s defeat to Turkey as they powered past their opponents with the score of 3:2 (21-11, 13-21, 21-14, 17-21, and 15-11). Belarus caught a good start in the opening set and did quickly bring it home with the massive score of 21-11. Turkey found their way into the game in the second set going up 8:5 showing excellent defense and great spikes (10:7, 14:8); Turkey did control the operations up to the end and could go for the provisional 1:1. Belarus returned to dominate the game in the third set and could cruise to a speedy 21-14 to make it 2:1 in sets. However, Turkey was not ready to surrender and did call for the tie-break. There Belarus caught the better start (3:0) and did not relinquish the lead up to the end of the game (15-11) for their second victory in the competition after last week’s win over Israel.
Turkey’s Kemal Kivanc Elgaz top scored in the game with 24 points while Siarhei Antanovich did register 20 for Belarus in their winning effort.
Click here for more info including detailed stats of the matches