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08/05/2013 21:40
Bulgaria opens strong in Sofia with straight win over Israel
2013 FIVB Volleyball Men's U21 World Championship - European Qualification

Sofia, Bulgaria, May 8, 2013. The home heroes of Bulgaria started out their quest for a ticket to the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship by routing Israel in straight sets (25-21, 25-17, and 25-15) on Wednesday at “Hristo Botev” sports hall in Sofia. The winner of this tournament will join the hosts of Turkey and the 2012 European champions of Italy – as well as the first-ranked sides from the three remaining qualifiers – to compose Europe’s contingent for the Championship scheduled for late August in Ankara and Izmir. In the other match of the day, Estonia dissipated a 2:0 lead but eventually got past Romania at the tie-break (25-21, 25-19, 22-25, 22-25, and 15-10).  

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Estonia claimed a very tough but well-deserved victory in the first game of tournament hosted in Bulgaria’s capital city. Estonia started the game very strong, leading 6:1 before calling for the first technical time-out at 8:3. However, Romania fought their way back to level the score at 9 all and that trend continue for a little while as the teams were evenly matched up to 12:12. After that the guys from Estonia scored five consecutive points and Romania was no more able to compensate for this break, with Estonia bringing it home at 25-21. Estonia dictated the pace of the game by 3 points at the first technical time-out of the second set and mainly via their blocks the guys from Tallinn could steadily widen their lead eventually bringing it home at 25-19 for the provisional 2:0 in sets. Estonia got off to a flying start in the third set (5:0) and was still up also by the second mandatory stop (16:13). However, things changed suddenly with Romania scoring 4 in a row and finding the right pace to shape up a 25-22 that called for a fourth set. Somehow shocked by this sudden turnaround, Estonia was no longer able to find their pace in set 4 which was dominated by Romania for another 25-22. Both teams started the tie-break showing great determination and they played point for point; Romania was up 8:7 as teams changed sides of the court but Estonia fought back with strong attacks and a solid defense to claim their first win of the tournament (15-10).  

The home heroes of Bulgaria did not find it too difficult to edge Israel in straight sets. Actually the guests started out pretty strong going up 8:6 in the first set but Bulgaria changed its pace after the second technical time-out showing great combinations and a very solid defense. Israel gradually lost their lead and the score was evened at 17 all before the hosts scored four in a row to pave the way for the final 25-21. Bulgaria did not waste too much time to impose its supremacy in set 2 (6:2) and by displaying spectacular actions in defense, the home side confidently cruised to the 25-17 that shaped up a 2:0 lead in sets. After a close start (3:3), Bulgaria seemed to lose focus in set 3 conceding three consecutive points but responded well to a time-out asked by their head coach Dragan Nesic claiming the next four rallies and getting back on track. Bulgaria was up 16:11 at the second technical time-out and though Israel fought bravely, the hosts could finish it off in straight sets (25-15) and in great fashion.      

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