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10/05/2013 22:26
Croatia and Germany stay in contention for ticket to World Champs
2013 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship - European Qualification

Samokov, Bulgaria, May 10, 2013. Germany and Croatia claimed on Friday their second win in the tournament taking place at Arena Samokov where a ticket to the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship is at stake. Croatia opened the program by downing Latvia in three straight sets (25-11, 25-18, and 25-12) while Germany had to fight a little more before cruising past Greece with the score of 3:1 (22-25, 25-9, 25-16, and 25-19). The hosts of Bulgaria enjoyed on Friday a rest day and will resume their campaign on Saturday.    

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Croatia – as expected – started out very strong in their clash with Latvia claiming immediately a good margin – 5 points – and keeping it straight to the second technical time-out. Croatia could even accelerate their pace and finished it off with a massive 25-11. Latvia responded well setting the pace of the game up to the first mandatory break of the second set before Croatia fought back and moved to the front (16:11). As they played with good consistency, the young girls from Croatia could bring it home at 25-18 for the provisional 2:0 in sets. Although Latvia fought bravely and showed good skills in attack, Croatia looked very motivated and determined and could cash their second win of the tournament doing so in straight sets (25-12).    

The second match of the day provided the audience in Samokov with elite Volleyball and Greece eventually had to surrender to Germany at the end of four hard-fought sets. Germany caught the best start (8:7) but after that break Greece got full control of the game so that their opponents did not score any point up to the second technical time-out. Germany did not lose composure and was able to fight their way back displaying a perfect block and good actions in offense. As both teams were showcasing great defense the rallies were very long and Greece eventually had the upper hand at 25-22 via a series of attacks killed by their middle blockers.
Things changed quite dramatically in the second set where Germany broke away in the score (8:2) and Greece could no longer compensate for such disastrous start, with the set ending in a terrific 25-9 for the side mentored by head coach Han Abbing. Germany imposed their tempo also in set 3 (8:2) and playing with real confidence could comfortably claim a 2:1 lead (25-16) in the match.   
The quality of the game dropped down in the fourth set where both teams made many errors from the serving line but Greece was the first able to find back some more consistency thereby moving up 16:12 by the second mandatory stop. However, Germany did not let it go and with another rush down the final stretch could finish it off at 25-19 for a well-deserved 3:1 win.

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