Serbian girls complete successful home campaign with straight win
2013 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship - European Qualification
Subotica, Serbia, May 12, 2013. After claiming already on Saturday their ticket to the Czech Republic – the country that will host in late June the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship – the home heroines of Serbia finished their campaign at “Dudova Suma” sports hall on a high note as they edged Denmark in three straight sets (25-15, 25-13, and 25-14). With this result Serbia completed their home run with four wins in as many matches to successfully follow up on the silver medal the group had claimed last year at the European Championship.
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Though they played with an unusual starting six – mixing up starting players with some of their second lines – the local favorites of Serbia did not have any major problem to rout Denmark in three sets. The trio composed of Katarina Canak, Natasa Cikiriz and Milica Kubura top scored in the end with 9 points apiece. However, the start of the game was a little difficult for the home side as the Serbian girls struggled to find the right motivation and the score was kept close by their opponents up to 7 all. However, Serbia changed gear after the first mandatory stop and quickly pocketed the opening set at 25-15. Denmark could keep the pace set by the home side only in the early stages of the second set and Serbia finished it off very quickly at 25-13. Things did not change also in set 3 where Serbia played for the audience and Denmark did not show the power and energy necessary to attempt a comeback (25-14).
Though the result of the game was not going to impact on the final standings of the tournament, Belgium displayed a very good performance to down Portugal in three straight sets (25-8, 25-14, and 25-12) to complete their schedule at “Dudova Suma” sports hall in Subotica. Belgium’s outside hitter Celine Van Gestel top scored in the match with 17 points as the girls mentored by head coach Julien Van de Vyver outclassed their opponents in every single fundamental (9 block kills vs. 3, 12 aces vs. only three for Portugal). Belgium started out with a very good pace dominating the scene in the first set for a terrific and speedy 25-8. The score was kept tight in the second set up to 10:9 for Belgium but after that the eventual winners accelerated their pace (16:10) and could seal the deal at 25-14. In set 3 Portugal lacked focus and determination, so Belgium rapidly broke away in the score (18:7) and could pocket their third win in the tournament (25-12) to finish third in the standings.
“The team spent only 10 days together before this tournament because many girls were busy with the Playoffs of the national league. As we have been working together for such a short period of time and we had to adjust many things, I am still proud with what we did here in Subotica. I have seen that even the youngest members of the group can play as good as those that have got more experience on the international stage and this is very good. I am satisfied because we have done a good job here” Belgium’s head coach Julien Van de Vyver said.
“We played a good match and I am happy with the way we have ended this tournament, with a win in straight sets” team captain Sarah Coppens added. “The opponent wasn’t that strong but it is a good feeling to finish the tournament this way”.
“This tournament was a great experience and I am proud to be the captain of such a young group” Portugal’s team leader Ana Martins commented. “Most of the girls are eligible to play in the junior division also next year and I hope we’ll be playing better by then because we have taken our good lessons from this competition”.