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09/05/2014 18:00
Norway and Hungary off to excellent start at European qualifier in Kecskemét
2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men

Kecskemét, Hungary, May 9, 2014. Norway was off to a flying start at the first round qualifier for the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Men that went underway on Friday afternoon at Messzi Istvan sports hall in Kecskemét. The players around head coach Scott Olsen beat Bosnia and Herzegovina by 3:1 (25-19, 18-25, 25-15, 25-18) to start in the right way their quest for making the second round of qualifications coming up later this month. The home heroes then delighted 500 fans by opening their campaign with a speedy straight-set victory over Switzerland (25-23, 25-12, 25-21) in a match that marked the comeback of Peter Veres with the national team after six years. On Saturday Hungary will play Bosnia and Herzegovina while Norway will continue their journey by taking on Switzerland. 

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the matches.

Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Norway 1:3 (19-25, 25-18, 15-25, 18-25)

Bosnia and Herzegovina started out strong in the opening match of the tournament leading the way by 8:4 at the first technical time-out of the first set. However, Norway responded by scoring nine consecutive points and after that could keep a comfortable lead to finish the set by 25-19. The start of the second set was very close before Bosnia and Herzegovina broke away halfway through setting the pace of the game with a lead standing at three-four points. Norway fell apart by the end of the set and Bosnia and Herzegovina cruised to the final 25-18 to draw level.

Norway nevertheless regrouped and stormed back in the third set powered by Jonas Kvalen, their opposite who spent one season in Poland playing for AZS OLSZTYN in the first division of the local national league. The duo comprising Kvalen and last year’s U22 European Beach Volleyball Championship silver medalist Lars Frederik Tvinde – they both play for FORDE VBK – paced the Scandinavians together with Mathias Loftesnes, their only player who currently competes abroad (in Belgium). Norway pushed strong to comfortably claim the third set by 25-15 and even though their opponents from Bosnia and Herzegovina fought bravely in the fourth set, Norway broke away halfway through the set and this way paved the way to their 3:1 victory.

“I am happy with the result even though I am a little disappointed with our performance in the second set,” commented Norway’s head coach Scott Olsen. “We want to play our best and show good Volleyball here. Tomorrow we have a very difficult match with Switzerland and I am curious to see what happens there. We need to play at a higher level than we did today.”

“We are happy with this victory but we know we have a lot more to display. This is just the beginning but a good way to start the tournament. It is going to get harder and harder match after match and so we are now eagerly waiting for tomorrow and our match with Switzerland” said team captain Kare Helvik Morken.

“If you lose a match, you are never happy. However, we have a completely new team and we did not have much time to prepare. Our libero was also a little injured. Norway was simply better today, so they deserve this victory and our congratulations,” said Bosnia and Herzegovina’s mentor Dragan Bozic.

“It was a good game but we have some problems right now that we have to solve so that we can play a lot better tomorrow. We are going to have a very difficult game with Hungary. I wish the best of luck to all teams participating in this tournament,” concluded team captain Almir Aganovic.

Hungary vs. Switzerland 3:0 (25-23, 25-12, 25-21)

The home heroes of Hungary could not ask for a better way to start their campaign as they routed Switzerland in three sets. Switzerland was able to keep close contact in the opening set but only until the home duo comprising Peter Veres – the oldest player on the court at 35 years of age – and Krisztian Padar – the youngest at 18 (pictured) – pulled away making sure Hungary would lead by as many as three points. In the end Hungary won the set by 25-23, still enough to set the tone for the remainder of the game. The home team dictated the tempo of the match in the second set and controlled the operations with ease, leading by eight points at the second technical time-out before finishing it off at 25-12.

Hungary did not lose composure also in the third set where they went up by five points before the Swiss were able to storm back to cut their deficit to only one. However, Hungary got back on track by the time it counted the most and with two terrific blocks by Jozsef Nagy the local heroes were able to restore their leadership and to finish the game in three sets.

“We have a young team and we still are not able to show our potential, but I am confident that we will improve day by day,” said Swiss head coach Dario Bettello. “The first set was good, the second was terrible, and the third one quite close. Tomorrow we will try to go for a better result as we play Norway.”

“We can play better but we had a very short time to prepare for this tournament. We knew that Hungary is the best team in this group, with a lot of players competing also abroad, so they have quite some experience,” added Switzerland’s team captain Marco Gygli.  

“It was our first match and in the end we got what we wanted: a victory. The first and third sets were quite close and we made some mistakes, but I am really happy with the three points we take from this match,” said Hungary’s head coach György Demeter.

“I am happy with the victory and even though there still are things to improve on, I am sure that we will be playing better this weekend,” added team captain Szabolcs Nemeth.

“We won but I am not that happy with our performance. Of course there is no need to discuss the importance of a victory but there are things that we should do a lot better,” concluded veteran Peter Veres.

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