Norway and Hungary to play for first place in Kecskemét
2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men
Kecskemét, Hungary, May 10, 2014. Norway’s men’s national team continued their display of fine form at the first-round qualifier for the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Men which is taking place this weekend at Messzi Istvan sports hall in Kecskemét. After yesterday’s victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina, the young Scandinavian players around head coach Scott Olsen showed maturity and strong nerves after losing a close opening set and trailing 12:19 in the second to edge Switzerland by 3:1 (24-26, 25-23, 25-14, 25-17). On Sunday they will play the hosts of Hungary who also boast a perfect record after the second day of the tournament following their 3:0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina (25-17, 25-18, 25-16). Hungary currently tops the charts of the group as they haven’t dropped a set so far while Norway’s record stands at six sets won and two lost.
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Norway vs. Switzerland 3:1 (24-26, 25-23, 25-14, 25-17)
“Do not change a winning team” could be the motto of Norway’s head coach Scotto Olsen and this is exactly what he did while choosing the starting line-up for today’s match with Switzerland after yesterday’s victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the only exception being the libero. In spite of this, Norway was off to a slow start with Switzerland leading by four points in the opening set. The players from Norway could gradually find their way back into the game and set the pace by the second technical time-out (16:14). Though the Swiss were side-lined by the injury suffered by Noah Eichenberger, this blow did not prevent them from killing two superb blocks to claim the first set by 26-24.
Switzerland kept on setting the pace of the game also in the second set leading by as many as seven points at 19:12. This was not enough for them to bring it home because Norway surged back to score seven points in a row, restore the balance and even flip the charts around. With the attacks killed by Jon Jarning, Norway tied the score in sets (25-23) thereby completing their stellar comeback.
After that Norway controlled the match in the third set where they led from the start to the end. Their lead stood at five points as the second technical time-out was called and it even doubled up by the time the set came to an end (25-14).
Norway imposed their pace also in the fourth set and after leading by 8:3, head coach Scott Olsen decided to field in one of his second lines, middle-blocker Orjan Siljander. The Swiss looked tired and were no longer a real match for the Scandinavians who deservedly pocketed a 3:1 victory.
“I thought we were well prepared for this match but we had some problems, and played well only for one and a half set. As I said yesterday, we have a young team and these guys haven’t spent that much time together. We made a lot of mistakes and I am sad for our opposite who got injured,” said Swiss mentor Dario Bettello.
“The first set was good and a real fight. We played a good game halfway through the second set but then we lost control and focus. We hope to perform better tomorrow in our last match with Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Swiss team captain Marco Gygli added.
“Our setter performed really strong today and the team benefited from this. I am very proud of my players and happy for them because they fought really bravely to come back in the second set. I am little disappointed because we lost one set. Tomorrow we will get a tough job to do with Hungary” said Norway’s mentor Scott Olsen.
“We are happy with this victory but not satisfied with our performance. We provided a way too many chances to our Swiss opponents and we started very bad. There is still a lot of work to be done. The court here is excellent, the organization just perfect and we are happy with this as well. Hungary is a very good team so I am curious to see what is next tomorrow”, concluded Norway’s captain Kare Helvik Morken.
Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Hungary 0:3 (17-25, 18-25, 16-25)
Hungary’s players looked a little nervous at the beginning of their match with Bosnia and Herzegovina but halfway through the opening set they could display a solid performance and that helped the home side cruise to the final 25-17. The hosts easily controlled the operations in the second set; the home heroes looked very confident and they finished their job by cashing the second of their seven set balls. Hungary started out strong also in the third set and widened their lead up to six points. Bosnia and Herzegovina attempted a comeback but Hungary did not lose control and eventually wrapped up the match in three sets.
“We have improved the quality of our performance since yesterday and in the end we beat Bosnia and Herzegovina in three sets,” Hungary’s head coach György Demeter commented. “I am very happy but we have to concentrate on our last game on Sunday with Norway which will determine who finishes first in the tournament. We are not going to make any calculations, we just want to win.”
Hungary’s team captain Szabolcs Nemeth added: “We have been able to stick to the game plan we had worked on after scouting videos of our opponents. We wanted to dismantle their game on the middle blockers because this is their main strength. They tried to develop different tactics but it did not work. Tomorrow we have to play the same way and win with Norway as well.”
“We played very bad and were not concentrated at all. We made a lot of mistakes, especially our setter and libero,” commented the head coach of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dragan Bozic. “We are happy that we could play a strong team like Hungary; they deserve our congratulations.”
“First of all I want to congratulate our opponents because they deserved to win this match,” added Almir Colo. “We played very bad and made a lot of mistakes. I wish them all the best also for the next round of qualifications because they are a good team.”