Mogilev, Belarus, May 25, 2014. Finland finished the first tournament in Pool A of second-round qualifications for the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women with 6 points after a 3:0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-18) win over Denmark. The last match in Mogilev before the battles move to Izmir featured the teams of Turkey and Belarus. In what was probably the most exciting game in the pool so far, the Turks maintained their unbeaten status with a 3:1 (25-18, 23-25, 27-25, 25-13) victory.
Denmark vs. Finland 0:3 (15-25, 20-25, 18-25)
The girls of Tapio Kangasniemi were favorites in the match, although after an easy victory in the first set, had problems receiving the ball. Denmark heavily relied on its defense and in certain episodes it worked. However, the Finnish players had an advantage in serving and used it successfully. Difficult for Finland was only the second set. Denmark’s Trine Noer Kjelstrup and Melcijana Salispahich made good hits in attack, as their opponents had problems with defense. Finland’s captain Paulina Vilponen was able to take the initiative, bringing several important points, and did not allow the Danish team to win this set.
Paulina Vilponen became the best scorer of the match with 15 points for the winning team. Trine Noer Kjelstrup was the usual top scorer for Denmark with 13 points.
Tapio Kangasniemi, head coach of Finland: “We risked in serving and received the ball well. Denmark brought us difficulties in the second set, but such a game with them is usual. I am pleased. In Mogilev we won six points.”
Sven-Erik Lauridsen, head coach of Denmark: “Finland is a very good team. We have tried to give them some hard time with our serving. Our leaders tried to use their best skills, no major complaints about anyone. The Finnish team is physically stronger.”
Turkey vs. Belarus 3:1 (25-18, 23-25, 27-25, 25-13)
The second match on Sunday became the most spectacular and dramatic in the pool so far. It was not a dress rehearsal, it was high-level volleyball. Both teams were preparing for this meeting. Turkey started the match well. Massimo Barbolini used the optimal composition for the team. Gozde Sonsrima was attacking well, while the Belarusian players made many mistakes and lost by 18-25. In the second set Turkey was in the lead by 17-13. However, with Nadzeya Malasai on the serve and Katsiaryna Silantieva in attack, the home team took the initiative. The Belarusian block also contributed for 20-19 before the lead was extended to 23-20. The Turks fought back, but Aksana Kavalchuk closed it off at 25-23. During the third set coach Massimo Barbolini was forced to change the setter and instead of Gamze Alikaya in came Cagla Akin. The hosts were leading by 11-9, but their mistakes did not let them hold on to their advantage. The Turks took the initiative. Guldeniz Onal Pasaoglu showed her skills in attack and the visiting team squeezed out the win by 27-25. The dramatic ending of the third set was decisive for the match. In the next set the Turkey did everything right and won it convincingly.
Guldeniz Onal Pasaoglu was the best scorer of the match with 17 points for Turkey. Gozde Sonsirma added 16. Belarus’s Nadzeya Malasai responded with 15.
Viktar Hancharau, head coach of Belarus: “Of course, today was a very different game, high quality. We made mistakes but we fought. Our team is young, but it has a perspective.”
Massimo Barbolini, head coach of Turkey: “I am satisfied. I knew that in spite of a bad game on Saturday, Belarus will fight to the end. We had difficulties in the game. We were 17-13 in the lead, but lost the second set. The third set was nervous. It was high-class volleyball. I am very glad that we took the maximum points and lead in the pool."
Click here for more details on the 2nd Round of qualifications, including match statistics and photos.