Bydgoszcz, Poland, May 23, 2014. In the first match of Pool B in Bydgoszcz, Switzerland scored a surprising win over Ukraine by 3:1 (19-25, 25-15, 25-23, 25-19) in the second round of qualifications for the 2015 CEV European Championship - Women. In the second match of the day, the home side of Poland beat Latvia by a convincing 3:0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-11) for 66 minutes of play.
Switzerland vs. Ukraine 3:1 (19-25, 25-15, 25-23, 25-19)
The opening of the first set was very promising for the team from Ukraine as they quickly jumped ahead to 4-1, but the Swiss refused to give up and tied the score at 7-7. Nevertheless, after the first technical time-out, the Ukrainians showed their skills and took the lead once again scoring four unanswered points for 10-7. They later increased the advantage to five points at the second technical break, but after the short pause they lost focus for a second and let the opponents get closer - 17:16. Ukraine's play had many ups and downs and the score waved throughout the set – each time Ukraine gained larger advantage, Switzerland was able to tie the score, just to stay behind once more a moment later. In the end, the Ukrainians managed to focus and picked up the set by 25-19. Set 2 was very close from the beginning as neither team gained the desired advantage. The Swiss were the first to take over and jumped ahead to 11-5, forcing the Ukrainian head coach Gariy Yegiazarov to call time-out. This did not help his team and the opponents increased the advantage even more – 13-6, then 16-7 at the second technical time-out. Without further problems they took the set by 25-15, setting the overall score at 1:1. The third set was similar to the previous one – started close with the Swiss taking the lead at the first technical break by 8-5, but this time the Ukrainians would not let the opponents get too far ahead and they quickly levelled the score at 8-8. They carried the momentum and gained advantage at 11-9. -The Swiss head coach Timothy Lippuner called time-out to break the rivals' good series. After that the play and the score was like a rollercoaster – one team took control just to give it back to the opponents a few minutes later – 17-15 to Switzerland, then a series of unanswered points scored by Ukraine and 19-17 to them. In the final stage of the set the play remained on a point-for-point basis, with the Swiss slightly ahead. With a powerful spike by their opposite, Mandy Wigger, Switzerland won the set by 25-23 and took the lead in the match. The fourth set saw the complete change in Ukraine – they walked back to the court highly concentrated and determined to stay in the game. They instantly took control over the set and jumped ahead to 10-2, and later to 15-5. Switzerland soon overcame the shock, regained its focus and did the impossible – it scored a series of fourteen unanswered points, levelled the score and took the lead - from 7-16 to 21-16! Coach Yegiazarov tried to change the image of the game with some substitutions, but the Swiss were unstoppable. They won the set by 25-19 and the match by 3:1.
Mandy Wigger from Switzerland and Iryna Trushkina from Ukraine scored 17 points each to share the top scorer’s position for the match.
Timothy Lippuner, head coach of Switzerland: “Of course, the change that happened on our side in the fourth set was great. But I am very happy with what my team did in the third set. I wanted them to confirm the good result from the second set, because it is very easy to fall after a big win. But my players stayed focused and continued to play well in serving and in block-defense.”
Kristel Marbach, captain of Switzerland: “The coach told us to serve like crazy and this is what we did.”
Gariy Yegiazarov, head coach of Ukraine: “This was a very bad match for us. Now I can only hope that this one point that we took from Poland during the tournament in Switzerland will be enough to get us into the playoffs.”
Poland vs. Latvia 3:0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-11)
The match started well for the hosts – they quickly gained a large point advantage of 10-3, putting a lot of pressure on the opponent with strong serves and spikes. Later in the set they increased the advantage scoring ten unanswered points for 20-5 and easily took the set by 25-12. In the second set the score remained close at the beginning, until the Poles took the lead again for 8-5. From that moment they continued to dominate, especially in blocking and serving, and the opponents were unable to take the initiative. Poland romped into a 25-15 victory and set the overall score at 2:0. The final set was a display of Poland's domination. It led from the very beginning and played much stronger and faster. With a nine-point advantage of 12-3 and later 15-6, the Poles did whatever they wanted on the court. The Latvians could only watch helplessly. Poland increased the advantage even more and won the set by 25-11 and the entire match by 3:0.
The big unknown for the Polish team, injured Izabela Kowalinska, started the match in the lineup and was a very important addition to the team, tallying 10 points to tie teammate Katarzyna Zaroslinska as the best scorers of the match. Karina Filijonola was Latvia’s most prolific player with 7 points.
Lana Sorokina, captain of Latvia: “I cannot say I am satisfied with this result. I am not happy and the team is not happy. I hope tomorrow will be a better day for us.”
Janis Leitis, head coach of Latvia: “I hoped that the atmosphere in the hall would help my team, but it was obvious that the girls were extremely nervous. We did not play our best volleyball. Of course, we expected this final result, but I thought that maybe we could even win one set. Last week we managed to score 20 points in two of the sets against Poland and I wanted to repeat this tonight. Unfortunately we were not able to do so.”
Piotr Makowski, head coach of Poland: “We need to remember that Latvia can play better volleyball than tonight. We cannot underestimate any opponent. Switzerland showed today a great level and determination and tomorrow we have to be fully concentrated.”
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