Nataniya, Israel, May 31, 2014. France did not miss out on beating bottom-placed Sweden in straight sets for 3:0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-14) in Pool E of second round qualifications for the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women. This way the French caught up with Hungary with 9 points each, after the central Europeans gave up the top, losing by 1:3 (24-26, 25-14, 11-25, 17-25) to new leader Israel.
Sweden vs. France 0:3 (14-25, 22-25, 14-25)
The second day opened with an important match for the French where any loss of points could cost them dearly in their campaign for the European Championship. The French, strengthened by their victory over Hungary yesterday, opened strongly with a 12-8 lead against Sweden who had yet to win a set so far. They maintained their lead throughout the set keeping the pressure at the net, ending the set with an imposing 25-14 victory in just 23 minutes. The second set opened in Sweden’s favor who returned from the break with renewed energy. The determined French came back to trail by just one point at the technical time-out. The French turned things around after strong play by Alexandra Jupiter to lead by 22-20 and then finish off the second set at 25-22. The French momentum continued into the third set with Sweden trailing by three points at the first technical time-out. Despite their efforts, the Swedes were trailing by 9-16 at the second technical time-out and were soundly defeated by 14-25.
Alexia Djilali contributed with 17 points to France’s victory to top the scorers’ chart of the match, followed by Christina Bauer with 12. Ingrid Andrea Jakobsson and Alexandra Lazic shared the honors on Sweden’s side with 10 points each.
Tina Celinder-Nygren, head coach of Sweden: “In general I am satisfied with my girls. I changed to new tactics mainly because of the French height advantage, but they had difficulty in using them throughout the whole match.”
Israel vs. Hungary 3:1 (26-24, 14-25, 25-11, 25-17)
Both teams went into the match needing a victory to remain in contention for promotion to the Finals of the European Championship. The first set opened with Hungary taking the lead, but Israel rapidly came back to make up the difference leaving Hungary with a 2-point lead at 16-14. Israel came back to tie at 18-18 in front of a cheering crowd of 800 supporters. The set continued to be a close race. Israel’s Anna Velikiy scored the home team’s 24th point but Hungary’s Renata Sandor tied to even the score at 24-24. Velikiy gave the Israelis the next point and teammate Tatiana Artmenko scored the winning point.
The second set was dominated by the Hungarians. At the first technical time-out they led by 8-5 and continued to 10-7 mainly by dominating play from Sandor. They lengthened their lead as the Israelis faulted repeatedly. Hungary went on to win the second set by 25-14 to tie the match.
In the third set the Israelis came back to lead by 4-1 at the start and by 8-2 at the technical time-out. The home team continued its attack leading at 16-5 with strong defense by Velikiy. Israel’s Shany Peham scored at the net bringing her team to 20-8. The Israelis were unstoppable and took the set by 25-11 with an ace by Anita Gluck.
The fourth set went Israel’s way from the start despite strong Hungarian determination. From 16-12 the home team continued to lead by 17-13. Israeli captain Moran Zur scored the 18th point and brought her team closer to an important victory ahead of their match against France tomorrow. Zur continued to dominate and along with Velikiy extended the lead to 21-16 and then to a 25-17 set and match victory.
Renata Sandor of Hungary piled up 20 points to become the best scorer of the match. Moran Zur scored the most points for Israel – 17.
Arie Selinger, head coach of Israel: “This victory is one of the greatest victories of the team. We claimed a tactical victory. Tomorrow will be difficult and we will come prepared to achieve our goal.”
Click here for more details on the 2nd Round of qualifications, including match statistics and photos.