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13/04/2017 21:25
Hosts off to flying start in #EuroVolleyU16W second-round qualifiers
2017 U16 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women

Luxembourg, April 13, 2017. The second round of qualifications for the inaugural CEV U16 Volleyball European Championship – Women started on Thursday in Belgrade and Palencia with Belarus and Serbia emerging victorious in Pool A as the Netherlands and hosts Spain rallied to comfortable victories in Pool D. The competition will continue on Friday – with one additional qualifier starting in Holte, Denmark. The teams are vying for a spot in the Final Round scheduled for later this summer in Bulgaria – for which the winners of last year’s zonal first-round events have already secured their participation.   

Pool A in Belgrade (SRB)

After Hungary’s furious start resulting in a speedy 4-0 lead in the first set, one could have assumed that this team were going to claim the opening match of the tournament, which is currently taking place at Vizura sports hall in Belgrade. It was indeed going the right way for the Hungarian girls, who comfortably rallied to a 25-22 win. Hungary started to the second set in the same fashion, but Belarus were growing stronger by the minute. After a turbulent mid-section of the set, with Belarus going up 13-11 and Hungary turning the score in their favour at 14-13, Belarus pushed very hard and went up 22-16. Hungary managed to tie the score at 23-23, but lacked focus in the decisive moments, which helped Belarus take the second set at 27-25. The third set was all for Belarus (25-10), but in the fourth the audience could see once again a very solid battle all the way until the very end, which ultimately went Belarus’ way. Kseniya Liabiodkina of Belarus top scored in the match with 21 points.  

“It was a very intense and exciting match. We were almost completely lost, but we managed to turn the momentum in our favour by winning the second set. We were a bit lucky this time, but I am very satisfied with this victory,” said Yahor Pimakhin, head coach of Belarus.

The hosts of the tournament, Serbia, had to dig deep against Montenegro to take home all three points at stake in their first appearance in front of the home crowd. In the first set it looked like it was going to be an easy ride (25-13), but in the second one the Montenegrins came up with a surprise and snatched the set at 25-22 to equalise the match. The Serbian girls started to build their game all over again, working hard in defence and playing solid in attack as well. Montenegro managed to keep up in the third set, but only in the initial stages. Then, the hosts went up by several points and maintained their lead through to the end (25-19). The fourth set saw a furious start from the Serbian girls who immediately went up 5-0 and practically sealed the match against the broken spirited opponent (25-9). Ivana Nedeljković paced the home side with 16 points.

“We lost one set, but we won a player, Jovana Cvetković. She was excellent during the preparations, but today she struggled. After all, this was her first appearance in such an important competition. We could have won 3-0 with some changes, but I decided to stick with her all the way. Maybe tomorrow somebody else will find herself in this same situation. These girls are very, very young. We followed Hungary’s match earlier today and they played so emotionally. I think that we are the better team, but with players of this age, everything is somehow unpredictable,” said Zeljko Sćepanović, head coach of Serbia.

Pool D in Palencia (ESP)

The Netherlands beat Poland 3-1 (18-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-23) in the opening match of the U16 women’s qualifier in Palencia. “For both teams it was probably their first real match and both of them started very nervous, thus making too many errors. However, after that, our girls started playing better, showing good composure. For us it was the perfect debut,” stated the Dutch head coach Eelco Beijl.

Spain followed suit and defeated Latvia 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-14) in the second match of the day. The hosts proved too strong for the Latvian girls and claimed a convincing victory in their debut on home soil.

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14/04/2017 22:40:00
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12/04/2017 14:57:00
Serbia to host U16 women’s qualifier, live streaming available for all matches

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