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23/08/2014 20:00
Faultless Serbians and Slovenia move to gold medal match
2014 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Women

Tartu, Estonia, August 23, 2014. 2012 runner-up Serbia continued their winning streak at the 2014 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Women in Saturday’s semifinals, cruising to an impressive straight-set win over titleholder Turkey (25-21, 25-21, 25-12). It was the 18th consecutive set win for Serbia in this competition. Slovenia booked the second final match ticket by outclassing Greece in straight sets (25-16, 25-21, 25-16) as well.

Watch Sunday’s matches live and for free at Click here for a live picture gallery of the final weekend.

Serbia v Turkey 3:0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-12)

Bojana Milenkovic led the impeccable Serbians with 20 points to an undisputed straight-set (25-21, 25-21, 25-12) semifinal win over Turkey. Captain Tijana Boskovic helped her side with 19 kills. Pelin Aroguz was the best scorer for Turkey with 11 points.
Yagmur Kilic and Ada Germen got Turkey moving in the right direction early on with blistering spikes and the Turks were helped by a service reception error by Serbia. Head coach Marijana Boricic took advantage of the first technical break to adapt her game plan. Serbia scored four consecutive points to turn around the score at 11-10. There was not much to separate the two teams in the initial stages of the match with both squads showing their strength at the net and in defence. Serbia gained momentum at 20-17. Turkish head coach Mustafa Suphi Doganci immediately called his ladies off court to have a serious chat. The young Serbians kept the upper hand until 23-19 before Turkey came closer at 23-21. Nevertheless, it was not good enough. Bojana Milenkovic ended it in Serbia’s favor at 25-21. Serbia had the better offense in the first set (53-35%).
Led by strong opposite Tijana Boskovic and outside hitter Milenkovic, the Serbians continued their winning streak in the second period. The East Europeans still had not lost one single set in this tournament and were three points up at 14-11. Doganci sent in second setter Cansu Özbay for captain Arelya Karasoy but could not stop Serbia’s run until 16-13 at the second technical break. Poor Turkish reception and good Serbian defending saw the Serbians surge ahead 20-15. Germen, with sharp serves, powered Turkey back to 20-20 before Serbia regained momentum with four consecutive points. Boskovic closed it out for the Serbians at 25-21.
Titleholder Turkey did their best to turn the tables in the third set but could not cope with the power and speed the Serbians displayed. The team of head coach Marijana Boricic had only one block winner after two sets but controlled the game mainly with excellent serving and an exceptional offense. At the second technical timeout in set No. 3, the Serbians already led 16-8 and never looked back until 25-12. Hande Baladin served the Mikasa short to bounce the young Serbians in heaven. It was the 18th consecutive set win for Serbia at the 2014 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Women.
Serbia head coach Marijana Boricic: "I'm very pleased as we played against Turkey four times before this tournament and won only one of those matches. It is a good feeling to play for gold. Our team was ready, I'm proud of them."
Serbia top scorer Bojana Milenkovic: "This was my best game in this tournament but more important was that our team advanced to the final. Our concentration was really high today and we showed a strong will to win."
Turkey head coach Mustafa Suphi Doganci: "We weren't physically ready as we had some difficult matches in Tampere. My team fought well in the first two sets but then we lost focus."
Turkey captain Arelya Karasoy: "If we had won the first set perhaps the match would have ended differently. We are all sad. However, we worked hard to be here and we will fight for a medal tomorrow."

Greece v Slovenia 0:3 (16-25, 21-25, 16-25)

In Saturday’s second semifinal clash at Tartu’s A. Le Coq Sports Hall, Slovenia proved too strong for Greece (25-16, 25-21, 25-16), making it to Sunday’s much-awaited gold medal match of the 2014 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Women. Best scorer of the match was Slovenia’s Lana Scuka with 15 points while Alexandra Psoma and Anthi Vasilantonaki contributed nine kills each for Greece.
Slovenia started their first semifinal in history of Slovenian volleyball with confidence and quickly gained momentum with setter Eva Mori giving the Greek blockers a hard time. Mori and her teammates were two points ahead at the first technical timeout and speedily stretched their lead to six points at the second official break. Greek head coach Konstantinos Papadopoulous tried his best to find an adequate plan to stop the powerful Slovenian spikers but failed. After falling behind 12-21, Greece found a burst of form with a thundering spike from captain Anthi Vasilantonaki and a service winner from Zacharoula Giannelou but it was already too late. Vasilantonaki served short, offering Slovenia a quite relaxed 1:0 set lead at 25-16.
The story of the match did not change much in the beginning of the second set. A back row winner from Lana Scuka gave Slovenia a three-point lead at 13-10. Vasilantonaki brought Greece back into the game with a good kill and Slovenia hurt their chances temporarily with two straight errors. However, the young Slovenian talents held their nerves and were still two points up at the second technical timeout. Greece answered with some remarkable combinations at the net and kept the gap within two points at 18-20. Still, it was not good enough. A spike error by Alexandra Psoma reopened the gap to five points in Slovenia’s favor at 23-18. Mori clinched the set with her fourth (!) attack point.
Anita Sobocan and Katja Mihevc shared the winning points at the start of the third set and Mihevc, still, finished off the first phase of the set with another fast attack that put Slovenia 8-3 ahead. At times, Greece threatened to go on a run, but they couldn’t sustain their form long enough to give Slovenia any major problems in the second phase and the Slovenians were already nine points ahead at 19-10. Match point came with another Psoma mistake and Nina Markovic's shot ended the match at 25-16.
Slovenia head coach Joze Casar: "It was tough as we had a lot of pressure on our shoulders, everyone said that we were the favorites. Greece is a strong team but we have raised our level this year. I am looking forward to the derby with Serbia in the gold medal match. I think pressure is on them as they haven't lost a single set in this tournament."
Slovenia captain Eva Mori: "Usually we play really bad games against Greece but today we managed to follow our game plan and won 3:0. It’s a very special feeling to play for gold. Serbia is a good team and it's hard to predict the result of the final - we'll see it tomorrow.”
Greece head coach Konstantinos Papadopoulos: "After today’s loss, everyone is disappointed. So am I. The result was not the worst thing today but the way we played. The team entered the court without being ready for the match and with the wrong fighting spirit.”
Greece captain Anthi Vasilantonaki: "We didn't make what we were supposed to do on the court and that was decisive. Tomorrow we'll have a match where both teams will be eager to win the bronze medal. It will be a tough game for us.”

Match schedule for Sunday:

11:30 Russia v Belgium (classification match 7-8)
14:00 Czech Republic v Bulgaria (classification match 5-6)
16:30 Turkey v Greece (bronze medal match)
19:00 Serbia v Slovenia (gold medal match)

One week before the men’s U20 national teams will battle for medals in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Estonia and Finland are in the spot light for the prominent CEV event at Tartu’s A. Le Coq Sports Hall that hosted Pool I and Tampere’s Exhibition and Sports Centre featuring Pool II. A total of 38 matches are played during the tournament, running from August 16-24, 2014.

The Preliminary Phase of the 2014 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Women was split into two pools of six teams with the top two from each pool having advanced to the semifinals and the third and fourth ranked teams having made it to the classification matches 5-8.

Picture: The Slovenian side celebrate their undisputed semifinal win over Greece, taking on Serbia in Sunday’s gold medal match.

Click here for more info on the Final Round of the 2014 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Women.

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