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24/08/2014 15:45
Russia and Bulgaria finish on a positive note at Women’s U19 Euro Champs
2014 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Women

Tartu, Estonia, August 24, 2014. Russia (3:1 win versus Belgium) and Bulgaria (3:2 triumph over the Czech Republic) completed their 2014 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Women campaign on a positive note. Bulgaria finish fifth, Russia seventh.

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

Belgium v Russia 1:3 (19-25, 25-19, 18-25, 17-25)

Russia started the classification match for the seventh place in a good mood, displaying their outstanding offense with a quota of 70% (!) in the opening set. After their unexpected 2:3 defeat versus Bulgaria the day before, the team of head coach Petr Kobrin showed strong determination to make amends today. Powerhouse Russia kick started in Sunday’s first match at Tartu’s A. Le Coq Sports Hall, cruising to a seven-point lead at the second technical timeout. It was already good enough as the Russian opposite – some minutes later – closed it out at 25-19 with a thundering spike from the right side.
However, Belgium did not slouch their shoulders, showing more resistance in the second set. As in their Pool match (3:1 for Belgium), the young Belgians rapidly bounced back after the loss of the first set, putting more pressure on the Russian spikers. Russia’s offense quota dropped to 30% as Belgium’s defense proved more stable at that moment of the match. The team of head coach Julien Van de Vyver led 16-11 at the second technical timeout and speedily stretched the lead to seven points at 21-14. Belgium never looked back until the final 25-19, levelling the duel for the seventh rank to 1:1 after two sets.
Still, it was not good enough. The tall Russians geared up again in the third and fourth frame, vanishing the Belgian hopes for a positive final result quickly into thin air (25-18, 25-17). Captain Angelina Sperskaite ended the tournament for the two teams with a blistering spike from the left side to make it 25-17 and 3:1 for Russia after four sets.
Russia head coach Petr Kobrin: "I am satisfied as we managed to give an appropriate answer to the team who beat us during pool play.”
Russia captain Angelina Sperskaite: "Of course we are not happy with the seventh place in this tournament as we came to achieve more. Today we showed a good game while during pool play we lost focus and power against the same team."
Belgium head coach Julien Van de Vyver: "During the preliminary round we played our best game against Russia but they have improved a lot during the tournament. For us it was hard to keep our level stable as it's our first time to play the final round. I think my team learned a lot and my players got better during the competition. The most important fact is that we have some players who can advance to the senior level and play as professionals in the near future."
Belgium captain Elise Van Sas: "Russia played really strong today and we didn't show our best game. They are extremely good in blocking and it's hard to score at some rotations. We had our good moments, but couldn't pull through. We expected a little more from this tournament as we started really well."

The Czech Republic v Bulgaria 2:3 (19-25, 25-21, 25-22, 8-25, 17-19)

Bulgaria eventually proved too strong for the Czech Republic to claim the fifth rank at the 2014 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Women. The team of head coach Petar Dochev overpowered the promising Czech talents in a 131-minute volleyball thriller 3:2 (25-19, 21-25, 22-25, 25-8, 19-17) in Sunday’s second classification clash at A. Le Coq Sports Hall in Tartu, Estonia. Brilliant Bulgarian captain Gergana Dimitrova topped the scorers with 33 (!) points. Anna Sucha contributed 15 kills for the Czech side.
Bulgaria made an impressive start into the match, showing strong offense and committing few errors in the opening set. As usual, captain Gergana Dimitrova (six points) was the leading force for the young Bulgarians who swiftly sailed to a well-deserved 25-19 first set win.
The Czechs turned the tables in the middle of the second period. At 16-12, the team of head coach Ondrej Marek had opened a four-point gap. The main change came from the amount of unforced errors on both sides – the Czechs committed four instead of seven mistakes, Bulgaria ten instead of four in the second period. However, Bulgaria did not give up, bouncing back to a one-point deficit at 22-21. Marek immediately called his ladies off court to have a serious chat. It helped as Anna Sucha brought up set point for the Czechs at 24-21 and Lucie Nova ended the second period – with a block winner – 25-21 for the Czech Republic.
The Czech Republic kept momentum until 19-13 in the third set. Bulgaria rallied back to 20-20 but could not outfox the Czechs in the decisive moment of the set. Sucha – again – showed her exceptional mental and physical strength and powered the Czech Republic two points ahead at 23-21. Mlejnkova added another back row bomb to her personal account and setter Marie Kurkova – with a well-timed left hand tip – closed it out at 25-22.
Bulgaria fired back strappingly in the fourth set (25-8!), showing again their brilliant team spirit to move the thrilling action into the fifth set.
It was a neck-to-neck race in the deciding set. Sucha hammered for a slight 8-7 lead for the Czech Republic at changeover. Nevertheless, the tireless Bulgarians, led by their outstanding captain Gergana Dimitrova, changed the story of the match in the conclusive moments. They gained momentum at 10-9 and kept the upper hand until the final whistle. Although Sucha and her teammates saved four match balls, Dimitrova scored her fifth consecutive point to bounce Bulgaria in heaven at 19-17.
Bulgaria head coach Petar Dochev: "The most important is not the way we started the tournament but the way we finished it. Even though we did not make it to the medal matches, I satisfied with my team and our final result.”
Bulgaria captain Gergana Dimitrova: "I'm happy with my own performance today and the whole team did well.”
Czech Republic head coach Ondrej Marek: "The tournament was ok for us but finishing fifth would have been nicer. Today's final score was the result of the first set as we started quite badly. Bulgaria’s captain was the most valuable player on the court today and we couldn't defend her the same way we managed in pool match."
Czech Republic captain Marie Kurkova: "We had good chances to finish fifth but I have to admit that Bulgaria played well today. The final result is good for us but not the outcome of the last match."

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)

Final Ranking:

5. Bulgaria
6. The Czech Republic
7. Russia
8. Belgium
9. Italy
10. The Netherlands
11. Finland
12. Estonia

One week before the men’s U20 national teams will battle for medals in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Estonia and Finland were 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 were played during the tournament, running from August 16-24, 2014.

Picture: Tatiana Iurinskaia (No. 17) contributed 15 points for Russia to finish seventh at 2014 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Women.

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

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