Slovenia ready for first round of European League semis with Slovakia
2016 CEV Volleyball European League - Women
Ljubljana, Slovenia, June 22, 2016. Only three days after a successful weekend and a perfect debut for Slovenia men’s national team in Group 3 of the FIVB Volleyball World League, top level Volleyball is returning to Ljubljana. On Wednesday night Slovenia women’s national team, who swept six matches in a row in Pool C of the 2016 CEV Volleyball European League earlier this month, will host rookies Slovakia in their first ever semi-final appearance in the competition.
Slovenia finished the group stage with a clean sheet and only one set lost playing against Hungary, Romania and Greece in Pool C. Slovakia, the eventual winners of Pool A, lost a match against Poland and struggled in another two of their group stage games with Belarus and Poland.
“We didn’t want to be too optimistic before the start of the CEV Volleyball European League and I have to be honest that we are all a little surprised by such good results. On the other hand, we have been working really hard, we have been getting better and better and now we are really looking forward to the semi-final matches. It is difficult to talk about the outcome of this duel, but I trust my team, and if we manage to serve and receive as good as we did at the last tournament in Greece, I think we can hope for a good result,” Slovenia head coach Bruno Najdič said at a press conference held in Ljubljana.
Both teams know each other very well, since they played two preparation matches in Maribor, Slovenia only a few days before the start of the first 2016 CEV Volleyball European League tournaments they contested in Hungary and Poland, respectively.
"We lost both preparation matches 3-2, but this does not mean much, since both coaches were still looking for the best options and solutions at that time. In my opinion, both teams have their strengths and weaknesses, and probably the key factor will be who shows more focus on court,” said Slovenia libero Katja Medved.
Her teammate and Slovenian team captain Marina Cvetanovič added: “The semi-final matches are one of two climaxes this season, the other being the CEV Volleyball European Championship qualifiers in September. We all hope we will progress to the final. The team spirit is great, the motivation is high and winning six straight matches in the pool round gave us additional self-confidence. Let’s hope for the best.”
The match in Ljubljana will start on Wednesday night at 8pm local time before the re-match follows this coming Sunday, June 26 in Bratislava.