Azerbaijan win first-round of European League semis with Greece
2016 CEV Volleyball European League - Women
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 25, 2016. On Saturday Azerbaijan claimed the first round of their 2016 CEV Volleyball European League – Women semi-final cruising to a 3-1 home victory over Greece (25-23, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19). The re-match will follow on Sunday, June 26, again in Baku.
Jana Kulan (Matiasovska) set the pace for Azerbaijan in the first and second sets, her strong serve resulting in a number of aces. After losing the third set, Azerbaijan struggled a bit in reception but Polina Rahimova paced their offensive play, minimising the number of unforced errors and paving the way towards a 3-1 home win.
Azerbaijan team captain Odina Bayramova said: “I am not happy with today’s match and especially with my own performance. Maybe it is because we all felt some pressure, I do not know how to explain that. I am hoping that tomorrow we will be playing a much better game than we did today.”
Greece coach Ioannis Kalmazidis: “I think we started really good, and we were able to lead the way for most of the opening set, but unfortunately we could not keep that same level through to the end. We lost focus and with it the first set as well. I think we did a good job in many aspects of the game, and especially at attacking and blocking, where I think we did even better than Azerbaijan today. However, they scored a lot of aces and for us it was difficult to respond. However, overall we played a good match against a team as strong as Azerbaijan and I am hoping that we can do even better tomorrow.”
Greece captain Eleni Kiosi: “We played a good match, especially in the first set but we could not hold on to our early lead through to the end. I think we could have taken at least one more set if not won the match. Today’s was Azerbaijan’s day, but I am hoping that tomorrow we will be the ones to celebrate in the end.”
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