Rookies Slovakia make it to European League Finals
2016 CEV Volleyball European League - Women
Bratislava, Slovakia, June 26, 2016. In what is only their first participation in the competition, Slovakia secured on Sunday their progression to the final stage of the 2016 CEV Volleyball European League – Women. After claiming the first round of the semis contested on Wednesday in Ljubljana, the team coached by Marek Rojko beat Slovenia once more also in Bratislava, doing so in four sets (25-18, 22-25, 25-13, 25-15). The Slovakian women’s national team played their first official international game in the country’s capital city in 16 years and the comeback was crowned with success. Slovakia will now play Azerbaijan in the finals, with the first match scheduled for June 30 in Nitra, before the second follows on July 3 in Baku.
Slovakia started out in the best way and after three aces in a row by Michaela Abrhamova they moved the charts to 9-4. The home team continued to serve strong and after leading 19-11, the hosts won the opening set 25-18.
Slovenia started the second set a lot better and claimed a 10-4 lead with Monika Potokar standing behind the service line. The visitors were 16-8 up at the second technical time-out, but Slovakia stormed back and Miroslava Kuciakova reduced the gap down to one point – 19-18. However, Slovenia did not lose composure and performed well towards the end of the set, ultimately finishing it 25-22 in their favour.
The next two sets were completely under control of the Slovakian team, resulting in compelling 25-13 and 25-15 wins that secured Slovakia’s spot in the finals.
“I am very happy that we qualified to the finals in our first year in this competition. Our team is very good and we need to test our skills on the international stage. We started out very good, after that we lost focus a little bit in the second set, but we did well in the third and fourth as well. We will meet a team as strong as Azerbaijan in the finals, but we will do everything we can to win this competition,” said Slovakia coach Marek Rojko.
“Slovakia played much better than us in all aspects of the game today and they deserved to win. We did not play the best we can, but we have to congratulate Slovakia. In general, we are satisfied, because we made it to the semis of this competition and now we will have to prepare as good as we can for the qualification rounds to next year’s CEV Volleyball European Championship that will be taking place in September,” said Slovenia coach Bruno Najdic.
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