Slovakia ready for first round of women’s European League finals
2016 CEV Volleyball European League - Women
Nitra, Slovakia, June 29, 2016. Slovakia will host another great Volleyball party later this week. After playing host to a World League tournament and to the second semi-final match of the CEV Volleyball European League – Women in Bratislava, on Thursday Slovakia will be hosting Azerbaijan for the first round of the European League finals in Nitra.
Slovakia qualified to the final after winning both of their semi-final matches with Slovenia, whereas Azerbaijan made its way to the final after edging Greece.
Both teams know each other pretty well since they crossed their ways at last year’s third and final qualification round for the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship. They won their respective home matches before Azerbaijan claimed the golden set that followed to secure their spot in the Final Round that took place in Belgium and the Netherlands. There have been quite changes on the roster of the Slovakian team since last year’s matches with two young setters – Barbora Kosekova and Lenka Oveckova – now in the group.
The home team will for sure be missing Jana Matiasovka, now Jana Kulan, who comes originally from Slovakia, but moved to Azerbaijan a few years ago. The 198-cm tall outside spiker is known for singing both national teams before any matches she plays with Slovakia.
The captain of the Slovakian team Jaroslava Pencova, who played last year for Lokomotiv BAKU, is also well-familiar with Azerbaijan: “I had scheduled a small surgery for June 30, because no one expected us to qualify for the finals in our first participation in the European League, but I have already re-booked the surgery and I am ready to fight. We played two close matches last year, but Azerbaijan was luckier in the golden set, so we have to win this year.”
The coach of the Slovakian team Marek Rojko knows who the favourite of the finals is: “Azerbaijan is the favourite on paper, we know it, but we have been playing really well the last months, we are in a good mood and what is important, we are being carried away by a flow of enthusiasm.”
The match in Nitra starts on Thursday night at 6pm local time before the re-match follows this coming Sunday in Baku.