Györ, Hungary, September 1, 2016. The last day of the preliminary pool round at the 2016 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Women in Györ began with a shock for world champions Italy that had to watch Serbia claiming the last semis spot with an incredible performance against Russia. Italy remains only the classification games despite a straight victory over Hungary to kick the hosts out of the tournament, while Germany finished the pool phase in fourth place with a solid win against Belarus.
The semis will be held on Saturday with Belgium versus Russia (20:00 CEST) and a Turkish team that will play against Serbia earlier in the afternoon at 17:30. All matches will be streamed live and for free on LAOLA1.TV!
Russia vs. Serbia 1-3 (26-24, 21-25, 16-25, 23-25)
At the beginning of the match, there was a feeling that Serbia really wanted to win because Russia had already secured their place in Nitra. Serbia tried to dominate and led for a short time, but Russia always caught them. Serbia had set ball, but Russia scored three points in a row and turned the result to produce a score of 26-24.
The second set's script was similar to the first. Serbia led and Russia always came back. However, this time the ending was different. Serbia had three set balls, and they took the first with a block out at 25-21.
Russia played to a much higher level in the third set. They dominated, but after a turning point midway through the set, Serbia went on to comfortably win 25-16.
In the fourth set, it looked as though Russia had woken up, and they led confidently until the middle. However, they soon took a downward turn again so Serbia closed up and finished things off. They had two match points, and they hit the second with Ana Jaksic's spike to take it 25-23. With this win, Serbia qualified for the semi-finals.
Marijana Boricic, Serbia coach: “It was a special match because with this victory, we go to Nitra. After the first set, Russia showed how strong they are. It was very difficult for us to come back into the match because we had to play three more sets against the best team in this pool. It is important for us, because this is the fourth European Championship for the U19s where we are in the semi-final. Actually, in the last three events we took a medal, twice a silver and once a gold. This is more proof that Serbian Volleyball is very good.”
Angelina Lazarenko, Russia middle blocker: “We knew that we were going to the semi-final and we felt a lack of concentration because of it. We played without emotions today. We have to concentrate in the semi-final.”
Italy vs. Hungary 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-23)
Hungary started the match the better team, so at 4-0 down the Italian coach Luca Cristofani requested his first time-out. Italy equalised quickly, but made four mistakes, and Hungary led by seven points. Trailing 24-21, Hungary stumbled and were unable to cope with Marina Lubian's serves, so Italy surged on and took the set 25-23.
Losing the opening set noticeably hindered Hungary, but fortunately not as much as against Russia on Wednesday, so they could keep some of the tempo against Italy, and led at the first time-out. However, Lubian's service was still good and they ran out 25-22 winners.
Keeping their pride intact, Hungary did not get destroyed in the third set as they led numerous times. After the second technical time-out, Hungary had a four-point advantage, but at 20-20, it was level again. Finally, Italy had two match balls, and they took the second to win 25-23.
András Horváth, Hungary coach: “We were in the match in every set, but we did not have enough experience, and we made bad choices. But I am satisfied with my team, especially with Kata Török and Anett Németh's play.”
Belarus vs. Germany 0-3 (21-25, 17-25, 18-25)
Germany and Belarus met in the knowledge that a Belarus win in three or four sets would take them to Nitra over Germany, who occupied fourth spot in the pool. Germany dominated, but Belarus tried to get closer to them. Germany had three set balls, and used the first one to take the set 25-21.
The Germans dominated in the second set and secured a ten-point advantage after the second technical time-out. In the end, it was narrowed a little bit, but Germany had eight set balls, and won the set with Gina Köppen's kill at 25-17.
The second set victory confirmed Germany’s passage to Nitra. They took back a bit in the last set, and the result was closer than before, but Germany won 25-18.
Jan Lindenmair, Germany coach: “My team was very focused and they knew they had a chance for the fifth place this weekend. They did what they had to do today. I am satisfied and in this moment, we are happy.”
Hanna Klimets, player of Belarus: “We had a very young team in this tournament and seven players were born in 2000. We tested ourselves, we were able to play and every match was a good experience. Now everybody will go to their club teams and continue to work.”
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