Oranjes, Belgium, Turkey through to 2nd round of U20 World Champs qualifiers
2017 FIVB U20 Women Volleyball World Championship - European Qualification
Luxembourg, January 7, 2017. On the third day of action since the first-round European qualifiers to this year’s FIVB Women’s U20 Volleyball World Championship got underway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Turkey secured their progression to the next round of qualifications scheduled for May 2017. The Netherlands completed a clean sweep of their matches in Pool C where they did not drop a set whereas Belgium beat Poland 3-1 to make sure they will finish first in Pool D. As for Turkey, they claimed the top spot in Pool B after routing Bulgaria in the only match contested in Ankara following Austria’s and Finland’s withdrawal from the competition.
The first placed teams of each pool plus the three second-placed teams with the best score will progress to the second stage of the qualification process. Since one of the first-round pools – Pool D – consists of three teams only, the second best placed teams will be determined after discarding the results of the matches with the team finishing last in each one of the pools of four.
Pool A in Riga (LAT)
Germany vs. Denmark 3-0 (25-14, 25-8, 25-18)
Germany claimed their second straight-sets victory in Riga by dismantling Denmark after they had done the same with Croatia on Friday. Aisha Skinner top scored for the Germans with 15 points as Amalie Langbjerg Lachenmeier and Helena Elbæk recorded six apiece for Denmark.
Croatia vs. Latvia 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-17)
Croatia regrouped following their heavy loss to Germany on Friday to rout hosts Latvia in three sets. Lea Cvetnic top scored for the visitors with 24 points, with another 17 added to the Croatian haul by Katarina Luketic. As for Latvia, Elza Smilskalne scored 10 times while Diana Cerniseva and Ivaise Zake contributed with eight apiece. Though the three sets, and especially the first and second, were fairly close, Croatia were the stronger team and fully deserved their victory.
Andrejs Odinokovs, Latvia coach: “I am disappointed with my team’s performance and I have to admit that my players should have showed more discipline. However, I am happy with the game played by some of them, such as Smilskalne and Cerniseva. Tomorrow we have a tough match against the strongest team in the pool, Germany, and we will try not to make any easy mistakes.”
Pool B in Ankara (TUR)
Bulgaria vs. Turkey 0-3 (13-25, 20-25, 14-25)
In the only match on schedule for Pool B following Austria’s and Finland’s withdrawals, Turkey beat Bulgaria in three sets on a snowy and cold day in Ankara. Actually the hosts caught a shaky start to the match but with the help of the local fans they found their rhythm after the first technical time-out of the opening set and with the blocks and spiked killed by Yasemin Güveli, Turkey rallied to a compelling 25-13 win. Turkey looked a lot more focussed and confident in the second and third sets – Bulgaria on the other hand made many mistakes and this resulted in comfortable 25-20 and 25-14 wins for Turkey, with the hosts taking first place in the pool.
Dimo Tonev, Bulgaria coach: “We tried our best but Turkey wanted to win more than we did. We really made many easy mistakes. It’s always tough to play away games. With this result we finish second in the pool and if there are no major surprises in the other groups, we’ll be among the best runners-up progressing to the next round. I hope that my team will be showing more passion and quality in the next round of European qualifications.”
Kathryn Dimitrova, player of Bulgaria: “We tried our best but we made many easy mistakes, especially in defence. However, I think we can improve and fix these mistakes in future. We will work even harder and play some good matches in the second round.”
Suphi Doganci, Turkey coach: “I congratulate my players and the staff on this victory. Bulgaria have a good and promising team. They really put us under pressure, especially in the first set. However, we played with courage and won the game in the end. It was important to finish in first place in the pool and now we will start thinking about the next round of qualifications where we will be trying to do our best to make it to the World Championship.”
Yasemin Güveli, player of Turkey: “It was not an easy match for us. In the first set Bulgaria forced us to make some mistakes. However, we regrouped and won the match. Now we will all focus on the second round; there will be tough matches there but I am sure that we will be doing our best.”
Pool C in Ploiesti (ROU)
Estonia vs. France 3-1 (25-17, 25-20, 16-25, 25-19)
Estonia beat France 3-1 on the last competition day in Ploiesti to secure their first victory in the tournament and finish the competition in third place. Kertu Laak and Silvia Pertens set the pace for Estonia in the first set (8-4) and even with the help of Schérine Dahoué, France could not pose a threat as the young players from the Baltic state cruised to a compelling 25-17 win. Estonia continued to play with the same intensity in set 2 (8-5, 16-14) where the audience enjoyed some long rallies. France tried to change the course of the game with the help of Clara Martin, but Laak was just unstoppable and helped Estonia double their lead in the match (25-20). France were able to break Estonia’s rhythm in set 3 with Martin and Bruna Pezelj paving the way towards a 25-16 win. However, Laak resumed her outstanding performance in set 4 where she literally crashed France’s defence to make it 25-19 and contribute to Estonia’s first victory in Ploiesti.
The Netherlands vs. Romania 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 27-25)
The Netherlands completed a clean sweep of their matches in Ploiesti – and they did not drop a single set along the way sweeping Estonia, France and Romania aside, always in three sets.
Romania caught a promising start to the match leading by 8-6 at the first technical time-out of the first set before the Netherlands slowly but surely improved the quality of their performance to cruise to a 25-22 win. Romania could not find a way to respond and the Oranjes easily won the second set 25-16. With the support of the home crowd from Ploiesti, Romania played with a lot of courage in set 3 (8-7, 16-15) but in the end the Netherlands asserted their supremacy to complete a clean sweep of their matches on Romanian soil.
Pool D in Viana do Castelo (POR)
Poland vs. Belgium 1-3 (7-25, 20-25, 25-19, 21-25)
Belgium came out with all guns blazing serving strong to put Poland under pressure – especially their setter – and on top of this the young Yellow Tigers showed a very solid defence and effective attacks. In only 15 minutes they claimed a massive 20-6 lead and it took only a little while until they secured a landslide 25-7 set win. Poland stepped up their efforts in the second set but Britt Herbots started ‘bombing’ the rivals with her impressive pipe attacks, and with her help Belgium rallied to a 25-20 victory. The Yellow Tigers came back from 12-18 in set 3 by scoring six straight points but Poland eventually closed that period in their favour at 25-19. Belgium, however, controlled the match almost from start to end in the fourth set, securing a 25-21 win and 3-1 victory, and with it also their progression to the second round of European qualifications to this year’s World Championship. Herbots top scored in the match with 21 points as Aleksandra Rasinska and Natalia Murek scored 13 apiece for Poland.
Charlotte Coppin, player of Belgium: “We are very happy. Poland have a good team and we had to play really good to beat them and secure our qualification to the next round.”
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