Raanana, Israel, June 17, 2012. On day 3 in Raanana the Netherlands improved their record in Pool C of the 2012 CEV Volleyball European League – Women by adding another straight-set victory to it – 3:0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-22) against hosts Israel. Final Four organizer Czech Republic achieved its first win of the weekend by downing Greece 3:1 (25-17, 16-25, 25-18, 25-18).
The teams that lost yesterday met today to take advantage of the last opportunity to put three points in the pocket before heading back home. The Czech team started very strong to take the lead 6-3. The first technical time-out came and this break gave the Greeks the chance to come back into the game. But it did not help this time - 11-5 to the Czech team. Anther good spike by Tereza Vanzurova gave the 13th point to the her team. At 18-11 the Greeks took anther time-out to try to come back into the game, but it was too late. The Czech team took the first set by 25-17.
The second set started different – 6-2 to the Greek girls, but it did not last long – a 10-10 score put the Czechs back to the game. The set continued neck to neck through 13-13, but the Greeks came defiantly different to take the lead 17-14 with aggressive spikes by Maria Chatzinikolaou. 20-14 prompted Czech head coach Carlo Parisi to take a time-out, but it did not help this time – 23-15 to the Greeks. Good blocking by the girls in blue from Greece led to 25-16.
The third set started with an 8-4 to the Czechs, but the set continued to be very tight. After 16-13 to the Czech team great serving by Andrea Kossanyiova added another point to the lead – 18-14. Good blocking by the Greeks gave them hope for coming back, but it did not work out. The Czechs won the third set 25-14.
A13-13 score gave the impression of a tight fourth set, but great spikes led to 25-18 and gave the set to the Czechs to win the game by 3:1 and go home with one victory from this tournament.
Carlo Parisi, head coach of the Czech Republic, said: “I am not happy at all. We should play much better. I definitely need to look for the way to play much better.“ Dimitrios Floros, head coach of Greece, added: “I am happy with the tournament. We will play better and better in the future. It is a very intensive tournament and we have to get used to that.”
Following the impressive win over the team from the Czech Republic, the Israeli national team was full of expectations for this game against the Netherlands. Although Israel started the game with a 3-0 lead, the Dutch came back and tied the score at 3-3. As the set progressed, the Dutch team had an 8-7 lead playing their well-known lethal offensive game. The Netherlands seemed to have the upper hand as the scoreboard showed a 14-10 lead and the Israeli defense was struggling. On the Israeli side, Tatiana Artmenko had some beautiful spikes leading the Israeli team back to 14-13 in the middle of the set. The Dutch opened a gap once more and started running away to a 18-13 lead. The end of the set was drawing near and the score was 23-18 in favor of the Oranjes. Two points later, the set went their way -25-18.
The second set opened in a balanced manner and Israel had the early 5-4 lead. The Dutch team came back to a 12-8 lead as both teams were displaying an impressive team effort. Later in the set, the scoreboard showed 15-11 in favor of the Dutch team who was playing aggressive volleyball leaving no room for doubt. Although Israel had some exceptional defensive plays, the Dutch team was not impressed and kept their foot on the gas taking a 20-13 lead. The crowd which arrived to watch the game was getting a show this evening as both teams were displaying beautiful volleyball. Late in the set, the scoreboard showed 24-16 in favor of the Dutch and one point later, the set was over - 25-16.
The third set also began in a balanced manner as the score board showed 6-5 in favor of the Dutch team. Later in the set, the Dutch team took A 14-10 lead showing their superiority on the court once more. The Israeli team would not be denied easily and fought for each point as if it was the deciding game point. Artmenko continued playing impressive volleyball and shined with some extraordinary spikes. Israel came back to 15-13, before the Dutch team ran off again to an 18-14 lead. As the end of the set drew near, the score was 24-22 in favor of the Dutch after some beautiful plays on the Israeli side. One point later, it was all over and the Dutch team had won the game in straight sets.
The Dutch head coach Gido Vermeulen stated: "This was a good game for both teams without many mistakes at all. It was a great tournament altogether, and I especially loved the game tonight vs. Israel."
The Israeli coach Arie Selinger added: "This was a very good game. I am proud of the Israeli team for the way they played and never gave up. This was definitely a successful tournament for us and we will continue doing our best in the future."
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