Dutch ladies finish league round with straight win over Israel
2012 CEV Volleyball European League - Women
Orestiada, Greece, June 23, 2012. The Netherlands opened the last day of preliminary action in Pool C of the 2012 CEV Volleyball European League – Women by edging Israel in three straight sets (25-18, 25-18, and 25-19).
The score stayed initially very close in the opening set (4:4, 7:7, 8:8) before the Netherlands clipped a 6:0 break to quickly move the count up to 14:8. Galit Devash responded back for Israel (14:12) and Dutch head coach Gido Vermeulen decided to take a time-out. Tatiana Artmenko and Elvira Kolnogorov kept Israel on a good track until the score stood at 18:14 for their opponents but the Netherlands changed gear once again to finish it off with a comfortable 25-18.
The Netherlands opened with a massive 8:2 in set 2 by pushing a lot with their service and that margin of six was maintained by the time the second technical time-out was called (16:10). Lonneke Sloetjes and Debby Stam-Pilon anchored the orange side to a second 25-18 while Israel was not very much helped by Artmenko at that stage of the match.
Israel went up 5:4 in set 3 on a block by Devash but the Netherlands re-asserted their supremacy by claiming a 16:7 lead that somehow finished the match well before the end of that set. The Dutch girls stretched their lead to 20:12 and by scoring three points in a row completed their run at 25-19 to leave Greece with two wins and one loss to the Czech Republic on Thursday.
“I am happy with this round of play and with the three points we claimed today but we are already looking forward to the final four” commented Dutch head coach Gido Vermeulen. “We hope to have a good draw for the semis and to possibly win the European League to qualify to the next edition of the FIVB World Grand Prix”.
“On a scale from 1 to 10, the Netherlands stand at 8 and we stand at 5, so we cannot go for any miracle if you play such a strong side. My son used to be their head coach and he did a good job with this group of players that were standing today on the other side of the net. They have much experience, which is something we still lack, but still we are happy with our performance in this edition of the European League” said Israeli mentor Arie Selinger.
In a great atmosphere with more than 700 fans in attendance, the Czech Republic claimed its last match of the prelims by edging the home heroines of Greece in straight sets (25-17, 25-17, and 25-20). The guests opened strongly setting the pace of the game right from the start (7:5, 9:6, 15:10) but Greece could claw back to -2 (15:13). However, it did not take that long for the Czechs to re-assert their supremacy as Aneta Havlickova contributed some aces to move the count up to 23:13 and even a 4-0 break in favor of Greece could not avoid the 25-17 for the leaders of the Pool.
Local head coach Dimitris Floros changed his starting six in the second set with Chantava, Merteki, Papafotiou and Tzanakaki joining the game. This move resulted into a very tight score at least in the early phases with Greece going up twice by two points (10:8, 12:10) via the valuable help of Aikaterina Giota. Even though Czech major star Aneta Havlickova was not playing that well, still the guests could draw level at 13; Greece was still up by the second technical time-out (16:15) but afterwards suffered a kind of blackout, paving the way with gold for the Czechs who cashed the provisional 2:0 with a second 25-17.
Greece’s head coach changed his plans again in set 3 with Christodoulou and Lamprousi added to the starting six, but as his side was trailing 6:11, Floros called the girls to his side and he started yelling being totally unhappy with the many mistakes that were compromising the score. However, he could not stop the Czech train and with Greece reducing only once the gap to 2 points, the final 25-20 and 3:0 was quickly there for the guests.
“The result is more or less what we had expected” said Floros. “I have used this match to test out some players who did not have much playing time in the past weeks and they responded as I had wished. This campaign in the European League was a great opportunity for our players to confront themselves with some of the strongest sides out there and get valuable experience for the next major events. We will also take our lesson from these matches, work hard and get ready for more positive results in the future”.
“After our poor performance last week in Israel, our minimum goal here in Orestiada was to forget that awful round. We got back on track and we feel ready for the final four. We all know that Serbia is the absolute pre-favorite but if we make it to the final, we can count on our fans to try to cause a real sensation there in Karlovy Vary” said Czech mentor Carlo Parisi.
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