Poland, Italy, the Czech Republic set the pace in Pool I in Bar
2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Girls
Bar, Montenegro, March 30, 2013. Poland, Italy as well as the Czech Republic set the pace on the first competition day of Pool I in Bar, Montenegro. Nevertheless, Slovenia and Greece showed their big potential for an eventual spot in the final eight. 2’000 cheering fans supported the home squad from Montenegro.
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Italy vs. Greece 3:1 (25-21, 25-19, 25-22)
2011 runner-up Italy claimed a hard-earned straight-set win versus Greece. Even though the final score looks rather severe, the young Greeks played a strong match against one of the main favorites of the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls. Italian star Anastasia Guerra scored 19 points for Italy whilst on Greece’s side captain Olga Strantzali booked 14 kills for her side.
Italy led 16-13 at the second technical break of the first set, before the team of Greek head coach Dimitrios Floros recorded six points in a row to turn the tables. Nevertheless, the “squadra azzurra” was already experienced enough to stay tranquil in such challenging situation. After 24 minutes, Guerra and her teammates ended the set 25-21 in Italy’s favor.
Greece didn’t let loose in the second set. The young Greek talents even led 13-8, but couldn’t conclude. Things didn’t change essentially in the third period with Italy displaying powerful attacks and a very strong block-defense organization. A service mistake of captain Strantzali crashed the Greek dreams for a possible comeback.
Greece coach Dimitrios Floros: “Italy is a very strong team. They won because they played better than we did. We were close sometimes, but committed too many mistakes in crucial situations.”
Poland vs. Slovenia 3:2 (25-19, 12-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-12)
Greece captain Olga Strantzali: “Even though we lost, we played very well. The main problem was our reception, but we hope we will improve it for the next match. The next match we’ll play with Montenegro. In a match that was last summer we won Montenegro, and we hope it will happen again.”
Italy coach Luca Pieragnoli: “We are very happy because it is always very hard to play the first match of a tournament, especially if it is the European Championship.”
Italy captain Ofelia Malinov: “Since this was our first match in the tournament, we were afraid we would not show what we know. At the beginning we were maybe a little bit confused but during the match everything worked well.”
In today’s opening match in Bar, Poland overpowered Slovenia in five sets. Although the Slovenians won the second and third set, they couldn’t pull through. Both teams delighted the fans with energetic, combative volleyball. Best scorer of the match was Poland’s opposite Malwina Smarzek with 25 points, whilst Slovenia’s most powerful spiker Nika Markovic booked 24 kills.
Poland kick started into the first match of their 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls campaign. At the first technical break, Grzegorz Kosatka’s young squad already led 8-3. It seemed as the tall Polish ladies had more power at the net. Even though Slovenian setter and captain Eva Mori sped up her offensive game, Poland never looked back in the first set.
With an efficacy of 11% in attack and 20% in passing in the first set, the young Slovenians quickly needed new impulses at the start of the second period. Indeed, Joze Casar’s ladies took more risk with vigorous serves. On the other side, Poland struggled with imprecise passing and some misunderstanding at the net. As a consequence, Slovenia won the second and third set quite easily 25-12 and 25-22.
However, it was not good enough. The young Polish talents kept cool in the fourth and fifth set. After 124 minutes of intense play, Magdalena Damaske blocked for a hard-fought Polish win.
Poland head coach Grzegorz Kosatka: “Since it was the first game of the tournament I am more than happy and satisfied with what my girls have shown. What to say except: we won!”
The Czech Republic vs. Montenegro 3:1 (25-17, 15-25, 25-13, 27-25)
Poland captain Paulina Baldyga: “I am personally more than happy and satisfied with the match and with our game. The emotions are intense – I could cry from happiness.”
Slovenia head coach Joze Casar: “Our chances were 50 to 50. The result is not that bad for us.”
Slovenia captain Eva Mori: “It was quite hard to play against such tall blockers. We were bad in reception. Finally some details decided about the winner.”
Finally, the Czech Republic defeated host Montenegro in front of 2’000 cheering fans 3:1. Compared to today’s first two matches, it was not the same level of play. Although both teams showed some great rallies, they undeniably committed too many errors. Especially in passing, both squads had many ups and downs. Best scorer of the match was Czech Michaela Mlejnkova with 20 points. Montenegrin Iva Mandic booked 15 units for the home squad.
The young Czechs experienced the better start into the match, whilst host Montenegro needed some time to adapt to such impressive scenery. However, in the second set Marko Radusinovic’s ladies put much more pressure on the Czech passers. It helped as the quality of the Czech service reception fell significantly. As a consequence, the Montenegrin ladies leveled the match after the second set.
Nevertheless, their game was not stable enough. In the third and fourth period, the Czechs regained momentum and never looked back. Lucie Nova ended the match in Czech Republic’s favor with a well-timed spike through the middle.
Montenegro head coach Marko Radusinovic: “We needed too long to lose our nervousness. The longer we played, the better we found our rhythm. I’m sure we can show much more.”
The Preliminary Phase of the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls is split into two pools of six teams with the top two from each pool advancing to the semifinals. Pool I comprises host Montenegro, Italy, Slovenia, Greece, the Czech Republic as well as Poland. Pool II sees the local heroines from Serbia defending their reputations versus Russia, Germany, France, Turkey and the Netherlands.
The Czech Republic head coach Leos Chalupa: “Tonight we’re just happy to leave the court as winners.”
The final ranking of the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls will determine the six teams representing Europe at this year’s FIVB Girls' Youth World Championship coming up later this summer in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, as well as the eight nations taking part at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht (NED).
The matches of preliminary Pool I as well as all semi-final and final matches are available live and for free at www.laola1.tv. On the other hand, all matches of Pool II are streamed on the official website of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia and namely under the following URL: http://eng.ossrb.org.
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