Bulgaria downs Romania for second straight win at Junior World Champs qualifier
2013 FIVB Volleyball Men's U21 World Championship - European Qualification
Sofia, Bulgaria, May 9, 2013. On Thursday the home heroes of Bulgaria claimed their second win at “Hristo Botev” sports hall in Sofia as they easily edged their neighbours of Romania in straight sets (25-23, 25-19, and 25-16) to continue their quest for the sole ticket available to make it to the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship scheduled for late August in Ankara and Izmir, Turkey. In the other match of the day Germany had a tough debut and needed five long sets before cruising past Israel (25-20, 23-25, 25-5, 25-27, and 15-13).
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Bulgaria caught a weak start and trailed 4:8 in the opening set of their match with Romania as the home side was struggling in defense while the guests attacked with good consistency. Romania was able to keep a margin of four points up to the second technical time-out but Bulgaria ultimately found their way into the game, drawing level at 21 all and showing great determination to bring it home at 25-23 for the provisional 1:0. Once more Bulgaria showed some problems in reception in the early phases of the second set so that Romania could set the pace of the game (8:7); however, as the game resumed after the technical time-out, Bulgaria scored three consecutive points and after that the home guys started showing their skills and real potential. Romania’s game, on the other hand, was sidelined by many mistakes and Bulgaria could cruise to the provisional 2:0 (25-19) by combining a solid defense with strong attacks. Bulgaria caught a promising start in set 3 but some errors helped Romania keep the score relatively close. The local heroes got a margin of two by the first mandatory break and after some more mistakes, Bulgaria found back their best play to claim a 4-point lead (16:12). As Bulgaria did not stop scoring, Romania’s defense looked shaky and hence the home side could pocket their second win of the tournament in three straight sets (25-16). Rozalin Penchev and Dimitar Marinkov top scored in the end for Bulgaria with 16 points each while Ionut Miron paced Romania.
The first match of the day starred Germany – debuting in the tournament – and Israel. The start was very close with Germany going up 8:6 and 16:14 at the first and second technical time-out of the opening set. Germany made some mistakes, especially from the serving line, helping Israel keep the score close. However, the Israelis did not really exploit such opportunity as their mistakes in reception and blocking made it impossible to catch up in the score. Their head coach, Jacob Herchko, stopped the game as his side was trailing 17:19 but this did not help with Germany that cashed the provisional 1:0 at 25-20.
With Germany struggling in reception, Israel got an early lead in the second set also by showing different combinations in attack that somehow surprised Germany’s defense system. Though the guys from Germany played with glowing hearts, they were not able to turn the score around and still trailed by two points at the second technical time-out. Friederich Nagel showed some great actions for Germany but still Israel could go for the provisional 1:1 (25.23).
Things changed completely in the third set where Germany stormed out to an 8:2 lead with some phenomenal serving by Yannick Harms “destroying” Israel’s defense line. Harms continue to stand behind the serving line up to the moment Germany claimed their nineteenth point in the set which was eventually cashed with the terrific score of 25-5.
After such disastrous showing, Israel was nevertheless able to fight back in set 4 going up by as many as five points before Germany leveled the score at 11. A real fight unfolded after the second technical time-out with both teams displaying their best weapons, with good blocks, precise spikes and strong serving. Though Germany looked in a good position to finish it off, Israel was able to even the score at 25 all and eventually called for the tie-break after scoring the next couple of rallies (27-25).
Germany got off to a flying start in the tie-break going up by four points but Israel did not surrender and almost restored the balance. However, Germany did not dissipate any other opportunity to win their first game in Sofia and sealed the deal at 15-13 for a 3:2 win.