Cyprus claims women’s gold at the Games, male compatriots also stay unbeaten
Luxembourg, June 1, 2013. Cyprus won gold at the women’s volleyball tournament of the 15th edition of the Games of the Small States of Europe in Luxembourg. In the de facto final of the competition the team of head coach Emmanouil Roumeliotis shut out Luxembourg to finish on top of the rankings, as San Marino claimed the bronze after a 3:1 victory over Iceland. Cyprus also remained unbeaten in the men’s tournament after scoring a third victory – straight sets against Monaco, while San Marino was successful in its last match of the competition – 3:1 against Iceland.
As both Cyprus and Luxembourg had not lost any games in the women’s tournament this far, what was at stake in last match of the competition between the two teams was the championship title. To the disappointment of the 1200 spectators on the stands, the home girls could not win a single set against their strong opponent and lost 0:3 (23-25, 19-25, 22-25). In both the first and the second sets Luxembourg was able to take an early lead, but then committed some mistakes that allowed Cyprus to turn things around for 25-23 and 25-19. The islanders stormed into the third set to break away to 8-1 and 16-8 at the two technical time-outs. Luxembourg had no other choice, but to take more risk at serving in an attempt to catch up. It paid off, as the team of head coach Detlev Schönberg hit 5 aces to narrow the gap substantially, but it was too late for a turnaround. Cyprus took the set by 25-22 and rejoiced with the gold. Maryna Lavruk with 18 points for the winning team and Isabelle Frisch with 16 points for Luxembourg were the best scorers of the match.
Earlier, San Marino and Iceland had to face each other in a quest for a first victory in the competition and also for the bronze. The Sammarinese allowed their opponents to cash in on their great blocking efforts in the third set, but completely dominated the other three parts of the game to win the match by 3:1 (25-18, 25-14, 22-25, 25-15). San Marino’s Samanta Giardi topped the scorers’ chart with 20 points, followed closely behind by Iceland’s Gudlaug Jona Vigfusdottir with 19.
1. Cyprus (9 points)
2. Luxembourg (5 points)
3. San Marino (4 points)
4. Iceland (0 points)
On the men’s side Friday was the penultimate day of the competition. Cyprus stayed on the winning path as it shut out Monaco by 3:0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-17). The team from the tiny principality started the match well and piled up a 4-point lead by the first technical time-out, but by the second one Cyprus had already taken control and never looked back on the way to the straight-set victory. Dragan Pezelj tallied 13 points for Monaco and became the top scorer of the match. Achilleas Petrakidis was the most prolific of Cyprus’s players with 12 points.
As San Marino’s guys have a day off on Saturday, their Friday’s game against Iceland was the last one for the team in the competition. And they made sure they win it in order to preserve some medal chances. Although Iceland did not fall far behind in any of the three parts of the match, it was a straight-set affair – 3:0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-23).
The two matches of the last competition day scheduled for Saturday afternoon will give all the answers. First, Monaco will take on Iceland in an attempt to surpass San Marino for the third place. Then Luxembourg will need to win the three points against Cyprus to claim the top spot in the final ranking. Otherwise, it will be double triumph for the Cypriots.
For further information about the Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE) see www.flvb.lu and www.luxembourg2013.lu.