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14/06/2013 22:50
Croatia and Turkey celebrate good start in Pool C
2013 CEV Volleyball European League - Men

Rovinj, Croatia, June 14, 2013. The hosts of Croatia edged Israel in three straight sets (21-10, 21-17, and 21-17) in the first match scheduled for the opening round of play in prelim Pool C of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European League – Men. The last addition to this year’s edition – Croatia replaced Portugal after the latter was admitted to play the FIVB World League – did not have any problems to cruise to that speedy victory as Israel showed many problems in reception and especially in dealing with Croatia’s strong serving. Later in the evening Turkey claimed their first win of the tournament by seeing off Belarus 3:1 (21-19, 21-17, 19-21, and 21-14).
Croatia started out with a 9:3 lead in the first set and Israel could not attempt any comeback with that section of the game ending in a terrific 21-10 for the hosts. Israel stepped up in the second set, especially with good blocks, and even went to the front (12:11) before Croatia flipped the charts around, moved ahead 15:12 and finished it at 21-17. The third set was closely contested especially as the home heroes showed some problems in defense. Israel dictated the pace of the game at 10:8 before Croatia regained control of the match with their blocks and serves (19:13, 21:17).
“The match was quickly over as we needed only 60 minutes to finish it off” says Croatian middle-blocker Matija Sabljak. “Of course it is quicker if you need only 21 points to win a set. However, we still need some time to adjust to this different scoring system. Israel has got a young and inexperienced team so that we did not have any problems to claim this victory. I hope we will celebrate a similar result tomorrow as we play Turkey” he concluded.  

In the other match of the day Turkey edged Belarus 3:1 (21-19, 21-17, 19-21, and 21-14) to continue their positive streak coming out the third and last qualification round of the 2013 CEV Volleyball European Championship. The first set was very one-sided with Turkey dominating the scene paced by Mustafa Koc and Metin Toy. Turkey went up 9:16 and 17:11 but Belarus fought their way back reducing the gap to one point before the guys in red jerseys closed it out at 21-19. The second set followed a similar plot with Turkey setting the pace of the game in the early phases but Belarus almost evened the score (13:12) halfway through. However, after scoring three points in a row, the hosts of this year’s final four could get back control of the game and go for the 2:0 (21-17). The situation changed in set 3 where Belarus served extremely well and after a dramatic final rush (18:18), could bring it home at 19-21. A very close fight unfolded in the fourth set (9:9) before Turkey pulled out a terrific series of blocks and serves to finish it off at 21-14 with Metin Toy registering 25 points in the end.  

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