Maribor, Slovenia, July 6, 2014. Slovenia managed to take partial revenge for yesterday’s loss to Azerbaijan at home, overpowering the opponent in the second match between them of the penultimate weekend in Pool A of the 2014 CEV Volleyball European League - Women. The Slovenes pleased the home crowd in Maribor by coming back from two sets down to win by 3:2 (19-25, 23-25, 25-20, 30-28, 15-7) and surpass Bulgaria for the second place in the current standings.
Azerbaijan could not hold on to a 3-point advantage it gained at the beginning of the first set and Slovenia was able to pile up a 14-9 lead. But the home side also could not hold on to it. After 18-17, the Azeris scored seven points in a row to reach set point and two rallies later they were up 1:0 after 25-19. The second set was very competitive with the score going back and forth until it was level at 23-23. Unforced errors by the Slovenes cost them the set as Azerbaijan closed it off at 25-23. In set three the home heroines took control with great serving and blocking. Nika Blagne’s injury at 19-16 did not stop them and they cruised on to win the set by 25-20. Azerbaijan scored 5 in a row to take a 10-5 lead in the fourth set. The visitors spiked very well to extend their lead to 19-12, but at 22-22 the score was leveled. The set went well into overtime before Slovenia finally converted its fifth set point to win by 30-28. The tie-breaker started better for the home side, which shot up to a 4-point advantage at the side switch and did not lose rhythm through finishing it all off at 15-7.
Polina Rahimova piled up 29 points for Azerbaijan to become the best scorer of the game. Iza Mlakar contributed 23 to Slovenia’s tally.
Aleksandr Chervyakov, head coach of Azerbaijan: “The girls believed in their victory too soon and stopped playing. This is the main reason for our loss. The Slovenian team had stronger wish to play and to win and that is why they won in the end.”
Bruno Najdic, head coach of Slovenia: “It was a similar match to yesterday’s. It was obvious that the girls were very tired. That is why a lot of mistakes appeared. But we cannot blame the girls, because they have been together for 70 days already and the way how they still find the energy is really fantastic. When we started to believe in the turnaround we succeeded with good serving, attacking and receiving. This victory is a big success for the girls.”
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