Montenegro’s women continue triumphal march at GSSE
2015 Games of the Small States of Europe
Reykjavik, Iceland, June 5, 2015. The winning streak of Iceland women’s national team at the 2015 Games of the Small States of Europe (GSSE) was stopped on Thursday by pre-favourite Montenegro whilst the teams from Luxembourg had a couple of wins to celebrate on the third day of Volleyball competition in Iceland’s capital.
The intensive programme got started with Luxembourg playing Liechtenstein in a remake of the match that these teams played only some weeks ago in the Final Round of the CEV Small Countries Division’s European Championship. Luxembourg started out by winning the first set (25-19) and set the pace at the beginning of each stanza. The players from the Grand Duchy, however, lost a close second one (24-26) before they regrouped and won set 3 by 25-23. Liechtenstein called for the tie-break after having the upper hand in the fourth one (25-23). The final set was a close and dramatic act, with Luxembourg leading by the narrowest margin as teams switched sides of the court (8:7). The score remained tight all the way through 13 all before Luxembourg scored two in a row to bring the match to an end (15-13). Annalena Mach paced once more the team from the Grand Duchy with 18 points whilst Bianca van der Helm recorded a terrific tally of 35 points for Liechtenstein.
In the other match on schedule on Thursday for the women’s competition, Montenegro added another victory to their maiden appearance at the GSSE. Iceland could stand their pace only in the early stages of the first set where the hosts called for the first technical time-out leading by 8:7. That was the only time they would be at the front for the remainder of the match with Montenegro easily and speedily sweeping three consecutive sets (25-13, 25-13, 25-18) to cement their credentials to claim gold. The team captain of Iceland, Jóna Guðlaug Vigfúsdóttir, scored eight points for the home side while Tatjana Bokan paced Montenegro on 19 as her spikes turned into something impossible to stand for the Icelandic block and receivers.
After their dramatic victory over Iceland the day before, Luxembourg’s men celebrated their second hurrah in Reykjavik, this time edging San Marino by 3:1 (25-23, 18-25, 25-14, 25-12). San Marino came out with all guns blazing leading by 9:3 in the first set and following a slow start Luxembourg finally ‘woke up’ and cruised to the final 25-23 after an exciting final run. San Marino responded by leading from start to end in the second set (25-18) but after that everything went just easy for Luxembourg that claimed set 3 and 4 by comfortable 25-14 and 25-12 scores. Kamil Rychlicki was once again Luxembourg’s most prolific player with 15 points while Joshua Kessler chipped in with 18 for San Marino.
In the last match of the day Monaco swept aside hosts Iceland (25-22, 25-16, 25-22) to claim their first victory in the competition. Still Iceland got to the front in the first set (18:13) as they performed overall very well. However, at some point something got wrong for the home side, they could no longer position their block correctly and Monaco won the first set by 25-22. The second set was a close affair up to halfway but after that Monaco broke away and easily brought this stanza to an end at 25-16. Iceland’s performance got even worse in the third set where Monaco claimed a 17:10 lead. The hosts got a little boost towards the end but it was a way too late to start any comeback. Monaco brought the set to an end at 25-22, thereby celebrating their first victory in the tournament. Adrien Gueru top scored for Monaco with 12 points whilst Kjartan Fannar Grétarsson recorded 10 for Iceland.
Pictures courtesy by Ólöf Sigurðar
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For further information visit also the official website www.iceland2015.is/english