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15/09/2016 22:01
Ukrainian women hope to emulate countrymen by surprising Italy on home soil
2017 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women

Yuzhny, Ukraine, September 15, 2016. Yuzhny, a little seaside city on the Black Sea, will be hosting this weekend a European Championship qualifier for the second time in history. Back in 2012 the national team of Ukraine played the Netherlands, Greece and Denmark. The tournament in Yuzhny will open the 2016/2017 Volleyball season in Ukraine and as a result it is drawing much attention from fans and media alike.

The Ukrainian national team started their preparations for this home qualifier on August 23. Head coach Gariy Yegiazarov gathered 19 players who have been playing in the Ukrainian national league as well as abroad – more specifically in France, Turkey and Poland. The preparation camp was held at FSK Olimp, the same venue where the European qualifier will be contested this weekend. The hosts played three friendly matches against six-time Ukrainian national champions Khimik YUZHNY, recording two wins and one loss.

“We planned to play friendly matches with Azerbaijan but they eventually declined our invitation a few days before the start of our preparation. I think international matches have more atmosphere,” said the Ukrainian coach, “although the last game against Khimik was quite meaningful.”

Seven out 12 players on the roster of Ukraine are playing abroad and as a result they have returned to Yuzhny with much pleasure. “To compete with the national team here in Yuzhny where I spent four years is very special for me. I am sure that the local fans will be glad to see us and we will try to show our best game,” said the captain of the Ukrainian team, Nadiia Kodola who currently plays in France for RC CANNES. “We want to take three wins from this home round and we can achieve this feat also when playing Italy. Our U20 men’s national team just did it at their European Championship in Bulgaria, so this is a good example to look up to,” she added.

“We hope for the support of our fans because we will play very important games,” said Olena Novgorodchenko who currently plays for Wisla WARSZAWA in Poland. “A victory over Italy would be just special for us.”

“I am sure that we can put up a fight against Italy. We must believe in it and then we can win this game too,” coach Yegiazarov concluded.

The last time Ukraine played in the Final Round of the European Championship was in 2011.

Click here for more info including a detailed match programme

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