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01/10/2017 23:35
Serbia and Romania seize gold medals at BVA zonal event in Bursa
News from the Zonal Associations

Bursa, Turkey, October 1, 2017. Teams from Serbia and Romania claimed the top honours from the zonal Beach Volleyball event hosted this weekend in Bursa by the Turkish Volleyball Federation and Balkan Volleyball Association (BVA).

The programme of the last competition day started with the men’s semi-finals – with Turkey’s top team Murat Giginoglu/Hasan Hüseyin Mermer cruising to a comfortable 21-12, 21-13 victory over Greece’s Georgios Kotsilianos and Vasileios Kostopoulos. “We are a step closer to achieving our goal, which is to win this tournament, but the real competition is just beginning for us,” Murat Giginoglu commented. “We want to provide our fans with something to cheer about by finishing first in this tournament.”

Serbia’s Lazar Kolaric and Djordje Klasnic dispatched Jan Dumek and Vaclav Bercik of the Czech Republic in two sets as well in the other semi-final (21-16, 21-16). “It always feels great to make it to the final,” Kolaric commented. “The atmosphere will be great especially since we will be playing the home team for gold. We have watched our opponents and we know they are great players individually but we never played them as a team. We look forward to meeting them in the final.”

In the bronze medal match, Dumek/Bercik opened their quest for the podium with a 21-14 win in the first set and claimed an 11-5 lead in the second. However, as soon as heavy rain started pouring down, Kotsilianos/Kostopoulos fought back to take a 21-17 victory but the Czechs adjusted to the challenging weather conditions to take the tiebreaker 15-8. “It feels great to make it to the podium,” Dumek said. “We accomplished our goal here and are proud of what we did. We lost to Greece earlier in the tournament and they sent us to the losers’ bracket, so we wanted to take our revenge – we played a close semi-final but lost to Serbia, so we knew we had to give 150%. I had some problems to adjust to the rainy conditions but my partner did an excellent job, thus keeping us in the game. I want to thank the Turkish Volleyball Federation for organising this tournament. I look forward to coming back in future for another competition.”

Giginoglu/Mermer could not keep the pace of Kolaric/Klasnic in the first set of the gold medal match, which the team from Serbia won 21-14. The second set was a must-see one – with Turkey taking extra motivation from the support provided by the fans. The score was close up to 19-all, but Kolaric/Klasnic won the next two points to secure a 2-0 win. “It feels great to win gold. We have been working really hard for this and it has paid off,” Kolaric commented. “The weather was on our side since we often train under such conditions back home in Serbia. I loved the crowd and playing in such an ambiance – even though they were rooting for the home team. I want to thank the Turkish Federation for organising such a good tournament and making us feel welcome here.”

In the women’s semis, Greece’s Panagiota Karagkouni and Konstantina Tsopoulou easily beat home favourites Aleyna Vence and Bugra Eryildiz 21-12, 21-16. “We are happy and satisfied. Our goal coming to this tournament was to make it to the final and now we have set a new goal. We won gold in Albania two weeks ago and we want to do the same here in Turkey as well,” said Tsopoulou. “We are of course proud to be able to take Greece to the podium.”

The second semi was a lot more dramatic with top-seeded Adriana-Maria Matei and Beata Vaida of Romania losing the first set 19-21 to Serbia’s Milena Matic and Marija Milosevic. The silver medallists from this year’s U22 European Championship responded by taking the second 21-19 and eventually emerged victorious at the tiebreak (15-13). “I can’t express my feelings. We won and we did so coming from behind, so it feels even better,” Matei said. “In the second set, we took a lot more risks with our serve since we had nothing to lose anymore and my partner managed to do so. We enjoy playing together and this is probably our biggest asset.”

Matic/Milosevic regrouped to win the bronze medal game with Vence/Eryildiz 21-13, 21-14. “We are satisfied and happy that we could win a medal,” Matic said. “Our goal was to finish first but we made too many mistakes in the semi-final and the Romanians took advantage of that. We are happy that with this result Serbia will take a medal from the women’s as well as from the men’s competition in this tournament. We would like to thank our coach as well as the Volleyball Federation of Serbia for all their support and help. Of course, many thanks to the Turkish Federation as well for providing such a great experience overall here in Bursa.”

Matei/Vaida came from behind also in the gold medal match with Karagkouni/Tsopoulou to seal a 2-1 victory (16-21, 25-23, 15-12). “Even though we lost the first set, I knew we would win. I do not know why I felt so confident but we started a great comeback and we felt the crowd behind us,” Vaida said. “Since we are not from Turkey, this means they like the way we play and the crowd was an extra player on the court for us.”

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