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07/07/2015 14:22
Estonia open European League comeback playing 2014 bronze medallists
2015 CEV Volleyball European League - Men

Pärnu, Estonia, July 7, 2015. After a nine-year absence the Estonian men’s national team is about to celebrate its comeback in the CEV Volleyball European League. The Baltic country will open their campaign against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, whose team they will host in the Estonia’s summer capital Pärnu this coming Friday and Saturday.

The Estonian national team has had a busy spring and summer. The team’s build up started already at the end of April. In May, before the victorious matches against Sweden and qualifying for the Final Round of the CEV Volleyball European Championship, Estonia played three away games with the Netherlands, winning two of them, and defeated Switzerland twice.

Again the team gathered in the middle of June. Before the European League debut in Pärnu there were also two friendly matches against the Latvian team that is now playing at the Summer Universiade in Gwangju, Korea with both ending victoriously for Estonia. And now it is time to play in the European League.

“The Former Y. R. of Macedonia is a tough opponent. They play at a good level and most of their players participated in top championships last season,” Estonia’s mentor Gheorghe Cretu says about his side’s first opponent in Pool A.

These two teams have never met before, however the match marks a special clash starring two players that last year performed together – also on the international stage – for France’s standout PARIS Volley. The Former Y. R. of Macedonia team’s opposite and leader Nikola Gjorgiev and Estonia’s middle blocker Ardo Kreek played together in the 2015 edition of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League and claimed silver in France’s national league after losing the ‘big final’ to arch-rivals TOURS VB.

Gjorgiev netted 742 points (for an average of 5.75 per set) and was awarded as the Most Valuable Player at the end of the regular season in the Ligue A. Kreek, on the other hand, hit 53 aces (0.41 per set) to finish as the second best server of the competition, with Gjorgiev following in fourth place after recording 48 aces throughout the season. Kreek was also the fifth-best blocker of the French national league with as many as 84 block stuffs, thereby accounting for an average of 0.65 per set.

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