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26/07/2015 20:15
Austria deliver strong performance, but Estonia celebrate sixth straight win
2015 CEV Volleyball European League - Men

Tulln, Austria, July 26, 2015. On Sunday Austria had to admit defeat also in their second matchup with Estonia on schedule for the fourth round of action in Pool A of the 2015 CEV Volleyball European League – Men. After edging the hosts on Saturday by 3:1, this time around Estonia had to fight for five sets (25-23, 22-25, 17-25, 25-22, 15-11) before celebrating their sixth straight victory in the competition to further cement their leadership in Pool A. However, this is also the first time Estonia have dropped one point since the start of their campaign in the 2015 European League. As for Austria, their journey will continue next week when they travel to Skopje for two away matches with the Former Y.R. of Macedonia.

The first set was a close fight in its early stages but after the first technical time-out Estonia pulled ahead and eventually claimed a four-point lead at 20:16. The home heroes of Austria were able to narrow the gap to one point again but they never drew level. After 27 minutes the visitors cashed their second set ball to finish it off at 25-23.

In the second set Austria was off to a very solid start. After claiming an 8:5 lead the hosts could keep it through the second mandatory stop. Estonia was able to close in (16:16) again, but Austria edged ahead once more at 21:17. As a result, the hosts got three set balls and they used their second chance to make it 25-22 and restore the balance in the match.

After their solid performance in the second set, Austria stretched momentum to the early stages of the third stanza and got up 8:4 at the first technical time-out. Team captain Alexander Berger and his teammates seemed to have found a way to control Estonia’s game. After 79 minutes Austria wrapped up this stage 25-17 and went ahead 2:1 in sets.

In the fourth set the Estonians put up a much better resistance and even a three-point deficit could not let them panic. They acted more aggressively and with more consistency as they entered the final section of the set bringing it to an end at 25-22 to go for the tie-break.

Estonia’s players were on a class of their own in the fifth and final set. They started out with a speedy 6-1 run and this way they laid the cornerstone for their ultimate success, as after 123 minutes of play Estonia sealed the 15-11 that got the party started for their sixth straight victory in this year’s European League.

Estonia’s mentor Gheorghe Cretu said: “I remained true to my previous line and made a lot of substitutions. If you keep on rotating players, the whole team can progress. After this performance I feel very proud of my team. However, we also have to pay the right respect to Austria as their team is heading towards the right direction.”

Home mentor Michael Warm: “We showed a very good performance in both matches of this weekend. It is just too bad that it was just enough for one point. We were very close to a better result. But we are on the right track and I feel very confident that we will be rewarded for our hard work very soon. Now we prepare for the matches with the Former Y.R. of Macedonia. These will be tight matches again.”

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