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27/09/2015 21:10
Dutch ladies extend orange dream in Apeldoorn and Italy clinch another victory in EuroVolley
2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women

Apeldoorn, Netherlands, September 27, 2015. Orange fervour took over the city of Apeldoorn as the thrilling 2015 CEV DELA Volleyball European Championship – Women lived its second day of competition. The Omnisport sports hall in Apeldoorn congregated 5,600 fans that enjoyed the 3:1 victory (25-15, 25-11, 19-25, 25-18) of the local team over Poland.  In the second match of the day Italy signed a 3:1 (25-9, 25-12, 24-26, 25-11) win over newcomers Slovenia.   

The Netherlands vs Poland 3:1 (25-15, 25-11, 19-25, 25-18)

The second round in Pool A of the 2015 EuroVolley put two of the powerhouses of the tournament  - The Netherlands and Poland – in one of the most anticipated clashes in Apeldoorn, as both squads seek to finish the Preliminary round at the top position. The Omnisport sports hall, again sold out to the last seat, presented a loud and cheerful ambiance as the first point was signed by outside-spiker Lonneke Sloëtjes.

Setter Laura Dijkema quickly found her pace and saw most of her distribution resulting in direct points by the Dutch attackers in the first set. Poland struggled against the strong Dutch block and defence, and were unable to easily score thus being confronted with an 8-point gap (13:5). Poland reorganised its reception and fought back with strong services and steady side-outs, getting as far as to a three-point deficit (15:12). However, the Dutch ladies kept their distance and ended the set 25-15.

Both teams equally raced for points in the second period. However, it was outside-spiker Maret Balkestein-Grothues who served all the way to the second technical time-out to give the lead to her team (16:8). The Polish spirit seemed broken, and the Dutch players took this opportunity to close the set with a convincing 25-11.

The Polish team was not ready to surrender just yet, using the attacks by Katarzyna Ewa Skowronska-Dolata as main weapon on court. The star Polish player, who started as outside-spiker, was moved by head coach Jacek Nawrocki to the opposite position, and the variation proved successful as Poland raced to the first technical time-out at 16:11. Poland then left no space to intervene in the continuation and despite Dutch efforts, Jacek Nawrocki's ladies conquered the third set 25-19.

It was Yvon Beliën with strong blocks and attacks who put the Dutch side in lead in the fourth set (16-13). The three-point gap increased, and The Netherlands - with their fans in the thousands loudly cheering from the stands - raced to a convincing 25-18, thus winning the match 3-1.

“This is fantastic. We knew what to do and we did it. The only thing that we can get better at is that we made too many errors in the third set,” declared Dutch opposite Lonneke Sloëtjes.  

“This is the Volleyball I like, with a low level of mistakes. Indeed the third set we were a little bit out of our flow, but I find it very good to see that the team is able to recover from this, despite the huge stress,” commented the coach of the Dutch team Giovanni Guidetti. 

 “It was only in the third set that we were able to perform at the level that we wanted. We wanted to start off the fourth set at the same level but at the beginning of the period we made too many errors. We tried to recover from this halfway through the set but were unable to do it against this great Dutch team,” stated the captain of Poland Izabela Belcik. 

“Even before Giovanni Guidetti started coaching the Dutch team, I knew that the team was very strong, so I expected a good start from them. Unfortunately, we were unable to come up with an answer. We seemed afraid and were not able to just think about our own actions. This resulted in too many mistakes, which is something we need to control,” declared the coach of Poland Jacek Nawrocki. 

Slovenia vs Italy 1:3 (9-25, 12-25, 26-24, 11-25) 

In the second match of the day in Apeldoorn Italy was forced to win in order to keep their ambitions of reaching the top of Pool A while the Slovenian team searched its first victory in EuroVolley, in a match that ultimately went to Marco Bonitta’s ladies who managed to take the win in four sets. 

The Italian side quickly rose to a giant 12 point lead in the first set 16:04. Slovenian opposite and captain Marina Cvetanovic was able to score three points for her team, but the Italian team held tight in its intentions, with opposite Valentina Diouf showing efficiency in offensive actions. Middle-blocker Cristina Chirichella managed to serve the last five points in a row, so to confirm the compelling victory by Italian side in the set. 

The second period had a similar start. As the Slovenian team struggled to beat the strong Italian block and defence, Italy took a clear lead 7:3. However, the side-out of the newcomers proved a bit more resilient, which made Slovenia follow in the Italian wake 10:08. Yet again the Italian block was too strong for their rivals and while the Slovenian team was unable to pass the control lines of Azzurri, Italy expanded the lead and finished the set 25-12.

Bruno Najdic’s ladies fought hard to sign their first set in an EuroVolley and took a 4:2 advantage in the third period, so to force the first technical time-out at 8:7. Balance appeared in the period and the tie persisted. This time it was the Slovenian team that was able to battle their way to winning the set 26-24.

Italy aimed for the victory and started with a 10-0 through captain Antonella Del Core’s serve. Slovenia could not recover, and could not manage to offer any balance to Italians’ efficiency, thus losing the set 25-11 and the match 3:1. 

“We started very strongly, but the third set was a mistake from me. I put some new players in the court, but the team was not ready to deal with many changes. So we played one more set and we won that one. This is volleyball. I’m looking forward for tomorrow, to face the strong Dutch team and to play for the leadership of the pool,” said Italian coach Marco Bonitta. 

“We played very strongly in the first and second sets, and too early we thought that we would be finished after the third period. When Slovenia came close we made easy mistakes, which is why we lost the third set. I’m glad that we recovered quickly so we are able to prepare for our match tomorrow,” stated Italian opposite Valentina Diouf.

“Yesterday I said that we are here for the first time, but we’re not on vacation, and today we won a set against Italy. Of course we would like to win matches, but against Italy today this was not realistic,” stated the coach of Slovenia Bruno Najdic. 

“Clearly Italy has a very, very strong team, but I am very glad that when we had the chance, we came together and won the third set. We are growing in every match, so I hope that we can show even more tomorrow against Poland,” declared Slovenian captain Marina Cvetanovic.

For more information on the 2015 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women visit or click here. In social media, please use the competition’s official hashtag #EuroVolleyW.

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