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13/04/2018 22:30
Belarus, Bulgaria and Slovenia record wins in the first day of #EuroVolleyU17W in Pool I
2018 CEV U17 Volleyball European Championship - Women

Sofia, April 13, 2018.  Friday 13 means “bad luck” to some people, but this was not the case today for the teams of Belarus, Bulgaria and Slovenia who recorded their first wins over Serbia (3-1), Russia (3-2) and Hungary (3-1) in Pool I of the #EuroVolleyU17W. Day 1 of the competition gave many Volleyball emotions to the young players who showed fighting spirit and determination. Local fans and supporters of the other teams were also an important factor, making the atmosphere in sports hall Hristo Botev amazing and inspiring the teams to fight until the end.

Belarus vs. Serbia 3-1 (25-21, 25-21, 21-25, 25-17)

•    Both Belarus and Serbia entered the court motivated, keeping the score close in the beginning of the opening set. After a point-for-a-point play in the first minutes, the Serbian girls took a small lead trying to establish their rhythm of play, but Belarus didn’t give up easily. On top of that, the girls around head coach Dzimtry Kot managed to turn things in their favour (20-15) and eventually opened the match with a 25-21 set win.
•     In the second set, the game remained intense and none of both teams lost their fighting spirit; Belarus eventually proved to be better, taking this set by 25-21.
•    The Serbian players were leading in the beginning of the third set, bringing back the intrigue in the match (8-4). Belarus seemed to have lost a bit of their rhythm, which made their head coach call a time out by 9-12. There were some long rallies with both teams showing that the future of European women’s volleyball is bright.  Although Belarus tried to make a comeback in this part, Serbia had the las word sealing a 25-21 win.
•    Belarus were “on fire” in the fourth set, leading from start to end and making it hard for their opponents.  Thanks to their good performance, team Belarus managed to claim their first victory at #EuroVolleyU17W.

Dzmitry Kot, head coach of Belarus: “Our opponents are really strong, but it was a good game for us. We were better mentally and I think that this was the key to the final victory.”

Jovo Cakovic, head coach of Serbia: “First matches are always very, very difficult. My team today did not perform well in defence and reception and we lost because of that. I could say that the reception was the main problem for my team, but it is only the first match.”

Bulgaria vs. Russia 3-2 (25-18, 23-25, 25-17, 19-25, 15-12)

•    Home crowds were supporting the hosts of #EuroVolleyU17W, but there were also fans of Team Russia, making this way the atmosphere in Hristo Botev sports hall truly amazing.
•    Bulgaria scored 20 aces in total.
•    Although they started a little bit slowly in the first minutes, the players around head coach Stojan Gunchev found a proper response and opened the match with a 25-18 set win.
•    Russia reacted well in the next set, but Bulgaria kept on controlling the game during most of the time. However, thanks to great actions in the end of this part, Russia levelled the count.
•     The young Bulgarian Lionesses got hungry for the win in the third set and without any big problems took this part. Their performance on serve was crucial for them in order to take the lead by 2-1.
•    The situation changed in the fourth set – there were no doubts on who was better (13-20) and Team Russia deservedly brought this match into a tiebreak.
•    Bulgaria stormed out there taking the lead at the beginning, but Russia managed to get back into the game. However, shortly afterwards the Bulgarians were “flying” . The pressure on both teams grew bigger, and Bulgaria’s reception was suffering. However, some good blocking in the last minutes secured the key points for Bulgaria to claim the final victory.

Stojan Gunchev, head coach of Bulgaria: “I am pleased with today’s match. Of course, because of the result, but also because of my girls, who played well organised. We had a serious problem with one of the players who was injured, but fortunately it is all fine now. I think that we deserved this win today, we were good at serving, but also as a whole. Moreover, in the moments of tension, we managed to keep our minds fresh and thus we won in the end. We hope to continue to play the same way.”

Svetlana Safronova, head coach of Russia: “Today our team was nervous, it was the first game and a first game is always difficult, especially when the crowd in the sports hall is supporting so much their team. We will be trying to improve for the next ones.”

Hungary vs. Slovenia 1-3 (18-25, 20-25, 25-22, 14-25)

•    Although they took to the court showing great determination, Hungary couldn’t cope with the fighting spirit of Slovenia, who caught the best start to the match by taking the first set.
•    Things seemed to be more balanced in the second with the play going point-for-point. With the set unfolding, Slovenia took again control of the game and claimed a comfortable gap of four points. Despite the attempts of Hungary to turn things in their favour (18-19), the Slovenian players were better in defence and on block to double their lead in the match.
•    Hungary started much better in the third set, leading by 6-0 and looking more focussed.  On the other hand, Slovenia were struggling to find their way of play, but step by step they got closer to their opponents. It was a nervous game, as both teams were performing well, but let some unforced errors impact the score. In the decisive moments, Hungary showed great skills in defence and eventually took the set.
•    In the fourth set, the Slovenian team started better and comfortably controlled it until the end with an advantage of as many as 11 points.

Gabor Konig, head coach of Hungary: “As I said yesterday, we came here to have fun, but today we were a bit nervous and we couldn’t enjoy our game. I don’t think that we are under pressure, it’s just that these are very young girls. We had lot of ups and downs and I hope that in the next games we will have more ups, showing that we are able to play like we did in the third set.”

Jaros Stekl, assistant coach of Slovenia: “I think that it was a great game. The third set was not good for us as we made a lot of mistakes, but then we managed in the fourth set to resolve our problems and eventually won. We served really well and we played very well in defence too.”

Click here for further information on #EuroVolleyU17W.

News nr. 15 of 28
13/04/2018 23:11:00
Day 1 in Pool II of #EuroVolleyU17W brings victories for Germany, Turkey and Italy
12/04/2018 20:50:00
Sofia excited to host #EuroVolleyU17W

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