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17/04/2018 17:40
Russia and Serbia add another win to their tally as Bulgaria survive another tiebreaker
2018 CEV U17 Volleyball European Championship - Women

Sofia, Bulgaria, April 17, 2018. The team of Russia collected another three points on Day 4 of the 2018 CEV U17 European Championship – Women after winning 3-1 over Slovenia. One day before the pool stage is over, Russia is topping the standing in Pool I. The good performance of Russia’s team on the service line was the key to the victory, while the Slovenians girls could not find a proper response to the situation. Bulgaria survived another tiebreaker in their campaign in Pool I after a great comeback vs. Belarus. The hosts of the tournament were trailing 0-2 but eventually managed to recover and turn things in their favour. Supported by the home crowd, the girls of Stojan Gunchev were flying, while the players headed by Dzmitry Kot were slowly but surely losing their rhythm. In the last match for today, played between the teams of Hungary and Serbia, the spectators in Hristo Botev sports hall had the opportunity to see some long and great rallies; tense play and many emotions. Eventually, the Serbian girls managed to claim a 3-1 victory and tomorrow meet the team of Bulgaria.

Slovenia vs. Russia 1-3 (23-25, 18-25, 25-21, 12-25)

•    The teams exchanged the lead during the entire first set and although Russia entered a bit slowly in the first minutes, they eventually grabbed that part by 25-23.
•    Slovenia’s block- defence was suffering in the next set and team Russia deservedly took advantage of this to double their lead in the match.
•    Slovenia’s players started better in the third part and being more stable in the different aspects of the game allowed them to come back in the match.
•    The Russians stormed out to an impressive 10-2 and 17-7 lead in the fourth set and thanks to great play in attack got the three points from this match.

Boris Klokocovnik, head coach of Slovenia: “The team of Russia is composed of tall players and today they were really good at serving, I think that they made only two or three mistakes. We couldn’t cope with this.”

Svetlana Safronova, head coach of Russia: “We are very satisfied that we won the game, it was a difficult match for us. Slovenia is a team that is strong in defense and luckily to us we were able to make it difficult for them also in that component.”

Bulgaria vs. Belarus 3-2 (21-25, 16-25, 25-19, 25-21, 15-13)

•    Bulgaria seemed to take a small lead in the first moments but by the time of the second technical timeout Belarus was leading. The girls coached by Dzmitry Kot were great at service afterwards, making several aces and deservedly won the opening set.
•    There was no doubt as to who was dominant in the second part – the girls of Belarus were keeping their rhythm, being well-organized, while Bulgaria’s players couldn’t make it difficult for their opponents as they did not put enough pressure with their service.
•    Bulgaria was leading 16-10 in the third set, but the players of Belarus made the point gap smaller at 16-17. However, the Lionesses managed to close this part at 25-19 and thus they were back in the game. 
•    Although it seemed that the win was close, with the result being 20-21 for Belarus, Kot took a time out. It didn’t help as Bulgaria kept on scoring (23-21) and brought this match into a tiebreak.
•    Bulgaria survived again after a tiebreaker (they had previously won 3-2 vs. Hungary on Day 2 of #EuroVolleyU17W).

Aleksandra Georgieva, player of Bulgaria: “I am extremely happy about this victory. We won over Belarus for a second time after last year’s match for the third place at EuroVolley U16. I hope that we will play good tomorrow vs. Serbia and we could save our chances to continue in this tournament.”

Hungary vs. Serbia 1-3 (25-19, 21-25, 23-25,22-25)

•    Hungary opened the match and continued the good performance also in the second set.
•    Serbia’s players seemed to be struggling, making some unforced errors and allowed Hungary to keep on making point difference (15-10).  However, the players coached by Jovo Cakovic managed to come back and bring back the intrigue in the match emerging victorious for 25-21.
•    Serbia was storming out there in the third set (7-1 in their favor), but Hungary got back on their feet. In the last minutes of the set both teams showed great spirit and motivation. Long rallies were marked by good play in defence and on block, but eventually the Serbians closed at 23-25.
•    The fourth part of this match was full of a constant change of the lead and point-for-a-point play. In the “game of nerves” , Serbia showed what they can and claimed a 3-1 victory.

Gabor Konig, head coach of Hungary: “We started well in this match but after the second set we kind of lost out rhythm and we couldn’t find it again. We had our chances but we could not get them and unfortunately we lost.”

Jovo Cakovic, head coach of Serbia: “ We are happy and pleased. Today we had some problems, we played only with one setter and it was a challenge for me, for us all. Tomorrow we meet Bulgaria who today did very well. They have one big leader  - Aleksandra Georgieva, they are really strong. So we have to improve, as I always say, and let’s see what tomorrow brings”.

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