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20/04/2018 13:55
Russia and Italy to fight for #EuroVolleyU17W gold, Romania and Belarus qualify for 2019 FIVB U18 Girls' Volleyball Worlds
2018 CEV U17 Volleyball European Championship - Women

Sofia, Bulgaria, April 20, 2018.  Russia and Italy are the two teams who will meet on Saturday to decide who the new champions of Europe will be. The Russian powerhouse was flying on Friday to the final of #EuroVolleyU17W as the players around Svetlana Safronova did not give any chances to their opponents from Turkey and seized a straight 3-0 victory. In the other semifinal Italy lost the first set but eventually emerged victorious 3-1 vs. Bulgaria. Slovenia and Romania had a very important match as well – the winner of which was to secure a spot in the 2019 FIVB U18 Girls' Volleyball World Championship. The players of Marius Macarie won 3-2 over the team of Slovenia and will finish among the top six teams in Europe. In the other decisive match for participation in the World Championship, Belarus outclassed Germany and claimed a 3-1 victory.

Russia vs. Turkey 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-14)

•    Russia started in this first semi-final much better than Turkey did. They were performing well at the net and although Turkey were good in defence, the Russians’ attacks were too strong to handle.
•    The players around Svetlana Safronova were “flying” in attack and Turkey couldn’t react.
•    The opening of the third set was just excellent for Russia (6-0). They kept on scoring and increased the point difference (13-5) and did not allow their opponents to breath down their necks.
•    Valeriia Gorbunova from Russia was named Best Player of the match, having scored 14 points.

Bülent Gunes, head coach of Turkey: “Congratulations to Russia. Today they served really well and played great in attack! On the other hand,  I can tell that today we didn’t perform well. I hope to be better tomorrow and to finish this tournament with a medal!”

Svetlana Safronova, head coach of Russia: “I’m very satisfied with the result. Today our girls showed how we should play!”

Italy vs. Bulgaria (21-25, 25-22, 25-10, 28-26)

•    The Lionesses, supported by the home crowd, opened the first set better and were leading by the time of the first technical timeout. The Azzurrine got closer and the play went point for-point but the Bulgarians managed to open the match with a set win following an ace by Aleksandra Georgieva.  
•    The intrigue was bigger in the second set as the score remained close most of the time. Again Aleksandra Georgieva was leading her team but Italy were determined to take this part - and so they did.
•    Bulgaria were clueless in the beginning of the third set as Italy made it really difficult for their reception (8-1). Ioanna Atanasova at service tried to change the situation but Italy were too strong in all aspects of the game, especially showing great defence.
•     When it seemed that Bulgaria had given up, the players headed by Stojan Gunchev brought back the intrigue (9-9). After great Volleyball and long rallies Italy emerged victorious at 28-26 and will fight for the Gold medal on Saturday.

Stojan Gunchev, head coach of Bulgaria: “I’m satisfied and proud of my girls. With the exception of the third set, we played really, really well. It was a great match, especially for this age group! My players surprised me today! They showed fantastic things against the biggest favourite for the title at #EuroVolleyU17W. This Italian team “haven’t tasted” a loss in the last three years and we were really close to extending this match to a tie-break. Tomorrow we will play for a medal! It will not be easy but we will be ready for this challenge!”

Marco Mencarelli, head coach of Italy: “The girls were very nervous in the beginning and we lost the opening set. What was looking easy in the previous days, today was really tough. Then we managed to get the right rhythm at serving and in attack – eventually, this turned out to be our advantage which helped us to win the second and third sets. The fourth set was equal and it’s normal because Bulgaria is a very strong team. However, we proved to be a balanced team and will play in the Final. Russia is a very strong team. Everything is possible in the Final, so we should prepare for everything. It will be a difficult match, we need to be focused  and we can’t start the match like we did today.”

Anna Pelloia, player of Italy: “It was a very tough match. After the first set we started to do the right things and I’m so satisfied with this victory. Russia is another very strong team but we will prepare in the best way and we will fight for the gold medals.”

Semi-finals 5-8
Slovenia vs. Romania 2-3 (24-26, 25-18, 25-20, 25-27, 10-15)

•    It was an interesting first part with the teams constantly exchanging the lead. However, the good performance of Romania at the service line was the key to take this part.
•    Slovenia responded properly in the second set (16-8) and brought back the intrigue in the match making it one set apiece.
•    Romania was leading in the first minutes of the third set but thanks to good play by Manja Jerala whose service made it difficult for Romania, Slovenia were able to equalise and eventually emerge victorious at 25-20.
•    Romania’s reception was suffering and Slovenia took the advantage out of it but the Romanians managed to save their chances after a point-for-point game in the last minutes of the fourth set.
•    In the fifth set, Romania started better and did not allow Slovenia to react.   

Boris Klokocovnik, head coach of Slovenia: “Congratulations to Romania. Both teams fought for every ball and it was a good  match. The Romanian captain Alexia Ioana Carutasu was very productive and we didn’t manage to stop her. She made the difference today.”

Marius Macarie, head coach of Romania: “Maybe we learnt something after our five-sets matches in  Pool II. Today was really difficult but we didn’t give up and the girls achieved a great victory! Our main goal at this European Championship was to perform better than at the U16 tournament last year and we did it. We finished 7th in 2017 and now we have the opportunity to be 5th in the final standing. Obviously, I’m happy and satisfied.“

Alexia Ioana Carutasu, captain of Romania and top scorer with an amazing tally of 36 points: “I feel so good now! I’m extremely happy with this win. It means a lot for all our team! We will play at the World Championship after this victory and all of us are so excited. We were one set behind and I told the girls that we must fight through the end. We did it and managed to win in the tiebreak! It’s incredible!”

Belarus vs. Germany 1-3 (17-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-19)

•    Germany were indeed the better side in the first part and deservedly opened this match in their favour.
•    Although Belarus had a small advantage in the first minutes, as the second set was unfolding, Germany started to dominate and with some good play in attack were able to equalise the score. However, the players headed by Dzmitry Kot showed good nerves and took this part.
•    Belarus entered the court inspired in the third set. Both teams showed good play and high speed Volleyball but eventually the Belarusians proved to be better.
•    Belarus were dominant also in the last part of this match as they were leading during the entire set. The Germans tried to react but it was too late and Belarus congratulated themselves with a win.

Dzmitry Kot, head coach of Belarus: “I’m satisfied with our performance today. The whole team played really smart. It was a difficult match for us from a mental point of view after our two losses in a row in the Pool stage. We started bad and lost the opening set but after that we showed character and won. This is a very important victory for us in order to be confident.”  

Kseniya Liabiodkina, captain of Belarus: “We were a little bit nervous in the beginning but point by point and set by set we started to play better and better. In the third part we didn’t give up, we managed to win it and this was the key. In the fourth  set we played  with great confidence and achieved a great victory which secured us a place at the World championship next year. It is an incredible feeling!”

Jens Tietböhl, head coach of Germany: “First I want to congratulate Belarus. We showed great Volleyball in the first set. I think the battle was equal in the next parts but in the third we missed two set points and that made the difference. Tomorrow we will play for the victory against Slovenia. I want to finish the tournament with a win.”

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News nr. 3 of 28
21/04/2018 19:38:00
Gold for Russia at #EuroVolleyU17W
19/04/2018 11:12:00
All eyes on Sofia Monza – the leader of the Italian Volleyball machine

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