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02/06/2018 22:50
Latvia, Austria, Croatia and Belarus go head to head as road to Silver #EuroLeagueM Final Four continues
2018 CEV Volleyball Silver European League - Men

Luxembourg, June 2, 2018. Leg 5 from the 2018 CEV Volleyball Silver European League - Men brought more questions than answers as four teams are still in the run for the three remaining spots in the Final Four. In Pool A Austria defeated Kosovo in three sets, levelling their points with Latvia, with 12 for each team, resulting from four wins apiece. The Latvians, however, are one step ahead as they still are to play two matches, while Austria have only one to go. Croatia and Belarus share the top in Pool B with four wins and 12 points each, after Belarus beat Croatia in four sets earlier today. The last pool matches on Wednesday will determine the eventual group winners and the best runner-up joining the Former Y.R. of Macedonia in the Final Four due to take place in Skopje on June 15-16. 

Pool A

Austria vs. Kosovo 3-0 (25-11, 25-12, 25-20)

•    Austria celebrated in Enns their fourth straight victory in Pool A, thus remaining in contention for a spot in the Final Four.
•    Austria will be playing Latvia next Wednesday away from home to complete their duties in the pool stage.
•    Paul Buchegger and his teammates stormed to a comprehensive 25-11 win in the first set. Kosovo put up more of a fight in the early stages of the second set but as Austria rushed to an 11-6 lead, the outcome of the set became clear.
•    Austria claimed a 5-1 early lead in the third set and despite Kosovo’s attempts to make a comeback, the hosts eventually sealed their 3-0 victory at 25-20.
•    Buchegger (22), Anton Menner (12) and Mathäus Jurkovics (9) were the top scorers for Austria as Shkelqim Ismajli paced Kosovo with 11.
•    Austria coach Michael Warm provided some of his reserve players with an opportunity to take to the court.
•    Home star Alexander Berger missed the match with Kosovo due to wisdom teeth removal but should be back in time for Wednesday's matchup with Latvia.

Michael Warm, coach of Austria: “Today we played very compact. Discipline was the key to our win, and this is something that we have understood now. Every player has to bring his top level. Therefore, the competitive pressure in the team is an advantage.”

Anton Menner, player of Austria: “If we put more pressure with our service, it should also work versus Latvia, I hope. I am very happy about the competitive pressure within the team. This brings the training to a new level. Today, I am satisfied with my performance, since I could perform very well.”

Xhevat Buqani, assistant coach of Kosovo: “This year, we have a very young team. It is our plan to build a strong team over the next three years.  Of course, we knew Austria has a very strong team.”

Pool B

Albania vs. Hungary 2-3 (26-28, 19-25, 25-21, 29-27, 9-15)

  • This is the first victory for Hungary in the Silver #EuroLeagueM this season.
  • Albania have also one victory so far, when they previously defeated Hungary in Budapest. 
  • Bence Bozóki of Hungary with 24 points topped the charts on Saturday. 
  • For Albania, Anton Qafarena became the best player with 23 points to his name.
  • Albania has not yet won any game while playing in front of their fans, bringing them another disappointment tonight.

Jovan Melka, coach of Albania: “To be honest, we expected a different result tonight and for a moment I thought we could have reached it, when we equalised the set score at 2-2 after losing 0-2. We were down two sets, but we made a comeback. We made some errors today, but also we need to be more stable when we play. We are growing match after match and this is very important, because we have a young team and this improvement will serve us in the future.”

Bogdan Tanase, coach of Hungary: “I am very happy about this victory, happy also for the players, who played very well and deserved it. This was our first win, and after many good games, we finally did it. This is a good result for us and it will give us more confidence for the future.”

Croatia vs. Belarus 1-3 (25-18, 17-25, 16-25, 21-25)

  • Belarus got their revenge on Croatia for a home loss they suffered ten days ago, when Croatia defeated them in four sets.
  • Croatia won the first set 25-18 mostly thanks to great serves of Leo Andrić and good defensive block.
  • In the second set Belarus was visibly better winning it 25-17.
  • Croatia opened the third set with a 6-1 lead, but they missed their opportunity to win against a great defense of Belarus. The visiting team shortly afterwards took the lead and kept it until the final 25-16.
  • The home team again had the lead in the fourth set, but Belarus found a way to turn things around and win the match.
  • Despite his team’s loss, Leo Andrić from Croatia was the best scorer of the game with 25 points, including six aces, but the man of the match was Artur Udrys from Belarus who was their best attacker.

Tsimafei Zhukouski, player of Croatia: “I want to congratulate Belarus for the win. It was a very tough match, they knew how to use our mistakes to win. We will continue to work hard and will do our best to win against Albania in the last match.”

Artur Udrys, player of Belarus: “We lost the first set, because our serve was bad. After that, we started to feel better with good points and a couple of aces.”

For more details about the competition click here


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