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06/06/2018 23:51
Belarus, Croatia book tickets to Silver #EuroLeagueM Final four
2018 CEV Volleyball Silver European League - Men

Luxembourg, June 6, 2018.  Belarus cruised to a speedy straight-set victory at Hungary to secure their spot in the Final Four of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Silver European League - Men, which will take place in Skopje on June 15 and 16. Later on Wednesday, Croatia joined as the best-ranked of the two pool runners-up after snatching a five-set win at Albania.


POOL A

Latvia vs. Austria 3-2 (25-23, 25-20, 20-25, 23-25, 15-13)


•    Best player for Team Latvia was #13 Edvins Skruders.
•    Best player for Team Austria was their superstar Alexander Berger.
•    Best scorers were Berger for Austria (21 points), and Latvia’s Reinis Pekmans with 15 points.



Reinis Pekmans, player of Latvia: “This win was a great gift for my birthday, I am actually surprised, I believed we could win but it still came as a surprise. We played well with our serve. However, I can still see details that need to be improved - for example our block. Now we are going to rest for a bit and keep on working.”

Alexander Berger, player of Austria: “We were coming into this game for a win. We needed to have a 3-0 win in order to have any hope on getting to the Final Four. Apparently, the Latvians were better today. We have to improve our serve and defense.  Latvia showed that their whole 14 players play as a team, and that is why they deserved to win tonight.”

FYR of Macedonia vs. Kosovo 3-0 (25-17, 25-10, 25-21)

•    The scoring percentage in attack for the team from the Former Y.R. of Macedonia was 66%, when Kosovo only had 40%.
•    In the second set all the attackers from Macedonia scored 100% of their attacks, while Kosovo made zero blocks in this set.
•   Again Kosovo could not win the game, during this tournament they only won one set (in the first game against Former Y.R. of Macedonia).
•    Best scorer was home star Nikola Gjorgiev with 16 points. Shkelqim Ismajli scored 10 points for Kosovo.




POOL B

Hungary vs. Belarus 0-3 (16-25, 12-25, 17-25)

•    The first set was dominated by Belarus: the home team led only at 1-0, the visitors were 18-6 ahead, and although Hungary came back with seven straight points, Belarus won the set 25-16.
•    The second set was even more one-sided: the visiting team took an early 6-5 point lead and the gap increased to 18-7. The final score of the set was 25-12.
•    The third set was similar to the first two: Belarus took the lead early (11-5), Hungary fought on to bounce back (14-19), but the visitors maintained their advantage and took the set (25-17) and the match.
•    Belarus finished the pool with five wins and one loss, while Hungary gained only one victory and suffered five defeats.
•    Best scorers of the match: Artur Udrys (Belarus), Pavel Audochanka (Belarus) and Krisztian Padar (Hungary) with 11 points each.



Bence Bozóki, player of Hungary: "Of course, a loss is never good, but we know that Belarus are the favourites. We tried to concentrate on our own game, and although we made some mistakes, we can build on this performance at the European Championship qualifiers."

Artur Udrys, player of Belarus: "Our service and attack were good today. We also had some great blocks and our reception was also OK. In the first two sets we played really well. The third was a bit harder, but we managed to win 3-0 and we are really happy about it."

Albania vs. Croatia 2-3 (11-25, 18-25, 29-27, 25-21, 11-15)

•    Anton Qafarena with 21 points was the best scorer of the game. For the Croatian team, Leo Andric with 20 points was the best player.
•    The Albanian national team failed to win any match on its home court during the tournament, and was eliminated while Croatia advances to the Final Four.



Jovan Melkas, coach of Albania: “It was a similar game as the last time and unfortunately we did not manage to win, losing again in the final set. We aimed for victory in front of our fans, but did not reach it. The team is very young, we made some changes from the last year and we did our best in this tournament. Some small details influenced the game against us, even though we played heartily. But this game was a good experience for the players for the future.”

Ivan Rancic, coach of Croatia: “We knew that this would be a difficult game for us. We played well in the first two sets, but then we slowed down the rhythm of our game while Albania played much better in the third and fourth set. However, I’m happy for the victory, now we are in the final stage and we will try to win this tournament. We are a young team and I want to congratulate my players for showing their best in all these games.”

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