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14/07/2019 23:01
EuroVolley U16 action continues across Croatia and Italy
2019 CEV U16 Volleyball European Championship - Women

Trieste/Zagreb, Italy/Croatia, July 14, 2019.  Day two of the 2019 CEV U16 Volleyball European Championship produced more top quality action from both venues in Zagreb and Trieste.  In Pool I, Russia took a straight set win over France, while the home side won in four against Finland.  The final game of the day produced the closest match with Germany sneaking through the fifth set, despite Slovenia winning more points across the match.  In Pool II there were routine wins for Serbia and Turkey, before the 2017 champions Italy (pictured) came back from a set down to claim their second victory in as many matches.

Pool I in Zagreb

Russia vs. France 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-15)

After yesterday’s 3-1 win against Slovenia, Russia continued to impress at the #EuroVolleyU16W. Playing France on Sunday, they conceded 14 points only in the first set and their supremacy continued throughout the second set, with Arina Fedorovtseva and Natalia Suvorova standing out on the way to a 25-21 win. The final set was a further confirmation of Russia’s dominance, with France losing in straight sets after celebrating a 3-2 victory over hosts Croatia on Saturday. Russian captain, Arina Fedorovtseva had another great day, recording 21 points, while France’s Maeva Schalk was the next best, with 11 points to her name.

Philippe Marta, head coach of France, stated: “Russia served and blocked very well, and it was hard to recover from that. In the second set, we struggled because of our own bad service. Finally, I think Russia is one of the hardest opponents here, and they were better in all aspects of the game.”

Chiara Napoli, player of France: “We are a little bit frustrated because of such a heavy loss, but I hope we will grow during this competition. We will try to improve our defence game and deliver a much better performance in the next game.”

Finland vs. Croatia 1-3 (22-25, 22-25, 26-24, 17-25)

As these two teams had lost their previous match on Saturday, there was no place for yet another defeat if they wanted to stay in contention for a spot in the semis. The match started with many mistakes from both teams, which showed that an important win was at stake. Point by point, battling through the first set, Croatia managed to improve their performance to seal a 25-22 win. The hosts carried the momentum into the second set, claiming another tight victory. The third set was just the continuation of that trend, with both teams fighting hard for each point, but Finland managed to take the set, thus delaying Croatia’s celebrations (26-24). Carried by the spirits of a cheerful home crowd, Croatia cruised through the final set, winning it 25-17.

Lara Štiglić of Croatia was the best player of the match, recording 13 points, supported by her teammate Aurora Papac, who recorded six aces.

Tea Bakić, player of Croatia: “After yesterday’s loss, our spirits stayed high and we carried that confidence into this match. We made a few mistakes, but with each point, our confidence grew stronger, so I hope we will carry this momentum into the next match. I would also like to thank our fans, who cheered us through each point.”

Slovenia vs. Germany 2-3 (25-16, 19-25, 20-25, 25-12, 14-16)

Similar to the match against Russia, Slovenia started strong, opening the match against the German side with an impressive 5-0 streak, keeping an advantage through the whole set (25-16). Germany regrouped fast and drew level in the second set to 19 points.  As the match went further, the young Germans became stronger and more forceful with their block and attack, winning the third set by five points.  In the fourth set, Slovenia bounced back to take a 10 nil lead, putting on a dominant show and limiting Germany to just 12 points. Despite Slovenia’s 6-0 lead, the Germans managed to complete a heroic comeback, taking it 16-14 in the fifth set.

Manuel Hartmann, Germany head coach: “It was a very tough match for us, we were already a bit tired from yesterday. Slovenia hit us very hard in the first set, so our girls did a good job to come back in the second and third sets. We served much better than yesterday, had good reception in the end. I am very proud of our girls to come back like they did in the fifth and last set.”

Pool II in Trieste

Serbia vs. Belgium 3-0 (25-11, 25-17, 25-20)

The second day of competition in Trieste started with the matchup between Belgium and Serbia. They both had lost their opening matches in the tournament, but they were well ready to fight for their first victory, with Serbia coming out on top in three sets.
Serbia caught a great start to the match (10-3 and 20-8), and created many problems to the Belgians especially with their mighty blocks. The Serbians eventually closed the set with ease at 25-11. The second set started in a different way, as Serbia committed more mistakes and the score remained close up to 12-all. The Serbian middle blocker Hena Kurtagic helped her side break away to 18-13 before closing the set 25-17. After a close race up to 10-10, Belgium scored four times in a row but Serbia did not give up and recovered the disadvantage. Belgium edged ahead again at 19-14 but with their second setter Mina Stojanovic standing behind the service line, Serbia came back to lead 21-20 and close set (25-20) and match. Top scorer of the match was Stefana Pakic of Serbia with 13 points.

Zeljko Scepanovic, head coach of Serbia: “We came out of a hard defeat with Turkey. I think Belgium is a really strong team but we played our best and the quality was higher. I think our team is the youngest one of this Championship, but we will work step by step and fight day by day in order to do our best.”

Turkey vs. Romania 3-0 (25-12, 25-18, 25-13)

Turkey opened the afternoon programme at Pala Chiarbola with a landslide victory over Romania. The first set was extremely one-sided. The service of Özge Arslanalp helped Turkey break away (12-8) and Romania could not find a way to recover from that setback (25-12). The second set developed pretty much in the same way with Turkey dominating at the net (25-18) and especially their captain, the left-handed Pelin Eroktay setting the pace for her team despite a reaction from Romania. The girls of head coach Adrian Radu edged ahead for the first time in the third set (3-1) before Turkey imposed their rule again. Turkey are yet to lose a set after two matches, while Romania have zero points this far.

Adrian Radu, head coach of Romania: “We are glad to be here, it is a very good tournament, but technically and tactically this level is a little bit too much for us. We prepared for this tournament but not for facing teams like Turkey, Italy or Serbia. We will try to do our best in the other games, where maybe we will have more chances.”

Rasit Berk Inanc, head coach of Turkey: “Today was another important game for us and winning wasn’t as easy as it seems. Semifinals? Before thinking about that we have to focus on tomorrow’s match against the Netherlands.”

Italy vs. The Netherlands  3-1 (22-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-11)

Closing the second day in front of around four hundred supporters, the reigning champions took an important win against the Netherlands.  The “Azzurrine” actually started slowly, but brought the score to 10-10 with both teams showing an impeccable performance across the court.  In the end it was an ace that delivered the first set to the Netherlands (22-25).

In the second period, the home team showed amazing hustle and led by captain Manuela Ribechi levelled the game in another close set. This boosted their morale and helped Italy dominate the third period, even if the Netherlands didn’t surrender until 23-all. Italy completed the victory and secured a comfortable margin in the fourth set (25-11). Sara Bellia was the best player scoring 14 points for Italy. On the losing side Nicole van de Vosse stood out with 16 points. Italy moved to six points in two matches and on Monday the hosts will face Belgium. The Netherlands remain with one win and three points.

Pasquale D’Aniello, Italy head coach: “The first set? They played better than us. We knew we had to play a difficult game against one of the best teams I have ever faced, but we have been able to deliver, we never gave up and this quality made us win the match. In the fourth set, something broke down for them and we exploited it well to deliver an easy win.”

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