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24/09/2011 14:28
Second straight sets victory for the Netherlands
2011 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women

Busto Arsizio, Italy, September 24, 2011 – The Netherlands managed to defeat Bulgaria in straight sets (23-25, 17-25, 23-25) in the first hard fought contest of the championship in Pool D. Great performances of Manon Flier for the Netherlands, scoring 17 points, and Strashimira Filipova for Bulgaria with 14 kills, marked the match.

The match started tightly with the two most representative players of the two teams, Manon Flier for the Netherlands and Elitsa Vasileva for Bulgaria, scoring the first 6 points. The Netherlands went into the first technical time out leading 8-7 thanks to a block of middle-blocker Ingrid Visser. Visser held the service until 14-8 for the Netherlands then Bulgaria managed to reduce the gap with an outstandng attack of Vasileva and an error of Flier. Holland reached the second technical timeout leading 16-11. The game at this point became more spectacular with the Netherlands trying to escape and the Bulgarian always beeing able to reduce the gap until 21-20 with an ace of wing-spiker Dobriana Rabadzhieva and a block of Vasileva. Then the fans saw a series of long rallies with fantastic digs from both teams, untill Caroline Wensik's fast attack that closed out the set in the Netherlands favor.

In the second set the Dutch ladies started well with a partial 4-0, but Bulgaria then managed to bounce back. However the Netherlands went into the first technical timeout 8-5 ahead. The Dutch increased their advantage until 14-9, before Rabadzhieva, both with spectacular defence and back row attack, allowed Bulgaria to bounce back. Nevertheless, the Dutch kept the pace high and Bulgaria lost contact due to serious receiving problems which permitted the Netherlands to win the set 25-17.

From the beginning of the third set it was clear that Bulgaria was back in the match and after several tight rallies reached the first technical timeout 8-7 ahead thanks to Filipova’s ace. Bulgaria’s captain then became the protagonist of the central part of the set and with several fast spikes and peremptory blocks she led Bulgaria to a 16-13 lead. After the break the Netherlands started their comeback and tied the score at 18-18, moving then three points ahead until 23-20. Flier and Chaine Staelens closed the match out and offered the Netherlands the second victory.

Bulgaria captain Strashimira Filipova: “I think we started this game very well but if we wanted to win this kinf of matches we can’t play well just in the beginnig. We lost and that’s unpleasant, by the way it will be important to win tomorrow’s match."

The Netherlands captain, Manon Flier: “I’m delighted with the result, we were concentrated and we did few errors. Now we wait calmly for tomorrow’s match versus Russia, with less pressure, and we are ready to play the game.”

Bulgaria’s coach, Dimo Tonev: “Firstly I would like to congratulate the Netherlands for their victory. The match was really tight. Experience, which Holland has and we don’t have, played a decisive role. Our championship isn’t finished, I hope that after the match against Spain we will be able to be interviewed as winners.”

The Netherlands coach, Avital Selinger “I think we played very well today. It was a hard-fought contest but we did only few unforced errors, we served well and kept our concentration. Tomorrow’s match will be a battle but we demonstrated that we are ready to accept it.”

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