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10/01/2015 22:46
Russia, Romania and France book tickets to U19 Men Final Round
2015 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship - Men

Luxembourg, January 10, 2015. After another 14 matches were played in as many as eight different venues on Saturday, the U19 men’s national teams of Russia, Romania and France could celebrate their qualification to the final round of the European Championship that is due to take place in Sakarya and Kocaeli, Turkey, through April 4-12, 2015. Russia and Romania completed a clean sweep of their matches in Pool A and H, respectively, with Russia qualifying to the Final Round without dropping a single set in Moscow. France, on the other hand, can be proud of their Bleuets who after just two rounds of play in Saint-Jean d’Illac have already booked their ticket to the Finals. Another eight spots will be at stake on Sunday as the winners of each qualifier plus the three second placed teams with the best score will get the right to travel to Turkey and fight there for the European crown in this age group.   

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Pool A in Moscow (RUS)

Georgia vs. Hungary 0:3 (24-26, 16-25, 16-25)  

Hungary finished their European campaign by cruising to a straight-set victory over rookies Georgia. The young Georgians were able to claim a two-point lead at the second technical time-out of the opening set and they widened it as they were helped by Hungary’s serving errors. The pre-favourite Hungarians found themselves in a difficult situation but they were able to storm back to finally level the score at 22 all. Georgia’s errors in attack cost them the set which eventually went to Hungary by 26-24. Georgia seemed determined to compensate for that setback playing with high intensity also in the early stages of the second set leading there by 8:5. However, Hungary was able to keep their pace and to draw level at 12. After the second technical break, it was Hungary to break away (22:16) to finish the set with another three straight points (25-16). The third set then followed a similar plot; this time, however, Hungary was in full control leading by two points at the first technical time-out and even though Georgia’s coach tried to change the course of the game by using some of his second lines, Hungary could celebrate a well-deserved victory in three sets.

Péter Zarka, head coach of Hungary, commented: “We are very happy because after losing to the Netherlands and Russia we have been able to win our first match in this tournament. Still I am a little bit upset with the loss we suffered to the Netherlands in the opening game. We had a chance to win there but our opponents had more luck at their side. We won the last match and I am happy with today’s result.”

The Netherlands vs. Russia 0:3 (19-25, 24-26, 13-25)

Russia completed a clean sweep of their matches at Luch Sports Complex to qualify to the Final Round of the 2015 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Men without dropping a set. The young Oranjes briefly claimed the lead in the opening set (3:1) but Russia quickly imposed their quality and physical power. After leading the way by 14:9, even though the Netherlands tried to close their gap after the second technical time-out, Russia did not look back anymore and easily won the set by 25-19. The Netherlands caught a good start in the second set and set the pace of the game quite comfortably (8:5, 16:11) at both technical time-outs. Still Russia was able to storm back and level the score at 17 all. The final section of the second set was a real thriller with the teams fighting for every single rally. However, Russia had a little more luck and finished it off at 26-24. The third set was just one-sided with Russia scoring eight in a row (8:0) and cruising with ease to a speedy 25-13 to seal their third 3:0 victory in the tournament.

Russia’s head coach Mikhail Nikolaev said: “We are happy as we did not lose one set in this tournament. I would like to thank my players for their attitude and good performance.”

Pool B in Saint-Jean d’Illac (FRA)


Austria vs. Estonia 1:3 (22-25, 25-21, 22-25, 19-25)

After losing their first match of the tournament to hosts France on Friday, Estonia came back strong to win a close four setter with Austria. There were many ups and downs for both teams but in the end it was Estonia to come out on top and to take three valuable points. Estonia claimed the lead by the end of the first set and brought it home at 25-22 but could not keep the same pace in the second where Austria put a lot of pressure on their opponents with the right combination of serving, spiking and blocking. Robert Viiber scored a few points towards the end of the set but it was not enough to prevent Austria from winning it by 25-21. The teams felt the pressure in set 3 and 4 and made a lot of errors, but it was Estonia to have the upper hand in the end also via the 20 points scored by their best player Markus Uuskari.   

Austria’s coach Sebastian Tatra said: “We came here to play freely but in the end I have to realise that my guys were really nervous and made too many mistakes. We wanted to play strong even though we are not the strongest team here from a physical standpoint. We scored more when we played smart trying to find a way through their blocks instead of hitting the ball hard.”

Estonia’s mentor Oliver Lüütsepp commented: “I am very happy with this victory because it has been a very difficult match, also from a psychological perspective. I am satisfied with the reaction of my players after yesterday’s loss to France; they could handle the pressure and remained focused throughout the whole match.”

Estonia’s libero Robin Valting: “We played with a lot of character, there is a good spirit in this team and this definitely helped us win the match.”

Montenegro vs. France 0:3 (14-25, 13-25, 11-25)
 

Though there is still one round to go, France’s U19 national team have already claimed their ticket to the Final Round following their straight-set victory over Montenegro on Saturday and Estonia’s 3:1 win over Austria in the previous match. It was not that easy for the home heroes who knew they were the clear favourites going into this game but had to keep focused and concentrated all the way through to the end. The young players from Montenegro – 8 out of 12 are only 15 years old – did their best but could not stand also the physical gap that separates them from the Bleuets.

France’s coach Olivier Audabram commented: “We are happy because it was not an easy game but I am satisfied with the attitude showed by my players. It was not the perfect match since we made some mistakes but we will be trying to get these sorted for the match tomorrow as we want to finish this tournament with a clean record and three victories.”

Montenegro’s mentor Zoran Vukcevic said: “It was a better game than the one we had yesterday with Austria. My players are still very young and we could see and feel it tonight. We have to accept that this game was too tough for us but tomorrow we will be fighting bravely to beat Estonia and finish the tournament on a high note.”

Pool C in Subotica (SRB)


Czech Republic vs. Sweden 3:0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-19)

The Czech Republic swept Sweden 3:0 to claim their second victory in Pool C. Matej Smidl from the Czech Republic topped the scorers’ charts with 14 points, while Jacob Link recorded 11 points for Sweden. From the start of the match the Czechs imposed their quality and physical superiority; Sweden was an equal opponent in this match-up only in the first part of each set, but it was not enough to challenge the inspired Czech team that this way claimed first place in the standings of the group with two victories in as many matches played so far.
 
Kristian Cervinka, team captain of the Czech Republic, said: “It was a difficult match, because Sweden played well today. But we were focused and we didn’t let them surprise us.”
 
Victor Nielsen, team captain of Sweden, commented: “I am disappointed. We should have done better.”

Ukraine vs. Serbia 1:3 (25-21, 16-25, 19-25, 16-25)

In the second match of the day in Subotica Serbia beat Ukraine 3:1. Ukraine’s Oleh Plotnytskyi topped the scorers’ charts with 21 points, while David Mehic finished the match on 20 for the winners. Ukraine started furiously and immediately went up 5:0. It turned out that it was an advantage the home side could not catch throughout the whole first set. The Ukrainian boys wisely maintained their advantage, and took a 1:0 lead concluding this part of the match at 25-21. The beginning of the second set was balanced, even though Serbia went to the first technical time-out leading 8:6. After the break, the home side continued widening their lead, so at the second technical time-out the score stood at 16:11 for the hosts. The gap was further spread to 19:12, and finally to a maximum of 9 points of advantage at 25-16. The third set started with point-for-point plays, but after 4:4 Ukraine connected a couple of good rallies which resulted in their 8:5 lead at the first technical time-out. Serbia tied the score at 9:9, and went up by three points at the second technical break (16:13). The home side continued to perform well and the lead augmented to four points at 21:17. Ukraine did everything they could to come back, but it just was not possible. The hosts wrapped it up at 25-19 to take a 2:1 lead in sets. The crowd in Subotica saw a very intense first part of the fourth set. Serbia was leading, but Ukraine managed to stay close. However, after the second technical break the home side created a significant gap that was out of Ukraine’s reach. In the end, the match came to a close with a well deserved 25-16 and 3:1 overall in sets for the young Serbs.
 
Milan Djuricic, head coach of Serbia, said: “It is difficult for us because we are the favourites in this tournament and the pressure on our shoulders is huge. Let’s see what happens tomorrow, but we will do our best to win, I can promise that.”

Pool D in Puchov (SVK)

Belarus vs. Poland 0:3 (19-25, 23-25, 14-25)  

Belarus caught a terrific start of their match against Poland and went up by 7:2 in the first set. However, the young guys from Poland soon started to push with their service, and especially middle blocker Dawid Woch was very dangerous. Belarus was not able to stand the pressure and so Poland easily dominated the second part of the set bringing it to a close at 25-19. The second set followed a similar plot. Belarus went up 8:3 and 16:12, but then the Eastern Europeans made some technical errors and their opponents were able to make good use of that opportunity to eventually win also the second set by 25-23. The third set was under Polish control and ended quickly at 25-14. The match coming up on Sunday starring Poland and hosts Slovakia will determine the eventual winner of the tournament and also of the ticket to the Final Round of the European Championship.
 
Sebastian Pawlik, head coach of Poland, said: “I am happy that we won in straight sets, but it was not our best game. We played for the first time here, whereas Belarus had a first match yesterday and were a little bit better at the beginning. We were nervous in the early stages of the match, but we got better and better. We are happy for the win and the three points.”
 
Aliaksei Kavaliou, head coach of Belarus, commented: “The Polish team was very strong today. We hoped for a better result, but we failed. We will see what happens in the last match on Sunday. We can just wait and see.”

Pool E in Frankfurt/Main (GER)

Belgium vs. Norway 3:0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-15)   

Belgium showed an outstanding performance in the first set and took an early 8:4 advantage. Outside spiker Lou Kindt and opposite Thomas Konings scored rally after rally and wrapped up the score to a nine-point lead. Norway had no chance in the first set and lost it clearly by 14-25. It seemed that Norway had found the right answer in the second set as the Scandinavians gained an early five-point lead (2:7) but Belgium fought bravely back and equalised the game at 9:9. After that, Norway couldn’t manage to keep the high pace of their opponents and was left behind with a gap they could not close anymore. Things didn’t change in the third set. Norway scored for the first time at 1:7 whilst Belgium continued to play at a very high level. Gil Hofmans ended the match at 25-15 and this way he collected another three points for his team. Best scorer of the game was Thomas Konings with 15 points.

Maarten Deroey, head coach of Belgium: “I’m a happy coach after this game and want to congratulate my team, they made an excellent job. Again we made good serves and had a good organisation of our game. We didn’t underestimate Norway because they have a very good fighting spirit, but honestly we expected a tougher game today. Tomorrow it will be the toughest game, we are not afraid of Germany because we are in a good shape. We want to win the game and get the the ticket to the European Championship.”

Nebojsa Duric, head coach of Norway: “It was a tough match. We wanted to play like yesterday, but didn’t quite make it. They put us under pressure with their excellent service. I think Belgium is the favourite for the “final” match against Germany tomorrow.”

Pool F in Sofia (BUL)


Portugal vs. Denmark 0:3 (23-25, 20-25, 10-25)

Denmark surprised Portugal with a straight-set victory to open the programme of the second day of European qualification at Hristo Botev sports hall in Sofia. Denmark had previously lost to hosts Bulgaria whilst Portugal had edged Slovenia on the opening day. Portugal was therefore seen as the pre-favourite team going into this match but they started badly and trailed 6:8 at the first technical time-out of the opening set. The Danes exploited the many errors made by their opponent and this way they cashed the opening set by 25-23 also via their good serving and blocking. The players mentored by Antonio Guerra continued to make mistakes also in the second set with Denmark going up by 16:13 and controlling the game up to the final 25-20. Denmark opened the third set with a terrific 9:0 run, then moved up to 16:4 at the second technical time-out and finished it off at 25-10 for a quite surprising straight-set victory.

Antonio Guerra, head coach of Portugal, said: “We already knew Denmark and we knew their style of playing. They play tactically really good and normally we are performing well when we play that kind of teams. However, today we could not win because we took many risks and it turned out to be the wrong choice for this match, but this is Volleyball.”

Thomas Skifter Bertelsen, Denmark’s mentor, said: “I am extremely happy with this victory. We had a dream coming here and that was to play a good match with Portugal. I think that we achieved our goal and we showed excellent blocking, especially in the second set, to put pressure on their attackers. We also put a lot of pressure with our service as the match progressed and created good chances for our block and defence to work in the best way. I am really happy with the way it went for us today. Did we expect to win 3:0? Well, we played three friendly matches with Portugal before the New Year’s Eve back in Spain and we lost all of them, so we hoped that we could stretch the match to five sets and that would have been a huge thing for us. We worked really hard preparing for this tournament and today we were able to close each of the sets our way. That made the difference compared to yesterday’s match with Bulgaria where we could not play our best towards the end of the sets. I am really happy for my boys and now we want to enjoy this victory. We go back to our hotel and start preparing for tomorrow’s match with Slovenia where we want to deliver another good performance.”  

Slovenia vs. Bulgaria 0:3 (20-25, 23-25, 21-25)
 

The hosts of Bulgaria recorded their second straight victory in Sofia and with this result they have claimed the right edge to possibly finish the competition in first place and claim the much desired ticket to the Final Round of the European Championship. The hosts started the match at a very fast pace leading the way by 16:13 at the second technical time-out; things looked quite easy for the young ‘Lions’ but they kept focused through to the end (25-20). The Bulgarians imposed their rule also in the second set (16:11) but Slovenia was able to storm back with good serving and blocking to level the score at 23 all. However, the home heroes scored the next two points to make it 25-23 in the end and cement their lead in the game. Bulgaria started the third set with a 5:0 run and kept a margin of four points also at the second technical time-out. Slovenia did not want to give in and made it 19 all before the hosts changed gear again and brought the match to an end in three sets.

Samo Miklavc, Slovenia’s head coach, said: “I am not satisfied with our performance. We had problems in attack whilst they performed very well in this fundamental. If we look at the stats we will easily realise that we struggled with our spikers and this happened from every corner of the court. At this stage we are looking forward to our match with Denmark tomorrow and I hope we will win that one.”

Dragan Ivanov, Bulgaria’s head coach, said: “I expected that today we would play even better than we had done yesterday. The pressure today was not as much as yesterday. Nevertheless the match was difficult for both teams. I am happy because after all we imposed our rule from the start to the end and we deservedly won this match.”

Pool G in Rovinj (CRO)

Italy vs. Lithuania 3:0 (25-14, 25-20, 28-26)

Italy extended their winning streak in Rovinj cruising to a 3:0 victory over Lithuania to follow up on yesterday’s 3:1 win over Spain. The first set was close up to 10 all but after that Italy broke away and easily claimed it by a landslide 25-14 as their opponents were struggling in defence as well as in blocking. The second set followed a similar trend, with Lithuania eventually keeping the score tight up to 16 all; after that, the final rush fully belonged to the Italians who were in total control of the game. The suspense, on the other hand, continued all the way through to the end of the third set. Lithuania had a set ball but Italy remained focused and finished the match in three sets (28-26).

Lithuania’s team captain Tadas Rasiukas said: “We played under a lot of pressure during the first set whilst our opponents looked very concentrated and determined. We lost the match because we did not believe in our chances that we could win.”

Italy’s captain, Gianluca Galassi, commented: “We played well even though in the third set we had problems at serve reception. We are not that satisfied with the performance of our middle blockers whilst our outside spikers had some problems there as well but in the end we could delight our fans with another victory. Our parents have come here to support us and we could definitely feel and hear their cheers, this is of course an extra bit of motivation for us.”

Spain vs. Croatia 3:1 (25-16, 25-13, 21-25, 25-13)

After losing to Italy on Friday, Spain started the match strong even though Croatia was determined to use the home advantage and to benefit from the loud support coming from the stands of the Gimnasium sports hall in Rovinj. The Spaniards played much better than the hosts did, especially in attack, and this way easily claimed the first and second sets. Croatia’s team captain Marin Tomic tried to wake up his side and he did succeed as Croatia levelled the score at 17 all in the third set. Mislav Lucic contributed a three-point lead while standing behind the service line and this was maintained up to the end of the set. Spain’s mentor Ricardo Maldonado received a red card during the fourth set because of his protests but his guys remained focused and by combining their kill blocks with excellent attacks they comfortably brought the match to an end at 25-13 for a well-deserved 3:1 victory.

Spain’s captain Sergi Reñe Giralt said: “We did not play the best we can. We really wanted to win this match in three sets to increase our chances to finish second in this tournament and keep the door open to make the Final Round. That’s why we were so upset at the end of the third set. We must win tomorrow in our last match with Lithuania to stand a chance to make the Finals.”

Croatia’s team captain Marin Tomic commented: “I believe that we can play better than we did today. We had a bad day. We were not concentrated enough but I am confident that tomorrow with Italy it will be better. We must show our best side there.”

Pool H in Volos (GRE)


Latvia vs. Romania 1:3 (25-21, 17-25, 22-25, 20-25)

Romania topped Pool H of the 2015 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Men at Nea Ionia stadium in the city of Volos making it to the Final Round with yet another victory, this time against Latvia. The Latvian side needed a three-point victory in order to finish first in the group and started strong, but eventually succumbed by the score of 1:3. Vjaceslavs Grimailovs’s players came from behind in set 1, which they won with a 7-1 run in the end, although they were trailing by three points (13:16) only some minutes before. Latvia’s great momentum continued into the beginning of set 2 (5:2 lead), but Romania reacted on time to get ahead before the first technical time-out and eventually closed that set rather comfortably. Set 3 was the most critical one, as Razvan Parpala’s pupils couldn’t hold on to their important lead (16:10) and Latvia made it 22 all. Nevertheless, the Romanians got the three final points and celebrated the set, before finishing off their job in set 4. That way, Romania completed their participation in Pool H with a perfect score of nine points, having conceded just two sets overall.
 
Razvan Parpala, Romania’s head coach, said: “I’m very pleased with my team, because we managed to play very well in the difficult moments of every match here in Volos. We showed that we could win every opponent in Pool H. Our goal was to qualify to the Final Round, which we achieved. Once in the finals, we don’t set any specific goals, we will go to do our best there and see what happens.”
 
Vjaceslavs Grimailovs, Latvia’s head coach: “It’s a pity that we didn’t win this game and couldn’t make it to the Final Round. We had a real chance to qualify to the European Championship finals, but Romania is a very strong team and had Adrian Aciobanitei and Rares Balean on a great day. Our team doesn’t have the height and the physical attributes of our opponents. I’m very satisfied with our effort in this tournament even though we could have done even better.”

Finland vs. Greece 3:2 (25-10, 21-25, 24-26, 25-20, 15-12)
 

Finland didn’t make any favours to the hosts and left Greece at the bottom of the standings in Pool H. The last match of the three-day qualifying round had little interest towards the qualification of Finland or Greece, but didn’t lack passion for the victory. Eventually, Finland won with the score of 3:2 and finished second in Pool H, ahead of Latvia and Greece.
Pekka Lahtinen’s side won easily set 1, but it was a totally different story from then on, as the young Greeks fought for every point, boosted by the home crowd. The hosts took set 2 (21-25) and set 3 (24-26, thanks to two consecutive aces by captain Kyriakos Spyriounis). However, the last word was to be spoken by the Finnish side, which turned things around in set 4 thanks to a 5-0 rally right after the second technical time-out, which put them ahead (18-16). Finland had more energy in the tie-break, too, and finished it off with a 3-0 partial and an ace by Janne Marttila.
Sokratis Tzioumakas, Greece’s head coach, said: “We wanted to bid farewell to Volos with a victory, but we didn’t have enough energy in the end. Overall, the Greek players showed that they have talent and they are much-promising in view of the future.”
 
Pekka Lahtinen, Finland’s head coach, commented: “We played a good game and we had total control during set 1, but this caused us to lose our concentration a little bit. Greece gave a big fight before the home crowd, they really wanted to win. The tie-break was wonderful, with the fans cheering after each and every point. This was an important experience for my young players.”

News nr. 27 of 42
11/01/2015 23:41:00
8 more teams qualify to Final Round, Denmark celebrate historic feat
09/01/2015 23:16:00
Russia, Netherlands, Germany and Romania extend winning streak in U19 qualifiers

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