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08/04/2015 22:57
Poland book ticket to semis with another outstanding performance
2015 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Men

Kocaeli, Turkey, April 8, 2015. The next-to-last day of competition at the 2015 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship - Men in Kocaeli got started with Italy cruising to a terrific 3:0 victory over 2013 gold medallists Russia to make a statement about their intention to move on to the semis coming up on Saturday in Sakarya. After that, Poland downed France in three sets as well to celebrate their fourth win in as many matches and book a spot for the matches where the medals will be at stake later this week. To round off the programme, the rookies of Denmark - who are making their first appearance in the Final Round - extended their match with Serbia to the tie-break but ended up losing there. The competition in Kocaeli will come to a close on Thursday with the last three matches on schedule for Pool I.

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Russia vs. Italy 0:3 (22-25, 20-25, 11-25)

The match started with the score remaining tight till two attack faults from Italy. So Russia took on a two-point advantage at the first technical time out (8-6). Both teams took a lot of risks with their serves to put their opponents defence under pressure and produced a lot of mistakes in the first set. In the following time Italy turned the score by increasing the quality of their reception and led by one point at the second technical time out (16-15). Especially their attackers found a way to avoid the Russian block wall, a block by Gabriele Di Martino and again a Russian service fault brought them onto the winning side to 23-20. The Azzurrini had no problem to snap the first set as Matteo Maiocchi made the last point (25-22).
A shocked Russian team had big problems to fight back in the second set. Some nice serves by Italians number thirteen Matteo Maiocchi and an excellent block-defence system powered them up to 8:1 and 19:11. Although Russia tried everything to stabilise the score, they were never in the position to close the deficit and lost the second set, too (20-25). The difference was made by the Russian poor performance in attack as they converted only 33% of their attempts.
All of the 450 spectators in Kocaeli who expected an incredible comeback of Russia in the third set became disillusioned right from the beginning. Italy totally dominated them in all aspects of the game and celebrated a ten-point lead at the second technical time out (16-6). Things didn’t change after the break, Italy swept the Russians out of the hall and won the set 25-11. Best player of the game was Matteo Maiocchi who scored 20 points to trouble the Russian team every time he got the ball. 

Mikhail Nikolaev, coach of Russia: “I am disappointed after this game. Of course Italy played very good and was better in every aspect but actually we are a good team, too. We want to reach the World Championship this year, so we have to win all games that will follow.”

Petr Golovin, captain of Russia: “We made too many mistakes during the whole game and couldn’t stop their attackers. I think this was the main reason. It was like the game against Poland, but it was not the reason for our defeat. Now we are going to win the game tomorrow to reach the next round in Sakarya. After this it is our main goal to qualify for the World Championship.”

Mario Barbiero, coach of Italy: “I am very happy with today's win and pleased with my team and staff. In Volleyball, hard work pays off and we played very strong. Tomorrow we have a very difficult match against France.”

Matteo Maiocchi, player of the game: “Today's match was a really good one and I'm very pleased with our team and happy that we won. Tomorrow we will play against a very strong team and have to take our performance from today into the match against France.”

France vs. Poland 0:3 (9-25, 16-25, 17-25)

The second game of the day started like the first one ended. With a totally dominating team, in this case Poland, that continued it outstanding performances, and a totally overwhelmed team, France, that showed huge problems in reception (29%). The Polish team gained a remarkable advantage of 16 points by the end of the opening set and won it with a nice block at 25-9. In the second set the Polish team made another quick start and led 9-4 at the beginning. Again France didn’t find a way to stop the Polish offence which was anchored by Jakub Kochanowski (6 points) and Tomasz Fornal (4 points). A block by Fornal to 16-7 rang in the final phase of the game which ended in an outright way at 25-16. It seemed that Poland wanted to finish it in straight sets and started the third set with a six-point lead at the first technical time out (8-2). France was nearly on the way to close that deficit at 9-12 but a Polish block marked another psychological setback that Poland used to go up to 19-12 and 24-15 to convert their third match point at 25-17.

Sebastian Pawlik, coach of Poland: “It feels great that we reached the semis after four victories in a row. My team showed a lot of passion, everyone could see that we wanted this victory but I didn’t expect that kind of game today. Actually France is a very strong team but we played very well and made nearly no mistakes. We want to fight for a medal in Sakarya.”

Jakub Kochanowski, captain of Poland: “We played a really good game with strong attacks and a strong service. It’s a good feeling to pass that difficult pool in this way and I hope we will win the European Championship.”

Olivier Audabram, coach of France: “There was a difference in level as the Polish side was too strong for us. We cannot qualify for the semis anymore after that defeat but we still have a match tomorrow. We want to go to Sakarya and win the next matches to participate in the World Championship.”

Joachim Panou, captain of France: “We played against a very strong team and they were better than us. We must win tomorrow's match to qualify for the next round.”

Serbia vs. Denmark 3:2 (26-24, 20-25, 27-25, 13-25, 15-10)

The first set started off fast and tight as both teams were hoping to stay alive in the tournament. Denmark’s setter Mads Kyed Jensen blocked Serbia’s spike for a provisional 8:6 lead at the first technical time-out. Denmark continued to play really impressively with effective spikes making sure they would stay ahead of their opponents. Denmark’s captain Oscar Mollgaard added something more to his team’s solid performance while standing behind the service line but even though the rookies of the Finals got up by one point at the second technical break, Serbia eventually cashed the first set at 26-24 helped by their team captain David Mehic who recorded seven points all alone with a 70% success rate in attack.
The second set started off with a tie, before Denmark again went up by one point going for the first technical time-out (8:7). The Danish side continued to perform strong and after getting four set balls at 24:20, they used their first opportunity to restore the balance in the game.
Serbia was a point ahead of Denmark at the first technical time-out of the third set as both teams were struggling to break away in the score. The second technical break was called by the score of 16:14 for Serbia and after another close rush Miran Kujundzic sealed the final 27-25 for the pre-favourites of this fixture. Denmark’s Kasper Petersen was absolutely outstanding in this set with a terrific 86% success rate in attack but his performance wasn’t enough to bring it home for the Danes.
Denmark played with a lot of confidence and resilience in the fourth set stamping some good blocks to move up by 11:9. The second technical time-out followed once Denmark had claimed a five-point lead; Danish player Kasper Petersen scored three points in a row through his effective serves and Nikolaj Hjorth finished off with a neat spike for a massive 25-13. Denmark’s team captain Oscar Mollgaard played a leading role in this set scoring five points on his own.  
The tie-break started with a series of side-outs before Serbia got to the front as the teams switched sides of the court (8:5) and slowly but surely widened their lead. With a spike by Miran Kujundzic Serbia wrapped it up at 15-10 thereby making sure they would progress to the next phase of the competition in Sakarya whilst Denmark – after four losses in as many matches – will travel home once the Pool phase comes to an end. There were some outstanding individual performances for the Danes as Simon Andersen and Kasper Petersen finished the game on eight blocks and seven aces, respectively.

Thomas Bertelsen, coach of Denmark: “I’m crying with one eye and smiling with the other as we have worked very hard to get to this stage. This is the sort of level we are hoping to perform at because we had a tough time until now. I’m happy that we took Serbia to five sets and the way we finished the fourth set gave us hope to win today. I’m disappointed that we didn’t perform like that in the fifth set but Serbia played really well. We have pulled up from the first match until now and improved and we will work very hard to continue to improve ourselves.”

Simon Øster Ellegaard Andersen who scored 16 points for Denmark said:
“I’m very sad that we lost. We did a good job today but it wasn’t enough especially in the fifth set. I’m of course very happy with my own performance and there was a good team effort.”

Milan Djuricic, coach of Serbia: “I wasn’t happy with today’s match especially when my team gave the opponent the chance to win sets. We need to work on the mistakes we made today as we have a difficult and challenging match against Poland tomorrow.”

David Mehic, Serbian captain: “Today Denmark really wanted to win this match and this is why it was very challenging for us.”

Click here for further information on Final Round of the 2015 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Men.

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09/04/2015 21:25:00
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08/04/2015 20:55:00
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