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11/04/2015 22:22
Italy and Poland fight for the European crown on Sunday
2015 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Men

Sakarya, Turkey, April 11, 2015. The grand finale is fixed. Poland and Italy will fight for the European crown in a clash of the giants tomorrow while the hosts from Turkey and Germany will finish the #EuroVolleyU19M in the game for the bronze medal. It is the first time in history that these teams meet in a final of the CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Men with Italy having won the 1997 edition and Poland having topped the charts in 2005. Against this Germany and Turkey will face for their first bronze medal ever. In the last matches of the day Russia and Bulgaria booked the last tickets for the FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship in Argentina - the top six from the tournament make it there - and have to compete against each other for fifth place in their last match of the tournament tomorrow. The chance to participate in an international highlight will get the Czech Republic and Serbia in the match for the 7th and 8th place. The winner of this game will book a ticket for the European Youth Olympic Festival in Tbilisi, Georgia.

You can also follow the Championship on Facebook and Twitter, with the official hashtag to be used for all of your posts and tweets being #EuroVolleyU19M.

Germany vs. Italy
1:3 (17-25, 22-25, 25-22, 20-25)

Both teams started out with strong serves to trouble the opponents' defence. But it was Italy that convinced with a variable match plan and tried to set the pace with fast attacks in the middle or behind the line. Against this the German team had only their best scorer Maximilian Auste (3 points) who was able to convert some of his attacks but it wasn’t enough to gain a lead in the beginning. Italy went up to 11-6 and held on to it until the first technical time out (16-11). Especially Italy’s attacker  Matteo Maiocchi (6 points) and Gianluca Galassi (5 points) did whatever they wanted and cared for a safe finish in the end of the set at 25-17. The German and Italian fans saw the Azzurrini dominate in the beginning of the second set as they moved the score up to a safe lead (8-3). German coach Matus Kalny changed in Moritz Rauber who had a large share on the victory against Turkey in the last match of the preliminary round to improve the performance in serving. But it wasn’t a move that surprised Italy due to good success rates in reception (75%) and attack (47%) during the second chapter. Although the Germans fought bravely and were in the position to close the deficit (15-16) the Italian players had a large trust in their own strength to decide it with three consecutive points to 19-16 and closed the set at 25-22 as Roberto Cominetti found a way through the porous German block.

In the third set Germany could celebrate the first (!) lead of the match after a good start and set the pace till the first technical time out (8-6). And it seemed that the team of coach Matus Kalny just needed two sets to learn how to play against Italy, a block by Peter Schnabel took on a five point advantage at 15-10. Things changed after two strong serves by Italian Davide Cester that levelled the game at 17-17 and brought his team back into the set. Finally a service fault of Italy (20-24) called for the first German set ball but Italy fended it off. But an unusual lob from Peter Schnabel that dropped into the Italian side of the court decided it all at 25-22.

The match resumed with Germany that made a real quick start and led by five points at the first technical time out (8-3) till Italian middle blocker Gabriele Di Martino made the equalizer at 11-11. The game continued in a balanced way in the advantage for Italy (18-16). It was enough to win the game, Matteo Maiocchi who was the best scorer of Italy in the end with 17 points scored the last point for his team (25-20) to book the ticket for the #EuroVolleyU19M final. It is the first time since 1997 (1st place) that Italy reach the final. Against this Germany missed the chance to qualify for their first one since their first and only appearance in 1999 (2nd place). But it is still the most successful European Championship in history for them. German player Maximilian Auste recorded 26 points and was the best player of the first semifinal.

Matus Kalny, coach of Germany: “Of course we are disappointed after the defeat but my team played a good match after the first set. We were nervous in the beginning and had a lot of respect but it changed after we found a way into the match. I think the second set made the difference as we made some mistakes and lost it. After that we knew that it will be hard to win the game. We want to win a medal at this championship and tomorrow will try everything to fulfil this dream.”

Stefan Thiel, captain of Germany: “Unfortunately we lost the game but it was a good performance from the beginning of the second set. We made a great fight against a strong team and are going for the bronze medal in our last match of the tournament.”

Mario Barbiero, coach of Italy: “I am very happy today because my team played strong volleyball. We were good at serving, attacking and blocking. Germany is a very tall team and has a good defence. Playing against them is always difficult. I hope we will win in the final tomorrow, too. Young activities in Italy are very well organised. We have been preparing this team for three years. Today’s and tomorrow game will be our reward.”

Gianluca Galassi, captain of Italy: “We are very happy and excited. We played a very good match. Our reception in the third set was bad. That is why we lost the set. But I thank my teammates for our reaction in the fourth set. Now we are thinking only for tomorrow’s final game. I hope we will win the gold medal.”

Turkey vs. Poland 0:3 (19-25, 17-25, 23-25)

Turkey and Poland started the match by setting fast attacks through the middle to level the game at 3-3, two blocks in a row and a nice attack from Özgür Türkmen brought out the first lead for the hosts (6-3). The unbeaten team from Poland didn’t look shocked and increased their performance in the following time to turn the score from 8-9 to 16-12 in an outstanding way with great serves and attacks. Turkey had big problems to handle the serves and wasn’t in the position to produce successful attacks. An ace from Polish captain Jakub Kochanowski broke the resistance of the opponents at 21-13. Finally a Turkish misunderstanding in ttack closed the first set at 19-25. The game continued in the same way. Poland troubled the defence of Turkey with strong serves and made good block actions by using this advantage (5-1). It looked like that the Turkish team tried everything to close the deficit but nearly every attack or serve came back from the Polish “chewing gum” defence. The result went up to 16-10 at the second technical time out due to Turkish problems in reception as the statistics showed that (19% of success rate). Against that Poland could improve the performance, Jakub Ziobrowski and Bartosz Kwolek led the scoreboard in the end of the second chapter with 5 points each and they had no problems to finish it in a clear way at 25-17 after Turkey made another mistake.

The crowd saw a well-balanced start of the third set (8-8). The teams battled for every point and made some brilliant rallies on the same level. There was no team that could go up by more than two points until the crunch time of the game began (23-23). A thrilling final phase ended with the first Polish match ball at 24-23 which was decided by a block of Tomasz Fornal that scored the last point and cared for a wild atmosphere on the side of his team. Best player of the game was Jakub Ziobrowski with 18 points followed by his teammate Bartosz Kwolek who scored 15 times. For Turkey only Özgür Türkmen achieved a double-digit score with 10 points. 

Sebastian Pawlik, coach of Poland: “Congrats to my team. We made a really good game and played well in reception and attack. I hope we will win the trophy and it will be ok for me if we can do it in the like in the preliminary round against a strong Italian team.”

Jakub Kochanowski, captain of Poland: “It was a tough game, because Turkey is a very good team but today we were better in all elements and deserved the win. We played against Italy in the first game and I hope that we can finish the tournament in the same way to win the European Championship.”

Salih Erdoğan Tavacı, coach of Turkey: “We started the game well and performed well. But we made too many mistakes in the crunch time and lost two sets with big difference. In the last set we were very competitive but we could not use the opportunities. We are very sorry. Now our aim is to win the bronze medal against Germany tomorrow.”

Muzaffer Yönet, captain of Turkey: “We wanted to reach the final in front of our spectators but we were not in the mode for a win today. We played good but made some important mistakes. We fought and gave everything but I was not enough. We want to gain the bronze medal tomorrow.”

Czech Republic vs. Russia
0:3 (22-25, 24-26, 11-25)

The first duel for a ticket to the FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship in Argentina started with a Russian team in a furious way that took a four-point lead (6-2) after the beginning of the first set. But the Czech team wanted to show that they are able to compete with their neighbours and set for their best attacker Matej Smidl (7 points) time and again. It worked really well as they made the equalizer at 8-8. During the middle of the set the Czech Republic took on the advantage due to a good working offence and went up to 16-12. But four serves in a row which offered the Czechs problems in the reception cared for a Russian comeback (21-21). In the end a lob by Ivan Polianskii brought the first Russian set ball which found the way into their opponent’s field and closed the set at 25-22.
The Czech Republic came out with a lot of spirit in the second set and took on a four point advantage (5-1). Russia responded in the same way like the Czechs did it in the first chapter and levelled it at 6-6. It was a tied game until the team of coach Jiri Zach scored four consecutive points to 22-18 and took actually the winning track. As the score board showed the result of 24-21 they had three set balls but there was no attack that they could convert anymore. Russia, on the other hand, scored five points in a row till Anton Semyshev finished it at 26-24 to leave back some shocked Czech players who didn’t understand what all had happened in the past minutes. The defeat had a huge impact on their way of playing in the third set. Russia had no problems to overpower them in a clear way and led 16-7 at the second technical time out. The Russian advantage became bigger in the following time, and the game was ended by Aleksandr Melnikov at 25-11 to book his team the ticket to Argentina. The performance in block and attack made the difference in the match. Russia led the statistics with 13 blocks and 62% successful attacks while the Czech Republic reached only 5 blocks and a quote of 36% in attack. The best scorer of the match was Czech rising star Matej Smidl with 19 points.

Mikhail Nikolaev, coach of Russia: “We are glad to qualify for the World Championship. It was a strategically important game. Because it was our main goal after losing in the pool stage. In the preliminary round, we were not so good mentally. We regret not to be in the semis. But now we are happy.”

Petr Golovin, captain of Russia: “We are very happy because we qualified for the World Championship. It was a very tough game. The Czech Republic is a very strong team. We are happy after this victory.”

Jiri Zach, coach of Czech Republic: “I am totally disappointed. We were just about to win the second set and had three set balls but the players made too many mistakes. After this our effort went down and we had no chance to come back against Russia. Tomorrow the game for the Qualification for the European Youth Olympic Festival is very important for us. We need to compete in these tournaments with the best teams because we are not qualified for the World Championship now.”

Kristian Cervinka, captain of Czech Republic: “It was our goal here to take the ticket to the World Championship but we couldn’t manage it. We made too many mistakes today and had problems in all elements. But we must win tomorrow to book the ticket to the European Youth Olympic Festival.” 

Serbia vs. Bulgaria 1:3 (25-23, 17-25, 22-25, 24-26)

The last match of the day and another duel for the last ticket to the FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship in Argentina began in they right way for Bulgaria that set the pace at the first technical timeout of the opening set (8-7). Bulgaria’s outside spiker Plamen Shekerdzhiev (read his story) made the difference in the beginning and was set in with nearly every ball by scoring 8 points in this chapter but it was the #9 Stefan Ivanov who gained the first three point lead for his team (15-12). Bulgaria was in the position to hold the gap till Serbia’s Nikola Zugic turned the score around with three float serves to 22-21. A thrilling final phase, marked with ups and downs on both sides, was decided by a Serbian block at 25-23.
After this setback Bulgaria took initiative right from the beginning of the second set and wrapped up the result to 8-5 and 21-13, crashing the hopes of Serbia that they would book the ticket for the World Championship in straight sets. Plamen Shekerdzhiev made the last point at 25-17 to top the statistics again with 6 points.
The third set followed nearly the same plot as the first. Bulgaria took an early advantage and profited from Serbia’s serving errors (6) and their weak attack (38%) to lead by four points at the second technical time out (16-12). Things didn’t chang in the following time as Stefan Ivanov scored the last point at 25-22.
Serbia tried to react in the last set and struggled for the equalizer during the whole time. It was a well-balanced chapter that the spectators enjoyed and Serbia was also able to take the lead at 22-21. But in the end again their own service faults deprived them of the chance to win. Bulgaria used the second set ball to end the match at 26-24 and could start celebrating their ticket to Argentina. Serbia’s outside spiker Miran Kujundzic scored 22 points and was the most prolific player of the game.

Milan Djuricic, coach of Serbia: “We were here to qualify to the World Championship but we fell short of this goal. We are very sorry. We congratulate Bulgaria. There is nothing to say about the game. We played well and I am satisfied with our game.”

David Mehic, captain of Serbia: “We started very well into the game. But in the second set, it was not the same game. We really wanted to qualify for the World Championship which will be held in Argentina but we could not.”

Dragan Ivanov, coach of Bulgaria: “After we lost our chance to participate in the semis it was our main goal to take the ticket for the World Championship. It is so important for these guys to make the experience of such an event and I am very happy that we won today. Our serve made the difference today.”

Radoslav Parapunov, captain of Bulgaria: “I am happy for this victory. We played against a good Serbian team but our reception and serve were better today. It is such a great feeling that we got the ticket for the World Championship. Actually there are no words that can explain my feelings right now. It’s just great.”

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

News nr. 3 of 42
12/04/2015 15:31:00
Czech Republic catch the last ticket to the European Youth Olympic Festival, Russia end in fifth place
10/04/2015 17:49:00
Turkish coach wants his young players to please their country people

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