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05/04/2015 20:30
Russian girls are the new U18 women's European champions!
2015 CEV U18 Volleyball European Championship - Women

Plovdiv, Bulgaria, April 5, 2015. The Russian girls are the new young queens of European Volleyball. The squad trained by Svetlana Safronova became continental champions after beating Serbia 3:2 in the sensational final of the 2015 CEV U18 Volleyball European Championship – Women held in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv. The coronation of the Russian team as the new title holders closed a thrilling last chapter of a memorable event that crowned the upcoming stars of the sport. The team of Belgium completed the final podium in third position following an impressive victory over Turkey in the bronze medal match. 

The top six at the end of the 12-team tournament – apart from the four teams starring in the finals, this also applies to Italy and Germany who ended up in fifth and sixth place, respectively – all qualified for this year’s FIVB U18 Girls’ Volleyball World Championship coming up later this summer in Peru. The top seven – those mentioned above plus the Czech Republic – all join hosts Georgia for the Volleyball competition of this year’s European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Tbilisi. 

Final Matches 1-4

Gold medal match

Serbia vs Russia 2:3 (25-16, 21-25, 22-25, 25-23, 7-15)

Serbia and Russia sparkled in a spectacular final match in Plovdiv that could not be decided until the very last moments of the clash. The Russian squad confirmed its potential, as demonstrated throughout the tournament, and earned the status of new continental champions after upsetting Serbia in the emotional title-deciding match of the tournament. 

The Serbian girls exhibited a stronger conviction in the first set and their successful balance of attacks and blocks took Russia by surprise. Katarina Lazovic and Anastasija Sekulic contributed with their spikes and their powerful conclusion of the actions to lead Jovo Cakovic‘s girls to a compelling 25-16. Nonetheless, the Russian girls were able to recover after the first period and applied the authority in blocking and a pressuring serving system to put a momentary halt to their rivals’ efficiency (21-25).  

The Russian side used the momentum acquired in the previous period to maintain the lead in the third set, despite their rivals' attempts to change the pattern of the game. The squad trained by Svetlana Safronova also counted on the essential participation of Angelina Lazarenko and Anastasia Stalnaya, who established predominance in offensive actions that allowed Russia to close the third period 22-25. The Serbian girls worked during the remaining of the clash in search of a reaction, and managed to overcome their rivals’ mighty wall over the net in order to win the extremely disputed end of the fourth set and send the match to the tie-breaker (25-23). 

After their exertion to force the fifth set, Jovo Cakovic’s girls could not find a way to handle the pressure of the tie-break. Angelina Lazarenko turned then into the most powerful player on the court, and either in attack or block, her sensational display sent her team to a compelling dominance in the period (7-15) and directly to the European crown, receiving a well-earned MVP award. 

Russia wins gold in Plovdiv and becomes the new U18 women's European champions after a terrific final match. 

“It was a very difficult game for us, but I am glad that it finished with a victory. At the end of the fourth set, we made stupid mistakes, as we could have won 3:1, but in the fifth set we played as I want always to play,” declared Svetlana Safronova coach of Russia, while captain Daria Ryseva added:  “I am very happy with this success; it was a hard game and we took revenge for the loss in the preliminary pool round.”  

“I want to congratulate the Russian team for the title, and congratulations to my girls, because today we fought to the last point. We made some mistakes and maybe that was the key of our defeat. We are a very young team and I think that we have a good future ahead,” commented Jovo Cakovic, coach of Serbia. “I am not happy with the result. It was a very tough match, nice for the spectators and very difficult for the players. We had our chances, but we could not use them,” stated captain Katarina Lazovic.

2015 CEV U18 Volleyball European Championship - Women Dream Team: 

MVP:  Angelina Lazarenko (Russia)
Best Setter:   Alessia Orro (Italy)
Best Opposite:  Britt Herbots (Belgium) 
Best Middle Blocker:   Angelina Lazarenko (Russia)
Second Best Middle Blocker:   Elizaveta Kotova (Russia)
Best Outside Spiker:   Tutku Burcu Yüzgenç (Turkey)
Second Best Outside Spiker:   Katarina Lazovic (Serbia)
Best Libero:   Tijana Milojevic (Serbia)

Bronze medal match

Belgium vs Turkey 3:0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-23)

Belgium won the bronze medal in the tournament after defeating Turkey 3:0 in the match for third place. The young Yellow Tigers produced a sensational performance in the clash and clearly surpassed the Turkish squad in a faultless demonstration of effective Volleyball. 

Following to the very end the efficient and successful principles that have characterised their outstanding display throughout the tournament, the Belgian girls presented an astounding level of performance in the first set. The good organisation from the serving line and the restless cooperation in defence allowed Belgium to storm past a staggered Turkish team (25-16). 

The Turkish girls tried to stop their rivals’ exhibition while searching to compensate their imbalances with a greater offensive variety. However, Belgium did not concede anything and Fien Callens’ girls continued with their fail-safe demonstration of excellence. The spikes by Britt Herbots completed Belgium’s efforts and the young Yellow Tigers put a surprising 2:0 in the scoreboard (25-16). While the Turkish side braced for a recovery, Belgium provided no options for the comeback. The effectual serves from the Belgian girls and the subsequent reception problems of their rivals only paved the way for the victory of the inspired team of Belgium. In the third set, Fien Callens’ girls proved their fighting spirit when they scored five consecutive points to close the set 25-23 and seal their 3:0 victory. Belgium is the 2015 CEV U18 Volleyball European Championship – Women bronze medallist. 

“I did not expect to win a bronze medal! It is sort of a sweet revenge against Turkey as we lost against them in the pool. Everyone in our team worked very hard for this success. We prepared great for this long tournament, but the most important thing is that we grew up as a team match after match,” commented Fien Callens, coach of Belgium. “I am very happy with this victory and with this medal. We showed that we are able fight to the end for each point and this is the reason for our victory,” declared captain Charlotte Coppin. 

“Today we played very bad. After our defeat yesterday, we could not recover mentally. I think that my players have learned a very important lesson in this tournament,” stated Mehmet Nur Bedestenloglu, coach of Turkey. 

Classification matches 5-8

Match 7-8

Czech Republic vs Poland 3:0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-22)

The team of the Czech Republic finished in seventh place their campaign at the 2015 CEV U18 Volleyball European Championship – Women after beating Poland 3:0 in the opening match of the last day of competition in Plovdiv. The Czech squad showed a higher ability than its rivals to overcome the defeat of the previous day and presented an efficient performance in its way to the victory. Using a solid blocking system as main argument, and guided by Anna Sucha’s spikes, the Czech girls imposed a pace of playing that Poland could not follow. The squad trained by Ales Novak took an early lead at the beginning of each set, as Poland struggled to counteract the powerful attacks from the other side of the net. The spikes by the Czech offensive aces put Ales Novak’s pupils on the road to victory and the Czech Republic achieved the 3:0 that represented the seventh position in the final standings.   

“We are happy that we won this match. This is the first game in this tournament that we have played concentrated throughout the three sets and I think that we played better than the Polish team,” stated Ales Novak, coach of the Czech Republic.

“We were influenced by our loss against Germany yesterday. We made mistakes in serve and reception, maybe in more than 26 points in this match. I used many players today because some girls did not have the required energy,” declared a disappointed Andrzej Pec, coach of Poland.

Match 5-6

Italy vs Germany 3: 1 (25-12, 21-25, 25-21, 25-14)

The Italian team upset Germany 3:1 and reached the fifth position of the tournament in a disputed match that was efficiently controlled by the Azzurrine. The squad directed by Marco Mencarelli stepped into the court with the intention of taking the fast track to the victory and presented a sensational level of performance in the first period, as the Italian girls constructed their dominance by foolproof serves and the unerring contribution from Paola Ogechi Egonu. Germany had to wait until the second set to activate its options in the match. Jens Tietböhl’s girls recovered their pose in the game following the forceful start of their rivals in the first set, and through Hanna Orthmann’s spikes, the German squad was able to recuperate their level so to offer an alternative to the clash. Nonetheless, despite Germany’s opposition, Italy went straight to victory stating its efficiency in the third period. Alessia Orro impressed with her direction of the team and allowed Paola Ogechi Egonu and Vittoria Alice Piani to score and to put the squad on the way to the final 3:1. Italy ends in fifth position and closes the tournament on a high note. 

“I am very pleased with the victory. We only had problems in the second set when the German team served very well.  I am satisfied with the fifth place and with our general performance in the tournament,” commented Marco Mencarelli, coach of Italy, while captain Alessia Orro stated: “I am satisfied with the fifth position in the final standing. Our goal was to be in the final four, but it changed after the matches in our pool. However, we are happy with the fact that we achieved our other big goal, to qualify for the World Championship.”

“We played very bad in defense and in reception. Italy is a very strong team and they played at a very high level today,” declared Jens Tietböhl coach of Germany. “We had no reception in this match; maybe we left our reception in the dressing room,” stated Pia Leweling, captain of Germany.

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News nr. 2 of 41
08/04/2015 13:30:00
Angelina Lazarenko, imposing MVP of the U18 women's European Championship
05/04/2015 12:00:00
Alessia Orro, "Amazon" of the U18 women's European Championship

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