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26/08/2012 14:50
Magic Turkish squad claims third consecutive gold medal
2012 CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women

Ankara, Turkey, August 26, 2012. In front of 6’500 electrified spectators at Baskent Hall in Ankara, Turkey outclassed Serbia in straight sets (25-21, 25-22, 25-18) to win their third consecutive gold medal within two years in CEV and FIVB youth and junior competitions. On the other hand, Italy took their fifth medal in a row at CEV Junior Volleyball European Championship – Women since 2004 by beating Russia in straight sets (25-20, 25-23, 25-21).

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Only one year after their magical coups at 2011 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Girls as well as at 2011 FIVB Volleyball Girls' Youth World Championship, Turkish captain and Most Valuable Player Damla Cakiroglu led her team to an undisputed straight-set win versus 2010 runner-up Serbia (25-21, 25-22, 25-18) in today’s gold medal clash in Ankara. Best scorer of the match was Serbia’s captain Bianka Busa with 15 kills, whilst Kübra Akman scored twelve times for Turkey. The home squad booked ten aces, Serbia had only four.
In front of their famous home crowd, the promising Turkish talents started confidently, taking a merited 8-5 lead at the first technical break. Both teams showed some fantastic combinations at the net and outstanding defense actions. The main difference between the two adversaries at the start of today’s gold medal match was their serve. Turkey put a lot of pressure on the Serbian passers, but couldn’t stop Serbia bouncing back at 12-12 with a blistering Natasa Cikiriz winner from back row. However, Turkey kept cool to regain momentum at the second technical time-out (16-13). Serbia’s head coach Ratko Pavlicevic asked for a break at 13-17 to reorganize their game plan. At 21-23, 2010 runner-up Serbia had reduced the gap to two points, but it was already too late. Ceylan Arisan brought up set point with a quick combination on the right side, before Turkish setter Cagla Akin blocked Nikolina Lukic to give the host a hard-earned 1:0 set lead.
However, Serbia came back strongly. At the first technical time-out in set No. 2, the East Europeans already led 8-3. Captain Bianka Busa added some impressive winners to her scorers chart and the two Serbian middle-blockers Mina Popovic and Jelena Trnic were insurmountable at the net. At the second technical break, Serbia was still five points ahead. Turkey tried to take advantage of the imprecise passing of Serbian libero Nadica Dragutinovic, but her Serbian teammates helped her with some remarkable offensive actions. Nevertheless, Turkey came closer with six consecutive points to turn the tables at 19-17. It was the turning point of the second set. Turkey never looked back with Kübra Akman closing it out for the home squat at 25-22.
The story of the game didn’t change in the third set. Turkey jumped out for an 8-5 lead at the first technical stop. Serbia still struggled with passing, forcing setter Sladjana Mirkovic to slow down her game. As a consequence, the Turkish defense players showed some brilliant back court play. At the second technical time-out, the scoreboard already displayed a seven-point gap in Turkey’s favor. The team of head coach Gökhan Edman continued their run. Cakiroglu smashed for 21-13, before some rallies later Akman blocked for a 23-16 Turkish lead. Aktas brought up match point with an impressive winner on the right side, before a Serbian net touch bounced the Turkish ladies in heaven (25-18).        

Turkish head coach Gökhan Edman: "My players made a fantastic job today. They followed our game plan from A to Z. I would like to congratulate my staff members and the Turkish Volleyball Federation for the great efforts they made."
Turkish captain Damla Cakiroglu: "We were ready for today's game. We prepared very well. I guess, we played a great tournament and deserve the gold medal."
Serbia head coach Ratko Pavlicevic: "Congratulations to the Turkish team; they were the better team today. Thank you for hosting us, it was an great organization."
Serbia captain Bianka Busa: "I don't know what to say. Congratulations to Turkey, they played better than we did today."

Earlier today, reigning champions Italy took bronze by defeating Russia in straight sets (25-20, 25-23, 25-21). Best scorer of the match was Italy’s Miriam Sylla with 16 kills, including three block winners.
Titleholders Italy jumped out for a convincing 4-1 lead in the beginning of the first set. Powerhouse Russia needed some time to start engines, but fired back courageously at 6-8 to reduce the gap to two units. With three impressive block kills in a row, Russia leveled the score to 11-11 some rallies later. However, the Russian game was not regular enough to bother the well-prepared Italian team. At 13-18, Russia’s head coach Svetlana Safronova called her ladies off court to adapt some tactical ideas. It didn’t work as the defending champions kept the pace on an imposing level. Russia’s Olesya Nikolaeva sent her serve wide to offer Italy a merited first set win (25-20).
It was not only a fight between the two teams, but also between the two power hitters on both sides. Russia’s Irina Voronkova had scored seven points in the first set, Miriam Sylla six for Italy. At the second technical break in period No. 2, things were still close with Russia leading 16-15. The East Europeans kept a small advantage at 22-21, but Italy stayed cool during “money time” to take a hard-earned 2:0 set lead (25-23).
The plot of the match didn’t change in the third and last set. The Russian team was physically superior, but couldn’t take advantage of their skills. On the other side, the Italian team performed with an excellent fighting spirit, giving their opponents a hard time. Elena Perinelli smashed for a 22-19 Italian lead, before captain Cristina Chirichella ended the bronze medal duel in Italy’s favor (25-21) to offer the “squadra azzurra” its fifth consecutive medal since 2004.  

Italy head coach Marco Mencarelli: “We are very happy with the bronze medal. Yesterday, we lost against a very strong Serbian team. Today, we managed to control the Russian team; we felt confident and positive.”
Italy captain Cristina Chirichella: “We wanted this medal so much; we put all our heart into this match. We played on a high level and made few mistakes.”
Russia head coach Svetlana Safronova: “After yesterday’s defeat versus Turkey, my players couldn’t recover mentally. Italy played a very solid game, congratulations.”    

Final standings 

1. Turkey *
2. Serbia
3. Italy

4. Russia
5. Germany
6. Poland
7. Slovenia
8. Belgium
9. Slovakia
10. The Czech Republic **
11. Bulgaria
12. France  

* qualified for the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Junior World Championship 2013 in the Czech Republic
** qualified as organizer for the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Junior World Championship 2013 in the Czech Republic  

Best Players Awards:

MVP: Damla Cakiroglu (Turkey)
Best Scorer: Irina Voronkova (Russia)
Best Receiver: Elena Perinelli (Italy)
Best Server: Kseniia Ilchenko (Russia)
Best Blocker: Mina Popovic (Serbia)
Best Libero: Dilara Bagci (Turkey)
Best Setter: Sladjana Mirkovic (Serbia)
Best Spiker: Lisa Izquierdo (Germany)  

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News nr. 1 of 64
26/08/2012 14:15:00
Germany and Slovenia finish on a positive note

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