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03/06/2018 23:46
Turkey off to #EuroLeagueM Final Four following Sunday’s results
2018 CEV Volleyball Golden European League - Men

Luxembourg, June 3, 2018.  Turkey became the first team to join hosts Czech Republic into the Final Four line-up of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Golden European League - Men. Their only remaining possible challenger in Pool B, Ukraine, lost at Slovenia and dropped out of contention. Elsewhere the race heats up before the last leg of pool play on Wednesday, with Estonia still holding a slight edge over Belgium in Pool A despite losing in straight sets at Kortrijk on Sunday, and Portugal taking pole position on Pool C after a 3-2 rollercoaster victory over main rival Finland.


Belgium vs. Estonia 3-0 (29-27, 25-19, 25-19)

•    The Estonians started motivated and concentrated at the crowded Lange Munte in Kortrijk. They were leading in the first set thanks to the trio consisting of Timo Tammemaa, Robert Täht and Renee Teppan. A lot of individual faults occurred on both sides and after 15-15, it became a thrilling set. Serves of Igor Grobelny, attacking points of Jolan Cox, Sam Deroo and Wannes De Beul gave the Red Dragons four set points. Two blocks of Arno Van de Velde at the end decided the first set.
•    The Red Dragons rode the momentum onto a 5-1 lead in the second set. The two teams played more in balance with each other, with attacks of Kristo Kollo on one side and big serves of Grobelny and Arno Van de Velde, together with an intelligently playing De Beul on the other side. But the difference in the score did not change: 20-15 with the help of an enthusiastic home crowd. The experience of captain Deroo and Gert Van Walle helped their team on the way to five consecutive set points. The first one resolved the set due to an individual fault of Tammemaa.
•    In the third set Estonia had to deal with the blasting shots of Van Walle and Grobelny and the excellent blocking efforts of Van de Velde. The visitors tried some changes in their team looking forward to their decisive game against Slovakia on Wednesday.
•    Igor Grobelny was the best scorer of the match with 14 points for Belgium.

Igor Grobelny, player of Belgium: “We played well today. We still have some working points, especially in our serving. But perfect is practically impossible in Volleyball. I didn’t get a special mission from coach Andrea Anastasi. I tried to be concentrated during the whole game, which was a problem in our previous match against Slovakia. But we still have some time to improve before the World Championship.”

Kert Toobal, captain of Estonia: “Today Belgium were better. They were more aggressive than in Estonia. The key of the match was the first set. We were leading at the beginning, but we couldn’t take the set at the end. We saved four set points and that was it. We didn’t use the good moments to our advantage. Our team was not so efficient in serving as it was in the home game. At the end we tried some changes in the team, preparing for our last game against Slovakia. Normally we will win that game in front of our own audience. I see no reasons why we should not win if we play at our normal level. And I don’t think nerves will influence us.”


Slovenia vs. Ukraine 3-2 (25-20, 21-25, 21-25, 25-23, 16-14)

•    Slovenia’s players quickly upset Ukraine’s team by claiming the first set and finishing Ukraine’s dream of a Final Four appearance.
•    The Ukrainians did not lose their spirit and after a good fight claimed the next two sets.
•    Ziga Stern and Jan Klobucar ended the match as the top scorers for the home team (16 and 14 points, respectively) as Slovenia made their comeback and took a well-deserved 3-2 victory.
•    Ukraine’s Oleh Plotnytskyi and Volodymyr Tevkun were the best scorers of the match with 20 and 19 points, respectively.
•    Despite Sunday’s victory, which is a confidence booster before the last match with the Netherlands, the young Slovenian team remains at the bottom of the standings in Pool B.

Samo Miklavc, coach of Slovenia: “We are really happy with claiming the first victory in this difficult schedule. Finally we managed to deliver a better performance and I think we deserved the victory today.”

Jan Kozamernik, player of Slovenia: “It was a tough match from the beginning. We did a really good job as a team. We served well, especially at the end, in the fifth set. We wanted this win and we got it. Now we are looking forward and hoping for the next one, if possible.”


Portugal vs. Finland 3-2 (25-22, 21-25, 25-21, 28-30, 15-10)

•    The match started with the two teams switching places in the lead of the scoreboard, but two serving points from Tommi Siirilä gave a small 15-13 advantage to Tuomas Sammelvuo’s team. Strongly supported by their fans, Portugal recovered and their setter Miguel Rodrigues closed the set at 25-22 with an attack at the second touch.

•    In the second set, Samuli Kaislasalo’s block gave a 15-13 advantage to the Finns, and afterwards an attack from the back line by Elviss Krastins increased it to 23-19. Finland maintained the lead till the end of the set, which came with an attack by Antti Mäkinen for 25-21.

•    Portugal reacted well and soon took a 5-3 lead with two points in attack by Phelipe Martins. Their confidence, as well as the advantage on the scoreboard, kept growing until Joao Simoes closed the set at 25-21.

•    A block from Finland cooled down the spirit of the Portuguese fans, but not of the Portuguese players. Winning by 24-22, Finland saw Hugo Silva’s team draw level, but were still able to close the set at 30-28 in their favour.

•    The tie-break was played point for point through 6-6. The third individual block by Filip Cveticanin gave a two-point advantage to Portugal. A serve from Cveticanin again disturbed Finland and placed Portugal on their way to the victory - 15-10.

•    Finland’s Samuli Kaislasalo, with 22 points, was the best scorer of the match, followed by Portugal’s Alexandre Ferreira with 21.

Filip Cveticanin, player of Portugal: “We played a good match and reached our main goal to take the lead of the pool. Now I call upon this amazing audience to be present as it was today, at the match against Czech Republic on Wednesday, because they are an extra motivation for our team.”

Tuomas Sammelvuo, coach of Finland: “More than the result, we have to think about the next ball and continue to develop our game, specifically the block/defence, mainly when we face a team such as Portugal that received very well.”

Spain vs. Czech Republic 1-3 (25-22, 24-26, 21-25, 21-25)

•    Spain made a good start, unlike what happened in Prague. The Spaniards won the first set.
•    The Czech Republic came back with a solid performance in serving and blocking to clinch the victory.
•    Spain accused their lack of experience in the final moments of every set.
•    The two opposites, Spain’s Andres Villena and Czech Republic’s Jan Hadrava, had an awesome scoring duel and made 32 and 26 points, respectively.
•    The Czech Republic raised to the third place in the pool after their second win.

Jorge Fernandez, player of Spain: “We went down in the match after a good start. The second and the third sets were key to the match. We did not know how to win important points. After the third set, our confidence was down and the Czech serves damaged our performance.”
Jan Hadrava, player of Czech Republic: “I am happy because we won. We knew Spain were a tough team and it was an important game for us, as we are preparing for the Final Four at home. It is hard to say what the Final Four will be like. There are no easy opponents. We have one more match to prepare.”

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News nr. 7 of 27
05/06/2018 20:00:00
Four teams to battle for two spots to make it to Golden #EuroLeagueM Finals
02/06/2018 23:36:00
Turkey secure Golden #EuroLeagueM Final Four spot despite first loss

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