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06/06/2018 23:59
Estonia, Albania with straight-set wins for dessert
2018 CEV Volleyball Silver European League - Women

Luxembourg, June 6, 2018.  Having already qualified for the Final Four of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Silver European League - Women, Estonia and Albania finished off their successful pool stage campaigns with straight-set victories at home. Austria lost one set at Israel, but still won Pool B. Final Four hosts Sweden suffered a five-set loss at Switzerland. The medals will be distributed in Nyköping on June 16 and 17.


Estonia vs. Kosovo 3-0 (25-15, 25-8, 25-17)

•    Estonia’s coach Andrei Ojamets started the game with a new line-up while the leaders got a day off.  
•    Estonia controlled the game from the very first second. Kosovo earned 15, 8 and 17 points in the three sets.
•    Estonia had 18 aces in the game.

Andrei Ojamets, coach of Estonia: "I am very happy with the way we started the game and how we stayed focused during the match. The only thing to complain about is the block, but overall it was a good effort."

Lorik Ilazi, coach of Kosovo: "Estonia and the rest of the pool were very difficult for us as this level is a new experience for our team. We are trying to improve step by step and to get better for the next year."

Switzerland vs. Sweden 3-2 (25-22, 25-15, 17-25, 21-25, 15-12)

•    Carried by 1,050 spectators, Switzerland secured their first victory in their new home gym in Schönenwerd.
•    The game was incredibly tight, after Switzerland won the first two sets Sweden’s Isabelle Haak showed her superiority and pushed her team with a total of 33 points to the fifth set.
•    In the tie-break Switzerland took advantage of the fantastic support of the local crowd and turned a 7-11 lag into a 15-12 win.
•    Thanks to this victory, Switzerland finished the 2018 CEV Silver European League campaign with a positive experience and can now focus on the preparation of the qualifications for the European Championship, a declared goal of the Swiss team.

Gabi Schottroff, player of Switzerland: "It was great to play in front of our home crowd and I am very happy that we were able to win this game at home. It’s a good feeling to finish the European League with a victory and we are looking forward to playing the qualification for the European Championship in the same gym and hopefully in front of the same enthusiastic crowd."

Isabelle Haak, player of Sweden: "Switzerland took advantage of their home crowd and played with a lot of enthusiasm, which helped them to perform on a high level. Additionally they had new players, which changed a lot compared to the first game against them. Even if our game was a bit up and down - we did a good job."


Albania vs. Georgia 3-0 (25-14, 25-13, 26-24)

•    This is the first time that the Albanian national team reach the final stage of the European League after participating three times in this tournament.
•    Arjola Prenga, the captain of the Albanian team, was the best scorer of the game with 20 points, while Ana Batsatsashvili with nine top scored for Georgia.
•    This was the fourth victory in a row for the home team in the group stage, the fifth overall in the competition.
•    Georgia closed the group stage with only one victory failing to qualify for the final stage.

Altin Martiri, coach of Albania: "I am very happy, we reached the final stage and this is a big satisfaction for us. We played very well in this phase of the tournament, it is our fourth victory in a row and I hope to continue with this rhythm also in the next stage. Today we showed good volleyball, it was not an easy match against Georgia, we played concentrated and we deserved this victory. The next few days will help us recover the energy we need to be ready for the semis. We fulfilled our mission; now let see how far we can go."

Paata Ulumbelashvili, coach of Georgia: "I think we did our best today in the match against Albania, we knew that it would be very difficult to win. We tried to win the third set, but we made some mistakes in the end. In general, we played a good tournament, we have a good team and we hope to perform better in the future."

Israel vs. Austria 1-3 (26-24, 17-25, 22-25, 16-25)

•    In the beginning of the first set Austria took the lead but Israel scored the 'big points' and won the set with 26-24.
•    The second set was an easy win for the team from Austria.
•    Israel only had the lead in the beginning of the third set, the rest of the game the team from Austria was clearly stronger.
•    Best scorer was Srna Markovic of Austria with 23 points.

Svetlana Ilic, coach of Austria: “We have been working hard to finish first in our pool and I think we deserve that. Israel played well in the first set but after that, we changed the pace of the game. As a coach, I am proud of our girls who could come back and win the game, the team is still young and it has been a great competition for them this far. It will be great to play in the Final Four. We have 10 days to prepare, get back to the court and win.”
Giuseppe Cuccarini, coach of Israel: “We started very well, the first set was very good, in the second set, however, we fell mentally and we lacked energy. I am very happy with the young girls. We have two months to plan and prepare for the European Championship qualifiers. We will compose the team with a mix of younger and more experienced players.”

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