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29/05/2019 18:50
Slovakia overcome Czech Republic in a thriller tiebreak in #EuroLeagueW
CEV Volleyball European Golden League 2019 - Women

Luxembourg, May 29, 2019. The Match of the Leg wasn't called like that for nothing, the Czech Republic and Slovakia went all the way into overtime in this tiebreak game. The Slovakian team had their nerves under control best and got their first victory of the 2019 CEV Volleyball European Golden League - Women. The fight for top spot in Pool C seems to be heading to a Spain - Belarus clash. Both countries won their second matches on Wednesday, in straight sets nonetheless. In Pool B, Austria caused a sensation coming back from two sets down to edge France at the tiebreak.

Pool A

Czech Republic vs. Slovakia 2-3 (25-22, 23-25, 23-25, 25-10, 14-16)

  • It is the first victory of the Slovak national team in the European Golden League 2019.
  • A long, dramatic battle ended in five sets, the tiebreak going into overtime before Slovakia could raise their hands in victory.
  • The best scorer of the match was Andrea Kossanyiova from the Czech Republic with 28 points.
  • Nina Herelova put 17 points on the board for Slovakia.

Ioannis Athanasopoulos, head coach of the Czech Republic: “We played very nervously today and I believe we can play much better. The second, the third set and also the last one, only small details decided the result. We must now continue to work hard.”

Barbora Kosekova, captain of Slovakia. “It was a long exciting match today. We are very pleased to have finally won, especially after we lost the opening match against Ukraine.”

Barbora Kosekova (left), captain of Slovakia.

Sweden vs. Ukraine 0-3 (13-25, 21-25, 12-25)

  • Ukraine are ranked 15th in Europe while Sweden can be found at 34.
  • Sweden’s Rebecka Lazic was supposed to play against former Energa MKS KALISZ teammate Oleksandra Bytsenko, but the Swede was missing due to an injury.
  • Five players in Team Ukraine play for the current national champions back home.
  • Svitlana Dorsman scored the most points of the match with 16. For Team Sweden it was Diana Lundvall that scored the most with 8.
  • Team captain Anna Stepaniuk and Sweden’s Diana Lundvall were MVP’s of the match.

Jonna Wasserfaller, opposite for Sweden: “It was a big step forward for us compared to the last game. We still make too many mistakes in the wrong parts of the game though. We weren’t really there from the start of the game and had to work our way into the match at the start. There are good teams on the other side of the net so we will have to be ready from the start for the upcoming games. We can play when we want to but we fall on the routine and Ukraine played a lot more and better games than us so they take it from past experiences. It is still a lot of new things in our play. The system isn’t there fully so we have to think about every step. We just have to be patient and play aggressive in the future and trust the system.”

Anna Stepaniuk, outside-hitter for Ukraine: “We played good today. The whole team was focussed and played good at every position. I think we were stronger than Sweden mentally and we had many points thanks to effective back spikes and serves. But Sweden played well. In the second set they pushed us very hard and we had to fight. Next time we meet them they will be better prepared and will give us a tough game. I was surprised with my own performance, we had many good performers today but I am happy of course. It gives me motivation to play even better. I love to play and I guess you can see it in my face.”

Pool B

Croatia vs. Hungary 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-17, 25-21)

  • Croatia won their second match of the group stage of the European Golden League.
  • After 99 minutes they beat Hungary 3-1.
  • With this victory Croatia have maximum six points from two matches and take the top spot in Pool B.
  • After the victory over Austria last week, Croatia once again showed that they are in excellent shape.
  • Best player of the match was Lucija Mlinar with 18 points. Samanta Fabris also scored 18 times for Croatia.

Samanta Fabris, opposite for Croatia: “All together we have only had four joint training sessions. In Austria, it was more difficult to get the victory, but today we caught a good start to the match. We all served pretty well and this victory is very important for us. Although we have already qualified for the Final Four as organisers, we want to grow and be in the best possible shape for the Finals. On Saturday we hope to play a better game than we did in Austria. I am sure we as a team, as we work hard and spend more time together, will achieve better results.”

Lucija Mlinar (CRO) scored 18 points.

France vs. Austria 2-3 (25-23, 25-21, 17-25, 20-25, 14-16)

•    Austria caused a sensation on Wednesday night in Tourcoing as they beat France 3-2 in their first away match of the season.
•    Austria showed an amazing fighting spirit as they had done in their previous match in the group against Croatia – but this time they crowned their effort with a sensational victory.
•    Austria fought their way back in the first and second sets, without however completing such comebacks successfully, before seizing the initiative in the third and fourth ones.  
•    It took 117 minutes for Austria to secure a 2-2 equality in the match and the players coached by Svetlana Ilic came back from a four-point deficit in the tiebreak to seal a dramatic victory.
•    Katharina Holzer top scored with 25 points as Juliette Fidon Lebleu and Maëva Orlé registered 15 apiece for France.
•    Austria out-played France with their service (12 aces to seven) as well as with their blocks (15 to 11).
•    On Saturday, Austria will continue their journey in the competition with an away match against pool leaders and Final Four organisers, Croatia.
•    There was a crowd of 2,853 fans in attendance.
•    Lisa Jeanpierre made her European League debut with the French team.

Mallory Steux-Caleyron, setter of France: “I have never played in the north of France with the national team and this was a very special occasion for me because I was born in Roubaix, some 5 km from here. Therefore, a victory would have been very special to me tonight. When I was young, I used to come to this arena many times to follow the matches of TOURCOING Lille Métropole. It is a pity that we lost, especially after leading 2-0, but we need to be more consistent in our game.”

Katharina Holzer, player of Austria: “Our primary goal in the European League is to grow as a team and improve and therefore we did not think we would stance a chance at winning against Croatia or France. Last Saturday we lost 2-3 to Croatia at home – therefore we are extremely happy with this victory. France put a lot of pressure on us and it was especially difficult to deal with it in the first and second sets. It was very nice to play in Tourcoing tonight because the gym was almost full.”

Svetlana Ilic, head coach of Austria: “It is a great day for this team, and we celebrate the greatest result since we started working together. We came back from two sets down while playing before almost 3,000 people – that is a sensation. We trailed 3-7 and 12-14 in the tiebreak, but we cancelled two match balls for France. I think we took the right lessons from our 2-3 loss against Croatia last week.”

Pool C

Belarus vs. Finland 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-17)

  • Finland were the better team at the start of the first set, forcing Belarus head coach Piotr Khilko to take a time-out at 3-8. That changed the situation. The hosts got back in the set and at the end the teams went point by point. Belarus came out on top with 25-22.
  • After that, Belarus were in control of the match, securing the two remaining sets 25-20 and 25-17.
  • The 800 people in attendance saw Katsiaryna Sakolchyk leading the charge with 18 points, as Piia Korhonen managed to score 16 times for Finland.
  • On Sunday, Belarus will host Spain in a direct confrontation for the top spot in Pool C.

Katsiaryna Sakolchyk (BLR, 8) blocking together with Yuliya Miniuk (18).

Katsiaryna Sakolchyk, outside hitter for Belarus: “The game wasn’t easy, because we haven’t got some key players and for a long time hadn’t played together. So we always try to communicate on the court. We did a great job before the game. I think the first game was more difficult emotionally, but now we feel confident.”

Laura Pihlajamäki, middle blocker for Finland: “I think we started pretty good and were leading. But then Belarus found their attack and were really successful at it. I think we have some problems with their aggressive attack and block.”

Azerbaijan vs. Spain 0-3 (21-25, 24-26, 14-25)

  • The Azerbaijan Volleyball team played the second match against Spain. The guests demonstrated a well coordinated attack and could take the first set 25-21.
  • Though Spain was leading for almost the entire second set, Azerbaijan could even the score at 20-20 and 21-21. But it wasn’t enough for victory, as the set ended 26-24 for the Spanish team.
  • The fight was over in the third set, Spain rushed to victory with 25-14.
  • Spain's Ana Escamilla led the way for her team, she produced 19 points, scoring 48% of her attacks.
  • Spain now top Pool C in the European Golden League with six points from two matches. Belarus follow with five points from two victories as well.

Helia Gonzalez, captain of Spain: “It is our second victory in a row. Azerbaijan had some good services and blocks. But they have less experience and that also helped us in our victory.”

Giovanni Caprara, head coach of Azerbaijan: “This match was very difficult, because the level of the match with Belarus and Spain wasn’t the same. They play a fast game, and they have good skills in reception, service and block. This is a good and strong team. But I don’t worry so much, because my players go on training, and I am satisfied with it. We have to improve and we have to learn something from this match, start again to work and do our best. And the third match will be played against Finland in Baku. I think the match with Finland will also be difficult, because they also play a quick game. But we can fight more and try more and can change the result.”

Yana Azimova, setter for Azerbaijan: “First of all I congratulate the Spanish team on their victory. They play quick volleyball, and today it was their advantage. It is our second match with a new coach, today we were really bad. If I compare today’s performance with the one in the first match, today we couldn’t demonstrate a team performance. But we don’t have to stop and we won’t. We still have four matches in the Golden League. The team will go on trying and doing our best for victory. I am sure as a team we can handle these difficulties and our coach supports us in it.”

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31/05/2019 21:00:00
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28/05/2019 23:00:00
Golden #EuroLeagueW at full throttle

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