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22/06/2019 17:20
Czech Republic celebrate a second ever #EuroLeagueW title
CEV Volleyball European Golden League 2019

Varaždin, Croatia, June 22, 2019. Seven years after their first victory in the CEV Volleyball European Golden League, Czech Republic are back on the top step of the podium. The Czech team claimed their second ever gold medal after beating the hosts Croatia in four sets. Andrea Kossanyiova was named the MVP of the tournament after delivering another great performance. The outside-spiker kept her position as the second best scorer in the tournament with 138 points overall. Belarus finished the competition with a bittersweet bronze medal after defeating Spain in straight sets. Belarus qualified to the Final Four as the leader of Pool C alongside their third place match opponent Spain, who joined the final phase as the best runner-up of the League Round. This is the first #EuroLeagueW medal for Belarus in the history of competition. As for the two top teams, Czech Republic and Croatia will now travel to Peru to compete in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Women's Challenger Cup in a bid to join the FIVB Volleyball Nations League next year. 

Gold medal match 

Czech Republic vs. Croatia 3-1 (18-25, 25-15, 25-22, 25-22)

• The two opening sets were a tale of big point advantages with Croatia and Czech Republic establishing the domination pretty quickly into each set. 
• Czech Republic’s response in the second set forced coach Daniele Santarelli to bring in substitution players, but Nika Stanovic, Lara Stimac and Sanja Popović-Gamma weren’t able to turn the odds in Croatia’s favour and Czech Republic won the second set 25-15. 
• Croatia returned to the original starting six and seemed to get their rhythm back. A time out for Czech Republic at 10-14 worked out well for the team as they managed to bring the score to 13-15. They further seized an opportunity going 19-18 ahead and after a heated finishing act, won the set 25-22. 
• Czech Republic survived initial pressure from Croatia at the start of the last set before they tied the score at 22-22. From that point onward Czech Republic switched the fourth gear, winning the set 25-22 and sealing the final victory at #EuroLeagueW.  
• Andrea Kossanyiova stepped in for Czech Republic yet again as the top scorer of the match with 21 points (18 spikes and three aces). On Croatian side Samanta Fabris and Karla Klaric delivered 16 for the hosting team. 
• Both teams worked head to head in blocks, scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively. Croatia performed better at the service line, scoring eight aces to six of Czech Republic.

Andrea Kossanyiova was named the MVP of the competition after delivering another great performance for her team. The outside-spiker who was in the golden squad from the 2012 #EuroLeagueW, kept the second position among best scorer of the entire competition, scoring 138 points overall - 13 shy of Ana Escamilla of Spain (151).

Karla Klaric, outside-spiker of Croatia: “We were doing unnecessary mistakes in important moments of the game, which cost us the victory in the end. It’s hard to explain our performance, there were moments when we played great and then we didn’t play at all. Then we were making a comeback to start losing again… Perhaps we need more experience. We are a young group and I think we gave our best. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough against Czech Republic.” 

Ioannis Athanasopoulos, coach of Czech Republic: “I took a time out in the fourth set when the Croatians were leading and I told my team that they have to believe in themselves, fight point by point and don’t look at the score. If we push a little bit with our serve, we can come back. The girls did it and I have to congratulate them again.  Croatia is a great team, they fought very hard. The third and fourth sets were a real derby, we stayed strong mentally in the difficult moments and that’s why we won today.”

Bronze medal match

Belarus vs. Spain 3-0 (26-24, 25-17, 25-18)

• Spain lost two chances to win the opening set as Belarus managed to go on a four-point streak from 22-24 to 26-24, turning the score in their favour. 
• Belarus kept the momentum and produced an eight-point lead in the second set. Spain decreased the gap to 22-17, but Belarus stayed focused and won the set at 25-17.
• The Belarusian team did not let the victory slip out of their hands, developing a 20-15 advantage before they won the third set at 25-18.
• Ana Escamilla was the best scorer of the match with 23 points, while Belarus put a collective effort with Anastasiya Harelik scoring 10 points, followed by Katsiaryna Sakolchyk with nine points as well as Nadzeya Stoliar and Tatsiana Markevich with eight points each. 
• Belarus performed well in block, winning nine points in stuff blocks to Spain’s five. 

Mabel Caro, middle-blocker of Spain: “Of course we are upset about the lost match. We made a lot of mistakes and it was caused by a good performance from the Belarusian side. They worked really well in block and made it difficult for us to pass the ball. I think both of our games at this tournament were similar, but today we couldn’t fight back.” 
Click here for more information about #EuroLeagueW. 

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