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12/04/2015 21:50
Poland crown fabulous campaign with gold, Italy and Turkey complete podium
2015 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Men

Sakarya, Turkey, April 12, 2015. Poland’s Volleyball family continues to march from triumph to triumph and their future perspectives look extremely bright, even more after their men’s U19 national team claimed gold at their age-group European Championship as the competition came to a close on Sunday evening in Sakarya. Poland edged Italy by 3:1 (25-15, 25-13, 25-27, 25-21) in a remake of the match these teams had contested in Pool I at the very beginning of the tournament.

This is Poland’s second title in the competition following their gold medal performance from the 2005 edition. Poland have so far claimed eight medals in this competition, with gold in 2005 and 2015, silver in 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2013 and bronze in 1995 and 1997. Italy were also vying for their second title after topping the charts in 1997 but had to be content with silver. The hosts of Turkey finished their home campaign with a 3:1 win (25-19, 25-19, 22-25, 25-18) over Germany in the bronze medal match to secure the first podium finish for their country since the U19 men’s European Championship was established back in 1995.

The top six teams from the competition – Poland, Italy, Turkey, Germany, Russia and Bulgaria – have all qualified to this year’s FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship in Argentina with the Czech Republic claiming the last ticket to this year’s European Youth Olympic Festival after winning the seventh-place final with Serbia.

You can also follow the Championship on Facebook and Twitter, with the official hashtag to be used for all of your posts and tweets being #EuroVolleyU19M.

Final | Poland vs. Italy 3:1 (25-15, 25-13, 25-27, 25-21)

The expected clash of the giants was rather a fight between David and Goliath in the first and second sets. It doesn’t matter which figures were taken into account, Poland was absolutely playing at a much higher level than Italy. Against this Italy almost collapsed and lost both sets in an unexpected clear way by 25-15 and 25-13.
In the third set Poland took an early lead at 6-3 but Italy scored a 3-0 run to level the game at 6-6 with Roberto Cominetti’s spikes and serves. After 6-6, Poland took the initiative again and reached the first technical timeout leading by 8-6. Tomasz Fornal’s serves caused problems to Italy’s defence and the Polish team took a four-point advantage at 10-6. Italy made it 15-15 with some strong blocks but Poland got up again by 16-15 at the second technical timeout. A block and an ace brought up the next three-point advantage for Poland (19-16). The fight that experts and spectators had expected started only in the crunch time of the third set. At 24-22 Italy was going for two set balls but they even missed out on a third opportunity for the 2:1 and Poland’s Tomasz Fornal had the chance to get a match ball for his team. However, a huge Italian block changed the momentum again and brought Italy back on the winning streak at 27-25. Especially Matteo Maiocchi had stepped up beyond recognition scoring 11 points in set 3 after recording just two points in the first two periods.
In the fourth set Italy was able to stretch momentum and blew out the Polish defence with some nice attacks by Matteo Maiocchi for the provisional 5-1. Poland tried everything to level the score but their attackers were regularly stopped by the Italian blocks so the Azzurrini moved the charts first to 19-15 and then to 21-18. Two attack faults and great serves troubled Italy and turned the score around at 24-22 for the boys in red and white shirts. Finally Poland’s Jakub Ziobrowski made the last point to crown with gold a fantastic #EuroVolleyU19M campaign for his team.

Sebastian Pawlik, coach of Poland:
“I feel great. Congrats to my players as they had an amazing European Championship and played really good. Today our good serve made the difference especially in the first and second sets. I didn’t expect a game like this but Italy showed their great class after that and gave us a very hard fight. To win this European Championship is a great success for Volleyball in Poland. I think many people were watching us.”

Jakub Kochanowski, captain of Poland: “I don’t know what to say and find no words for it. I’m so happy that we won the European Championship without losing a game, it is an incredible feeling. Italy played good and with an extremely high block but we found an answer and won the game. For now I can’t really understand what happened; it’s so unreal, yet amazing.”

Mario Barbiero, coach of Italy: “I am happy with our general performance but for today I am angry because the game was in our hands in the fourth set. Poland is a strong team. They won with two or three strong balls in the end. The World Championship will be very competitive because Brazil, Argentina and Iran will all be there. I believe we will have a good tournament in Argentina too.”

Gianluca Galassi, captain of Italy: “Today we did not perform our best. We should have been more aggressive. We did not believe in our chances. It is our fault that they won the first two sets. We should have forced them to a tie break. The victory was within our possibilities but we could not make it happen. After all, we had a good European Championship. This was a special tournament and opportunity to grow for our team. The future stars of European Volleyball participated in this Championship. I thank all of my teammates.”

Bronze Medal | Turkey vs. Germany 3:1 (25-19, 25-19, 22-25, 25-18)

The match for the bronze medal started with strong Turkish serves and two aces that crashed the German team into a 5-8 deficit at the first technical time out. Compared to the last duel between these teams which was held in the preliminary round the Germans had many problems in attack and block and made lots of mistakes. Against this the Turkish team could improve the performance and converted 71% of their attacks with outside spiker Abdullah Cam in a great mode by scoring 12 points (73%) just in the first chapter. The hosts went up to 21-16 and closed it with a 6 point advantage at 25-19.
Things didn’t change in the second one. Turkey gained the lead during the middle of the set (16-13) and took profit from a horrible German attack (27%) and reception (25%). Although the Turkish team couldn’t repeat their strong performance there were no difficult situations they had to handle while German coach Matus Kalny tried to change his team and brought Egor Bogachev into the game. It wasn’t enough to turn the score and to stop Turkey´s Abdullah Cam who made 9 points. The set was finished with the same result at 25-19 for Turkey.
As the game resumed, the German team woke up and took the leadership at the beginning of the third set (5-3). Both teams acted on the same level and fought with all they had and for every ball. This time it was Germany that could withstand the pressure after an ace by the Turkish captain Muzaffer Yönet levelled the set (12-12). A great battle for the win including some long rallies and great saves was decided by Germany at 25-18.
Again the German Team produced a good start and led 6-3 after the first minutes were played. Especially Maximilian Auste who was the best scorer of Germany found his way in the match and was set in by his setter Johannes Tille the right way. Turkish mistakes in attack helped the German side keep the lead till the score board showed the result 13-13. After that, Turkey moved to the front by two points at the second technical break (16-14). It was the moment where the German Team collapsed in all aspects of their game. Some misunderstandings, faults in  attack and a bad reception destroyed their bronze medal dreams. Turkey went up to 23-17 and 24-19, finally a block closed the match at 25-19 and brought out the first medal at the CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Men for a Turkish Team. Abdullah Cam crowned the medal with a great performance scoring 34 points with a success rate of 70%.

Matus Kalny, coach of Germany: “It was a poor start in the first set. We tried everything and changed some players. It was a good reaction in the third set but after that we made too many mistakes again and couldn’t win today.”

Julian Zenger, Libero of Germany: “We made too many mistakes and our defence had some problems during the whole game. But I think it was a good tournament of us and when the time flies I think we will look back on a good European Championship because we are qualified for the World Championship.”

Salih Erdoğan Tavacı, coach of Turkey: “This was an important game for us. Germany defeated us 3-0 in the preliminary round. Before the game, I said “We have to be in the third place for making a start for more success in the future” to my players. And we did it. This tournament will be a very good motivation for us for the World Championship. Congratulations to all my players and thanks to the Turkish Federation for their great support.”

Muzaffer Yönet, captain of Turkey: “We could not reach the final because of our poor game against Poland. Germany defeated us in the preliminary round because of our bad performance but today we proved that we are the better team. I thank all my teammates. We played very well and won the bronze medal. This tournament is a good experience for us before the World Championship. We want to be successful in Argentina.”

Individual Awards

MVP: Bartosz Kwolek (Poland)
Best Scorer: Maximilian Auste (Germany)
Best Blocker: Aleksei Kononov (Russia)  
Best Receiver: Burak Cevik (Turkey)
Best Spiker: Abdullah Cam (Turkey)
Best Server: Matej Smidl (Czech Republic)  
Best Setter: Kamil Droszynski (Poland)
Best Libero: Alessandro Piccinelli (Italy)

Final standing

1.    Poland
2.    Italy
3.    Turkey
4.    Germany
5.    Russia
6.    Bulgaria
7.    Czech Republic
8.    Serbia
9.    France
10.   Spain
11.   Denmark
12.   Romania

Click here for further information on Final Round of the 2015 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Men


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