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09/07/2017 23:00
Ukraine triumph with historic women’s European League title
2017 CEV Volleyball European League - Women

Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, July 9, 2017. On Sunday evening, Ukraine claimed also the re-match of the 2017 CEV Volleyball European League – Women ‘grand finale’ with Finland 3-1 (17-25, 25-23, 27-25, 25-16), thus taking the title in their first appearance in the competition. Ukraine had previously won the first round of the finals, rallying to a 3-1 victory in Helsinki last Wednesday. As a result, two sets were enough for Ukraine to secure the crown but the Finns played with much courage and were close to extending the series to a golden set. It has been a terrific week for Ukraine’s Volleyball family since their men’s national team had stood on the podium of the European League as well, doing so at last week’s finals in Gentofte, Denmark.

The teams exchanged the lead back and forth in the early stages of the first set and Ukraine tried to impose their rhythm especially with the help of Anna Stepaniuk. Finland, however, rallied to a 16-10 lead after a number of aces by Noora Kosonen and Piia Korhonen before closing the set 25-17. The second set was an incredibly close affair up to 22-all before Ukraine captain Nadiia Kodola finished the next rally for the home side; Finland made it 23-23 but two straight mistakes by the visitors helped Ukraine level the match.

At this stage, Ukraine needed to win one more set to emerge as the winners of this year’s European League. On the other hand, the Finns had their last opportunity to stay alive in the competition. Ukraine secured a small lead at 14-11 after two blocks killed by Karyna Denysova and stayed in control at 19-15 following a great spike by Kodola. However, the Finns blocked three times in a row and turned the score around at 23-21. Finland had a first set ball, but Ukraine showed their character to secure a 27-25 win and with it, the European League title as well in their maiden appearance in the competition.

The fourth set did not have any significance but Ukraine played with much confidence towards a comprehensive 25-16 win, with Stepaniuk scoring the last point and later on receiving the award for the Most Valuable Player of the finals.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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