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01/10/2017 18:57
Serbia net second European crown in history, Bošković takes MVP honours
2017 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Women

Baku, Azerbaijan, October 1, 2017. Serbia capped a perfect campaign at the 2017 edition of the women’s EuroVolley with a 3-1 victory over the Netherlands (25-20, 25-22, 18-25, 25-18) to claim their second European title in history – to go with the gold medal they won at home in Belgrade in 2011. The ‘grand finale’ of the tournament was a truly exciting match, with the best of women’s Volleyball on offer – but Serbia were too much to stand even for the highly motivated Dutch team, who could be happy with winning back-to-back silver medals from Europe’s premier Volleyball competition. Only three years after claiming the U19 European title, Serbia’s superstar Tijana Bošković can call herself a ‘senior’ European champion at the age of 20 – crowning her journey in the competition with the award for the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

The Netherlands and Serbia added another chapter to their rivalry – but for the first time there was as much at stake as the continental crown. They had crossed swords only a week earlier in the pool phase in Ganja – where Serbia had stormed to a 3-0 victory, one of four such wins out of the five matches they had contested at #EuroVolleyW going into the ‘grand finale’. Both these teams stand out for the depth and quality of their roster – and this became obvious from the early stages of the match with the Netherlands claiming a very small edge (8-6) before Serbia slowly but surely increased their tempo (17-14) with Tijana Bošković, Brankica Mihajlović and Stefana Veljković all rising to the occasion. Their block was working just fine and they played with such an intensity that even the highly motivated Dutchwomen could not keep up with such impressive pace (25-20).

The Netherlands put up a fight – as much as they had done back in the pool game – and looked much determined not to make life easy for Serbia. However, the ‘Oranjes’ were not able to stand the challenge brought by their mighty opponents – who spiked powerfully and cleverly from every angle to double their lead in the match (25-22).

The team coached by Jamie Morrison played courageously in the third set – their efforts resulting in 10-6 and 13-8 advantages, which looked promising towards cementing their chances of re-opening the fate of the game. A five-point lead at the second technical timeout was something to capitalise on for the Netherlands – and they did so as they dominated the late stages of the set (25-18).


Serbia’s had just dropped their second set in the tournament but their scoring machine promptly resumed its march in the fourth set – and this applied especially to the likes of Bošković, Mihajlović and Veljković. However, the Netherlands fought with all they had, thus contributing to some of the most spectacular and entertaining rallies the audience witnessed in the match. Veljković stamped a monster block on Celeste Plak to make it 14-11 Serbia’s way and shortly afterwards Bošković added a single block on Anne Buijs to extend the Serbian lead. It was just the opposite than in the previous set – this time Serbia had a five-point advantage at the second technical break and they were not to stop anymore with MVP Bošković deservedly sealing their 3-1 victory (25-18).



Dream Team


Outside Spikers: Brankica Mihajlovic (SRB), Anne Buijs (NED)
Middle Blockers: Eda Erdem Dündar (TUR), Stefana Veljkovic (SRB)
Opposite Spiker: Lonneke Slöetjes (NED)
Setter: Laura Dijkema (NED)
Libero: Valeriya Mammadova (AZE)
MVP: Tijana Bošković (SRB) 



Final standing

1.    Serbia *
2.    The Netherlands *
3.    Turkey **
4.    Azerbaijan *
5.    Italy *
6.    Russia *
7.    Belarus *
8.    Germany *
9.    Bulgaria *
10.    Poland **
11.    Croatia
12.    Czech Republic **
13.    Ukraine
14.    Belgium
15.    Hungary **
16.    Georgia

*Qualified to Final Round of 2019 edition
**2019 #EuroVolleyW hosts, Czech Republic TBC

Quotes

Tijana Bošković, player of Serbia and MVP: “We are European champions, this feeling is incredible!  We played really well, like one, as a team from the beginning.  We lost only two sets from the start of the European Championship.  We worked five months for this and you can see the result.”

Tijana Malesevic, outside hitter of Serbia: “I am so happy that we reached our goal. We started the European Championship with only one wish... and that was to win it. We did it in a very special way losing only two sets and being so dominant. I am so proud of us.”

Zoran Terzić, head coach of Serbia: “I still have to fully soak it up; obviously we are very happy and satisfied. We are very proud for being European champions, and especially with the way we have become European champions. We almost did not provide any opponent with an opportunity to beat us – and because of this, I am very proud of my team, my players, my staff and everybody else. Of course, it will be very difficult to repeat this kind of performance but I hope we cannot only stay where we are, but still grow because this is almost a new team. I am sure that we can play even better than we did here – so that we can take a medal from next year’s World Championship in Japan.” 


Maret Balkestein-Grothues, team captain of the Netherlands: “I am of course proud of my team. Two years ago, we were in the final as well and Russia beat us up. This time we made another step forward and we got closer to the gold medal. I think the details made the difference today and we could have been cleaner in that – but anyway Serbia played better tonight and it is a deserved win for them. Tomorrow I will go back to Holland and on Tuesday, I will go to Poland to start working with my club Chemik POLICE. On Friday we have the Supercup, so I will just continue from here.”

Lonneke Slöetjes, player of the Netherlands: “This loss is bittersweet – I am still proud of the team and I think that a lot of people did not expect us to in the best two of this tournament. I think we believed in ourselves and I am so proud that we made it to the final. However, Serbia are so strong and so complete, that they managed every aspect of the game in the best way – and they were hitting above our block. We stuck to our tactics but they still scored – so they did a really good job. I am proud that we continued to fight, we came back in the third set but I wished for more. Two years ago, we lost to Russia in three sets, so this is some improvement on that. After losing two European finals in a row, I hope that the next one will be ours.”

Jamie Morrison, head coach of the Netherlands: “I think I will be happier in about three, four days – when I wake up tomorrow morning, I will be a little upset but it is an accomplishment because we were able to equal what we accomplished the last time we were in this tournament. Serbia played extremely well, and as I said, we will learn from it to get better. There are those matches where you feel like you shot yourself in the foot and this is something that cost you the match. There are also matches where you have to tip your head to the opponent – right now without watching the video I am tipping my head to Serbia.”

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News nr. 1532 of 19767
01/10/2017 23:35:00
Serbia and Romania seize gold medals at BVA zonal event in Bursa
01/10/2017 15:51:00
Turkey claim #EuroVolleyW bronze to silence Baku crowd
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