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16/05/2018 11:35
European League contestants Ukraine and Belarus claim top honours from international tournament in Ivano-Frankivsk
News from the National Federations

Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, May 16, 2018. Only a few days before the start of the 2018 CEV Volleyball European League, the Ukrainian city of Ivano-Frankivsk played host to the second edition of an international tournament featuring the men’s national teams of Ukraine, Belarus and Austria as well as the women’s teams of Ukraine, Belarus and Sweden. Ukraine and Belarus claimed first place in the final standing of the women’s and men’s competition, respectively.

Since Austria and Sweden lost their respective matches with Belarus and Ukraine by the same score (0-3), hosts Ukraine and Belarus played for the top honours in both the men’s and women’s competitions.

The women’s final was truly exciting and dramatic. Ukraine claimed a 12-9 lead in the first set but ended up losing it 23-25. Belarus clearly dominated the second period as Hanna Hryshkevich, Anzhelika Barysevich and Anastasiya Shash combined their efforts to produce a compelling 25-19 win. At this stage, Ukraine coach Gariy Yegiazarov replaced middle blocker Hanna Kyrychenko with Yuliya Gerasymova, who significantly improved the home side’s block and scored a few points through the middle too. Iryna Trushkina, Anna Stepaniuk, Karyna Denysova and Anastasiia Kraiduba helped Ukraine sweep two sets in a row (25-21, 25-16) and using this psychological boost, the home side eventually emerged victorious from the all-deciding tiebreak as well (17-15).

The course of the men’s final was quite different, with Ukraine making little mistakes and Belarus taking full advantage of that to claim a 2-0 lead (26-24, 25-23). The third set was quite one-sided with Belarus showing their quality to secure a 25-20 win and seal their 3-0 victory.

Ukraine won gold in last year’s European League with both their men’s and women’s national teams – so they will compete in the Golden European League starting later this weekend. As for Belarus, their women’s and men’s national teams are set to compete in the 2018 Golden and Silver European League, respectively.

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