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17/05/2018 19:39
Slovak teams poised to contest revamped European League
2018 CEV Volleyball European League - Men & Women

Poprad, Slovakia, May 17, 2018. The Slovakian women’s and men’s volleyball national teams are ready to start their journey in the 2018 CEV Volleyball European League. Both teams will participate in the Golden League and both will start their campaign this coming Saturday in Poprad. The women will face Belarus, while the men will play against Estonia.

The next home matches will be taking place in another two cities, i.e. Bratislava and Levice. “We like the revamped format of the Golden European League. We hope that many people will find their way to the arenas. We have decided to play this prestigious competition in three different cities, because we want to popularise Volleyball across the whole country. We have prepared a lot of entertainment which will be used during the matches and I hope that people will have great memories from the games,” said the President of the Slovak Volleyball Federation, Martin Kraščenič during the press conference held in Poprad.

The men’s national team will return to the European League after five years after contesting the FIVB World League for the last four years. Coach Andrej Kravarik must rely on a young team, because some of the more experienced players are not able to participate. There are four rookies in the team - Martin Jančura, Jakub Ihnát, Jakub Kováč and Patrik Lamanec. “I am glad that we have three experienced players here - Emanuel Kohút, Matej Paták and Tomáš Kriško. Our team is young, but it is a challenge for them, since they can show themselves on the international stage. I hope that they will use this chance,” added Andrej Kravarik who will spend his second season at the helm of Team Slovakia.

Captain Emanuel Kohut is one of Slovakia’s two-time winners of the former European League. Slovakia lifted the trophy in 2008 and 2011. “I am looking forward to the competition. I like the revised format of the European League and I think that the quality of the competition will be high. There are several strong teams. Our young players trained very well and we are ready for the start,” said the 35-year old middle-blocker who will start his 13th season in the national team. He debuted in 2006 against Romania. Slovakia will play in Pool A against Estonia, Sweden and Belgium. Slovakia recently lost three friendly matches against Czech Republic held in the city of Puchov.

The women’s national team of Slovakia will participate for the third straight year in the European League. They won the silver medals in their debut year in 2016 and last season advanced to the semi-finals. The team now mentored by new Italian coach Marco Fenoglio will participate in the Golden European League in Pool C, playing against Belarus, Czech Republic and Spain. “I am very satisfied with the preparation. My players have trained with a great attitude, our team looks good,” said Fenoglio to the journalists. Slovakia played three matches in Maribor, Slovenia before the start of the Golden European League. They beat Australia in straights sets, and then lost against Azerbaijan 0-3 and to Croatia 1-3. “I was satisfied despite the loss in the last game against a strong Croatia, because the girls fought until the end whilst against Azerbaijan they didn’t fight,” concluded Fenoglio.

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