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06/06/2018 22:45
Bulgaria, Finland on to #EuroLeagueW Final Four
2018 CEV Volleyball Golden European League - Women

Luxembourg, June 6, 2018.  Bulgaria and Finland topped the final standings in Pools A and B, respectively, and joined the Czech Republic and hosts Hungary into the Final Four of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Golden European League - Women, which will take place in Budapest on June 14 and 15.


Ukraine vs. Azerbaijan 0-3 (28-30, 21-25, 23-25)

•    Ukraine opened the home match in impressive style. The host team were leading 11-6 and then 16-12 in the first set, but after a very close end, Azerbaijan won the first set 30-28.
•    Nadiia Kodola of Ukraine was the best scorer of the match with 16 points. Yelyzaveta Samadova was the best scorer of Azerbaijan with 14 points.
•    Azerbaijan earned the same number of wins (five) and ranking points (15) as the Pool A winners - Bulgaria. However, Azerbaijan lost two sets more and therefore didn't manage to qualify for the Final Four.

Portugal vs. Bulgaria 0-3 (17-25, 22-25, 25-27)

•    In the first set Bulgaria took the lead with Nasya Dimitrova on serve (21-14). Gergana Dimitrova cashed the set point with a kill block (25-17).
•    The second set was balanced untill 19-19, but two kill blocks gave Bulgaria the lead. Again Gergana Dimitrova scored the set point.
•    Portugal took the lead in the third set (20-18) but in decision time Mariya Karakasheva scored and in the end Bulgaria won the game.
•    Bulgaria finish first in Pool A and are qualified for the Final Four .
•    Best scorer of the match: Silvana Chausheva with 13 points for Bulgaria.
•    Hristina Ruseva (Bulgaria) is the best blocker of the Golden European League with a total of 33 kill blocks.

Silvana Chausheva, top scorer from Bulgaria: "We are happy because we have done a good job. This match came in a difficult time since we are very tired. Congratulations to all of our staff. Now in the Final Four, we have to be focused, concentrated in all the matches. I think that we evolved since the beginning of the competition and we want to continue to grow as a team."

Marta Hurst, player of Portugal: "It was the match where we suffered fewer oscillations and that showed in our performance. All the new players brought something new to our game and increased our value. It was frustrating to lose this last set when we were leading by 23-21. We have to be more mature and keep a cold head in the decisive moments, mainly in attack and it’s in that way that we want to keep evolving."


Hungary vs. Finland
3-2 (25-20, 25-27, 21-25, 25-21, 15-11)

•    Setter Zsuzsanna Tálas (HUN) debuted in the League Round as she is recovering from an ankle injury. Health issues have fallen upon Finland during the match when Piia Korhonen injured her ankle at the final stage of the first set and couldn’t return for the rest of the game.
•    The first set was tight, after playing point by point Finland took an early lead (11-8) after the first technical time out, but Hungary fought back (17-14) and won the set 25-20.
•    Hungary took the lead from the beginning of the second set and maintained the gap until 19-13, Finland equalised at 23-23 and eventually won 27-25.
•    The visitors began the third set well and led until the end. Hungary had equalised only at 8-8, but after reaching 19-15, Finland kept the point difference and won 25-21.
•    Hungary dominated the first half of the fourth set and the home side led 15-11. Finland managed to make a short comeback to lead 18-17, but Hungary scored six points in a row and ultimately won the set 25-21.
•    The final set was an epic battle, Finland led 6-4 and 8-7, and yet Hungary bounced back to go 13-10 ahead, before winning the set 15-11.
•    The top scorer of the match was Gréta Szakmáry with 30 points for Hungary, followed by Renáta Sándor (HUN) with 27 points and Salla Karhu and Pauliina Vilponen (FIN) with 17 points apiece.
•    Despite the loss Finland won Pool B and qualified for the #EuroLeagueW Final Four.

Jan De Brandt, coach of Hungary: “It’s a pity that we didn’t win the second set, which perhaps would have helped us close the game sooner. Finland came back and our reception was not strong enough. We began to play our normal game again in the fourth set. I felt that we couldn’t lose, it was an important victory.”

Salla Karhu, player of Finland: “We needed to win two sets in order to get to the Final Four. Once we did that, we relaxed a bit, slowed down and made too many mistakes to achieve the overall victory.”

France vs. Croatia 3-1 (25-18, 27-25, 23-25, 25-21)

•    Héléna Cazaute had an outstanding game, scoring 11 points out of 11 attacks in the first set and ending up with 32 points and a 62% percentage overall.
•    The French team was down 18-24 in the third set before trailing back 23-24 and eventually losing 23-25.
•    As many as 1,420 spectators attended this event.
•    France won their first match in this year’s Golden European League.

Héléna Cazaute, outside hitter of France: “We were more focused as a group, and I think it comes from the extra practices we have had together. We knew what we had to execute given the video analysis that we carried out. It’s definitely a plus to end up on a win; I am looking forward to the Mediterranean Games to see how we will perform.”

Elsa Descamps, middle blocker of France: “Thanks to the video, I knew that the setter played more where she was than at the opposite, and it helped me with the block. Even when we were down five points or more, we kept it up. I think it was one of our best matches mentally.”

Félix André, head coach of France: “We have played better and better along the weeks; all the practices and the days spent together helped us to get there. It is extremely satisfactory to end up with a victory like this one, in front of our crowd; it is good for the spirit. We really wanted not to end with zero points and that is why we watched a lot of video to try to block them, which worked out well. We saw a lot of smiles tonight; I am happy for my players.”


Belarus vs. Czech Republic 2-3 (21-25, 25-18, 25-19, 20-25, 12-15)

•    The Belarusian girls tried to take a revenge after they lost to Czech Republic on Saturday. The team of coach Piotr Khilko started well, putting pressure with their serve and block.
•    Tatsiana Markevich was the best scorer of the match with 18 points, but she could not bring a victory to her team in the tie-break.
•    The Czech Republic team took the initiative in the fourth set where Kateřina Holaskova and Gabriela Orvosova showed a great performance in attack.
•    The Belarusian team played without their libero Volha Pauliukouskaya, who was injured in the last game. The absence of the player had an impact on the defence of the home team.
•    Kateřina Holaskova from Czech Republic and Anzhelika Barysevich (Belarus) both scored four blocks.
•    Czech Republic secured the sixth victory in Pool C and will continue their journey in the Final Four. The tournament will be held June 15-16 in Budapest.

Zdenek Pommer, coach of Czech Republic: "We are delighted with the second victory over Belarus. The game in Minsk was difficult for us and our opponents have good middle-blockers. We had some troubles, but my players made everything right. After the third set, we improved our passing and attack, which helped us achieve the victory. We are highly motivated ahead of the Final Four and I believe we have chances to win over there."

Slovakia vs. Spain 3-2 (25-17, 22-25, 23-25, 25-16, 15-6)

•    Slovakia defeated Spain for the 6th time in history, and second time in a row.
•    Wing-spiker Nikola Radosova (SVK) was again the best scorer of the match with 22 points. On the other side of the net, Maria Segura (ESP) earned 20 points.
•    About 1,300 spectators found their way to the hall in Levice and created an amazing atmosphere there.

Marco Fenoglio, coach of Slovakia: "I am really satisfied, because we closed one part of this period with a good result. We worked a lot, probably nobody knows that we had only one rest day during 40 days of preparation. Today was clear that something changed in our team, because all players fought and played like a team. This is important for me and I am really happy for that. Now we will have some rest and we will meet again in the end of July."

Jaroslava Pencova, captain of Slovakia: "I am very happy, we won the last two games of the competition. We made many mistakes in the matches against Belarus and Czech Republic, while in the last two games against Spain we improved. We have a new coach, we are on our way and the team needs some time, but, as I said, I am happy that in the end of the group phase we were successful."

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