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16/12/2018 14:00
HÄMEENLINNA ‘Young Guns’ cannot wait to play their idols from Eczacibasi
2019 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Women

Hämeenlinna, Finland, December 16, 2018. As we all know, the CEV Volleyball Champions League offers emotions both on and off the court. This applies to the players as well. On Wednesday in Hämeenlinna, Champions League rookies Ronja Heikkiniemi, 20, and Suvi Kokkonen, 18, will face their idols when Turkish powerhouse Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL play HÄMEENLINNA at Elenia Areena. The ‘Match of the Week’ will be a truly historic one for the Finnish Volleyball family.

These ‘Young Guns’ are well known national team players in Finland and already role models for some younger girls. However, things are not the same in the #CLVolleyW.

“My biggest personal idol is Jordan Larson. She inspires me in many ways when it comes to my ideal character of a good Volleyball player and a great team player,” says Heikkiniemi. “I feel privileged to get the chance to play against players who are not only some of the best in the world but also people I personally admire and respect,” the 20-year-old continues.

Another HÄMEENLINNA outside hitter, Suvi Kokkonen likes to watch Tijana Bošković. “She is so young and yet a huge example for everybody in so many ways. Of course, I also like Jordan Larson and Kim Yeong-Koung is a great player too,” Kokkonen says.

On Wednesday, it is time to put this all aside and take on Eczacibasi like on any other opponent. “From myself I am expecting to find the spirit to fight for every single ball with the fire in my eyes against one of the best teams in the world,” Heikkiniemi promises. “Our team plays at its best when we push each other to do the things we can at the highest level possible. In our home games, it is always important to serve hard and confident and so it will be the same this time too. For all the people who are coming to support us, I promise we are going to fight with all our energy, that is for sure,” she adds.



Kokkonen, who was the first ever Finnish national team player born in 2000s when she joined the team at 16, promises to put up a fight too. “I expect from myself that I will do my best. I have to take risks, especially in attack. The blocking game of Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL is of course great. I promise to all our fans that I will fight for every ball,” she says.

Heikkiniemi reminds that this moment and the feelings that go with it belong not only to the HÄMEENLINNA players and staff, but to many more people too: “The 2019 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Women is a great thing, not only for me and my teammates, but for the whole organisation of Hämeenlinna. It is the result of the long-term work that has been done with women’s Volleyball here in Finland. I hope all people who are or have been working for women’s volleyball are proud of this opportunity,” she says.

In their first ever #CLVolleyW pool match against Dinamo KAZAN, HÄMEENLINNA saw already how things are at this level. Now it is time for all Finnish people to see world stars against their own ‘Young Guns’ like Heikkiniemi and Kokkonen. “Overall, I just cannot wait for this match. I cannot wait for it,” Kokkonen concludes.


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