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05/09/2014 19:44
Czech Republic and Italy to battle for fifth place in Brno
2014 CEV U20 Volleyball European Championship - Men

Brno, Czech Republic, September 5, 2014.  Italy became the first team to qualify for Sunday’s fifth place match at the 2014 CEV U20 Volleyball European Championship - Men in Brno.  Coach Michele Totire’s squad won the first of the two semifinals of the battles for distribution of the places from fifth through eight by 3:0 (26-24, 25-22, 25-20) against Turkey.  In the second semifinal 5-8, host Czech Republic overcame the resistance of Serbia winning by 3:1 (26-24, 16-25, 25-22, 25-21) to challenge Italy tomorrow at 12:30 local time.  Turkey and Serbia will meet at 10:00 in a duel for the seventh place.

Italy vs. Turkey 3:0 (26-24, 25-22, 25-20)

The first set was very competitive, with frequent changes in the lead.  The widest margin was at 13-9 in favor of Turkey, but Italy cancelled it quickly with 4 points in a row.  It was the blocking efforts of Alberto Polo and Simone Giannelli that made the difference in this set as Italy eventually persevered for a 26-24 win.  The last time Turkey was in the lead during the second set was after the first rally.  Italy opened up a gap that the opponent was never able to close completely, despite climbing up to only a point behind.  The Italian performance was a bit more stable and led to a final score of 25-22 in the set.  Italy’s momentum extended into the next set, although the Turkish blockers also stepped up their performance.  Other than that, the set offered a very similar scenario as the previous one and Italy steadily closed it off at 25-20 with a kill block for the last point.

Cansin Ogbai Enaboifo from the Turkish team with 14 points and Italian Giacomo Raffaeli with 13 were the best scorers of the match.

Yigit Gulmezoglu, captain of Turkey:  “It was a bad game for us.  I do not know, maybe we were not motivated, because we are not in the semifinals.  After the first set we went down and we were not able to improve our play.”

Matteo Pistolesi, player of Italy:  “We played a good match, although it was difficult to find motivation after we lost to France.  But we played well today, with good reaction and we did not give a chance to the Turkish team win this match.”

Salih Erdogan Tavaci, assistant coach of Turkey:  “The first set was balanced, we fought against them very well.  At the end we made a few easy mistakes and we lost.  In the second and the third sets they forced the game and led at every technical time-out.  They earned this win.”

Michele Totire, head coach of Italy:  “It was a particular match for us, because two days ago we were playing to get into a semifinal for the medals.  Now my boys were a little disappointed after the decisive match.  Anyway, today we played a very good game and reached the deserved victory.  Now our target is the fifth place.”

Serbia vs. Czech Republic 1:3 (24-26, 25-16, 22-25, 21-25)

Serbia played very well in offense, but also committed far too many unforced errors during the first set of the match.  The Czech Republic was in control of the scoreboard, but the Serbs managed to catch up and then fall behind again in the score.  And so they did at the end of the set.  The Balkan team saved two set points for the Czech to tie at 24-24 only to lose the next two rallies and the set by 24-26.  The second set was very tight through 12-12, but the Serbs rushed off to a 19-12 lead with Stevan Simic behind the serving line and never looked back.  Simic and Bosko Bojicic also made a great effort in blocking to help their team tie the match after an impressive 25-16.  The lead was tossed back and forth between the two teams several times before the Czech Republic scored five points in a row to turn the score from 13-15 to 18-15 in the third set.  The Serbian team was once again making one mistake after another and the home guys managed to hold on to their advantage and win the set by 25-22.  The Czech offense finally started working with more efficiency in the fourth set and the home side continued to be the dominant force on the court.  Inspired by their fans on the stands, the Czech players maintained a stable lead throughout the set and a block-out by Jan Galabov shaped up the final 25-21 in the set and 3:1 in the match.

Poland’s Donovan Dzavoronok and Serbia’s Marko Radosavljevic made 15 points each to top the scorers’ chart of the match.

Stevan Simic, captain of Serbia:  “The match was very difficult, because our reception was very very bad and their serving was strong.  It was the obstacle for us.  We will see tomorrow.”

Donovan Dzavoronok, player of Czech Republic:  “This win is our win, we did not need their mistakes.  We are where we want to be and tomorrow we will try to do our best.”

Sinisa Reljic, head coach of Serbia:  “It should not have been difficult if we had played the way we can.  We played a bad match again.  I am really disappointed, because we played the last two or three matches very badly.  That is not the way to play at a European Championship.  We have to talk about that.  Tomorrow we will play against Turkey, against which we already played two matches and we lost them, so we will try to do our best.”

Jindrich Licek, head coach of Czech Republic:  “Of course, we are very happy now.  It is a great result for us.  My boys played very well, their performance was great and they totally earned this win.”

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