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06/09/2014 16:48
Blonde for bronze
2014 CEV U20 Volleyball European Championship - Men

Brno, Czech Republic, September 6, 2014.  In a battle of the hair colors, blonde France overpowered red-headed Slovenia to claim the bronze at the 2014 CEV U20 Volleyball European Championship - Men.  In the third place match in Brno, Slovenia fought hard, but fell short of upsetting the strong French team, which hammered out a straight-set victory by 3:0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-19).

Slovenia vs. France 0:3 (22-25, 21-25, 19-25)

In a very tight first set, the courageous Slovenes demonstrated that they are a good match for their pre-favorite opponent.  What made the difference in this set was the French spiking effort, especially that of Nohoarii Paofai.  The French managed to stay a bit more concentrated in the conclusive moments of the set and persevered to win it by 25-22.  The story of the second set was not much different from that of the first one.  Neither was the final score – 25-21 shaped up with a powerful block-out by substitute Axel Truhtchev for the last point.  Halfway through the third set, it already seemed that the Slovenian team was starting to lose faith that they could find a way to crack the tough French team and to make many mistakes.  The French continued widening the gap and finished it all off with a successful double block for the final 25-19 and for the beginning of their attractive victory dance.

Nohoarii Paofai was the best scorer of the match with 16 points for France.  Toncek Stern was the usual most prolific player of Slovenia with 12.

Jernej Vrhunc, captain of Slovenia:  “We are sad about the result, but the French team was better today and deserved the victory.  If anyone told us before the tournament we would be in fourth place, I would not believe it.  Some very good teams are behind us.”

Luka Basic, captain of France:  “It was a tough match, but we did it.  It is a great feeling to win the bronze medal.  We are happy, but a little bit sad at the same moment, because we are not in the final.  But it is OK…”

Iztok Ksela, head coach of Slovenia:  “I have to congratulate France.  It is a very good team and played very well.  They deserve the bronze medal.  Unfortunately our serving was very bad and with that serving we cannot win.  Anyway, the fourth place is a great success for a small volleyball country like Slovenia and I am proud of my team.”

Jocelyn Trillon, head coach of France:  “It was not an easy and beautiful match.  Both teams made so many mistakes, but I am very proud of my players.  It was really hard to restart after our loss to Poland.  But we have a very good team, we worked very well and now we have the bronze medals.”

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