PRESS RELEASE 25.09.2004


2005 FIVB World Grand Prix European Qualification Tournament - Netherlands claim first World Grand Prix spot
The Netherlands were in great form against Germany winning in four sets

Ankara, Turkey, September 25, 2004 - The Netherlands became the first team to seal a berth at the 2005 FIVB World Grand Prix at the European Qualification Tournament here in Ankara, Turkey after beating Germany 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 22-25, 25-10) in the clash between the two unbeaten co-leaders on Saturday.

With the Netherlands claiming one ticket, three other teams - Germany, Poland and Turkey - will fight it out for the remaining two places on Sunday.

The Dutch played a great match against Germany, who suffered from the absence of captain Angelina Grun who was hotel-bound ill, and only had some difficulties in the third set, which Germany finally one. Thanks to some great defense the Netherlands finally claimed the victory with young spiker Manon Flier top scoring with 29 points.

The World Grand Prix qualification is a great success for the new Netherlands coach Avital Selinger. The former national player, who won the silver medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, worked his team extremely hard this summer.

"I am especially satisfied about the way we are playing at the moment," Selinger said. "The qualification is a result of that. But I am sure this team can even play better. There is still a lot of room for improvement."

Hosts Turkey is back in business after a 3-1 (25-20, 25-27, 19-25, 25-16) victory over Poland. In the repeat of the 2003 European Championship final, won by Poland, the home crowd favorite took advantage of the support of 5,200 fans and booked its second victory of the event.

On the Turkish side, Natalia Hanikoglu was the best scorer with 19 points while Polish spiker Malgorzata Glinka collected 22.

Turkey now has to wait for the result of the Sunday afternoon match between Germany and Poland. In case Poland wins this match 3-1, both Germany and Poland will qualify and Turkey will miss out. If the result is any different, Turkey can reach the 2005 FIVB World Grand Prix by defeating Romania Sunday evening.

In the final match of the day Bulgaria won its first match of the tournament by defeating Romania in three straight sets (25-17, 25-23, 25-22). Bulgaria's Radosveta Teneva was the best scorer of the match with 19 points, closely followed by Elena Koleva with 17 points.

The 2005 FIVB World Grand Prix European Qualification Tournament concludes on Sunday with Germany needing one set against Poland to qualify. Poland needs to defeat Germany 3-0 or 3-1 to be sure of qualifying, while Turkey is also still in contention.