PRESS RELEASE 26.09.2004


2005 FIVB World Grand Prix European Qualification Tournament - Poland and Germany qualify for World Grand Prix
Germany's Judith Sylvester tries to beat the Polish defence

Ankara, Turkey, September 26, 2004 - Poland and Germany claimed the final two European tickets in the 2005 FIVB World Grand Prix tournament after finishing second and third respectively at the European Qualification Tournament in Ankara, Turkey on Sunday. Tournament winner Netherlands already booked their spot in the FIVB's premiere annual women's Volleyball competition on Saturday.

Germany needed only to win one set in the match against Poland, played in front of more than 3,000 spectators in the ASKI Arena, and despite missing star players captain Angelina Grun and outside attacker Birgit Thumm through illness they did enough to win the first set before Poland claimed the next three (25-18, 20-25, 15-25, 23-25).

"I am happy that we are qualified," German coach Hee Wan Lee said. "We had a tough time during the last two days of the event, but the two sets we won against the Netherlands and Poland were good enough to qualify."

The Polish victory was also enough for the current European champions to qualify ahead of Turkey on set ratio difference. "After the European Championship, I changed five older players for five younger ones," Polish coach Andrzej Niemczyk said. "That's the reason we played not very consistently. But I am happy that this victory was finally enough to reach the World Grand Prix next year."

Polish spiker Malgorzata Glinka was the best player of the match with 22 points, while the Polish captain Aleksandra Przybysz scored 17 points.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands finished the tournament in style by defeating Bulgaria in straight sets (25-23, 25-13, 25-20) with Manon Flier and Francien Huurman topping the best scorers list with 12 points each.

"I am extremely satisfied we won the event here," Netherlands coach Avital Selinger stated. "It is not just a qualification event, but it is almost a European Championship, as only Italy and Russia are not here". Italy directly qualified for the 2005 FIVB World Grand Prix as organizer of the Final Round, while Russia was recently excluded from the qualification process.

Despite Turkey defeating Romania 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-18) in the last match of the event it wasn't enough for the home side to finish among the best three teams.