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European Women's Olympic Qualification: Turkey sensationally outclassed Nederland

The young Turkish team surprised favorite Nederland with great Volleyball

Halle (GER), 17 January 2008 – First big sensation on day 3 at the Women’s European Olympic Qualification Tournament 2008 in Halle, when Turkey surprisingly outclassed Nederland 3:1. Serbia (against Croatia) as well as Russia (versus Romania) already secured their Saturday’s semifinal spots.

The astonished spectators in the beautiful Gerry Weber stadium in Halle saw a big sensation in the first match of today’s action in Germany, when Turkey surprisingly overcame Nederland. However, the Dutch ladies experienced a perfect start into their match against Turkey, dominating the young Turks in set one in all aspects of the game. Chaine Staelens seemed to be everywhere, and Sister Kim brought up some well-drilled combinations on the net. Even though Neriman Özsoy tried to fire back, the Dutch wall was insuperable, 25-16 Nederland. But after an initial lead in the second set, the Dutch lost the plot slightly and errors handed the lead to the Turks, who led 8-5 at the first technical timeout. Two rocket spikes by Ingrid Visser re-raised the Dutch hopes, before the Turks fought back through their middle blockers Aysun Özbek and Duygu Bal with three outstanding block winners. Esra Gümüs came up big as the team of head coach Alessandro Chiappini went nine points ahead. The Dutch didn’t give up, but Gümüs again finished it on the left to 19. Nederland moved in front at the start of the third set with Riette Fledderus as new setter and Francien Huurman being in high spirits, giving the team of Avital Selinger a marginal 8-7 lead at the first technical timeout. The big serve of Manon Flier advanced the Dutch to 15-11 and then to 19-15, when Chiappini called his second timeout. Successfully, as the Turks bounced back bravely to level at 21 and then at 26. Chaine Staelens failed to get the ball killed against a monster block from Bal, and a missile by Gözde Kirdar gave the Turks a surprisingly 2-1 lead. Indeed, thenceforward the Turkish express was unstoppable. From 16-12 and 23-16, it was just a matter of time. With Flier and Stam both faltering, the Dutch had little in reserve with which to hurt the Turks. They tried, but a missed defense ended their resistance at 19-23. A wide spike by Kirdar brought the second match point for the Turks, which Flier handed over with a service error.

Sanja Popovic as well as Jelena Alajbeg were in excellent form when they caught the first set for Croatia in the duel against their neighbors from Serbia. As yesterday, the Serbian ladies took it easy in the beginning of the game; even a 0-7 leeway in the second set couldn’t stress the team of head coach Zoran Terzic. As usually, the Serbs change gear when they are in need for, and as Vesna Citakovic began to block heroically (5 block winners in the third!), Serbia was back with a 16-13 lead in the second technical timeout. Alajbeg halted a Serb run with a well-placed spike, but the inspirational Ivana Djerisilo served an ace to send Croatia into a desperate timeout, trailing 16-21. On the restart, Popovic proved elusive for the Serb defense, spiking fiercely from close in, and Ivana Kamenjarin pummeled one up the left as they made Serbia work hard for the set win. But Djerisilo, again, ended it 25-21 with a ferocious spike on the right. After a calmly third set in Serbia’s favor (25-18), Jelena Nikolic & Co had again more occupation in the fourth, when the young Croatians led 12-11. Ana Grbac put her spikers in excellent positions to gain even a two-point lead at 21-19. But Citakovic with some powerful services and Nikolic on duty got the lead back at 23-21. Djerisilo took the Serbs to match point, and Alajbeg with a service fault concluded it in Serbia’s favor.     

In the last match of the day, Russia beat Romania 3:1. Although the Romanians fought bravely, the Russian favorites dominated their opponents namely in the first and the fourth set. With today’s victory, the Russian squad is qualified for Saturday’s semifinals.

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Women’s European Olympic Qualification Tournament
Halle, Germany: 15-20 January 2008

Pool A: Serbia, Russia, Romania, Croatia
Pool B: Germany, Poland, Turkey, Nederland

Match results (all times CET)

Tuesday 15 January 2008
GER – TUR 3:0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-19)
CRO – ROU 2:3 (25-21, 14-25, 25-22, 23-25, 5-15)
NED – POL 1:3 (17-25, 28-30, 25-16, 20-25)

Wednesday 16 January 2008
1500: CRO – RUS 0:3 (19-25, 15-25, 12-25)
1730: POL – GER 3:2 (22-25, 25-21, 14-25, 25-19, 15-8)
2000: ROU – SRB 2:3 (27-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-25, 11-15)

Thursday 17 January 2008
1500: TUR – NED 3:1 (16-25, 25-19, 27-25, 25-19)
1730: SRB – CRO 3:1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-22)
2000: ROU - RUS 1:3 (21-25, 24-26, 25-21, 14-25)


Pool A:
1. Poland 2-4 (6-3)
2. Germany 2-3 (5-3)
3. Turkey 2-3 (3-4)
4. Nederland 2-2 (2-6)

Pool B:
1. Russia 2-4 (6-1)*
2. Serbia 2-4 (6-3)*

3. Romania 3-4 (6-8)
4. Croatia 3-3 (3-9)

First two teams of each Pool qualify for Saturday’s semifinals.
* qualified for Saturday’s semifinals

Match schedule (all times CET)

Friday 18 January 2008
1500: TUR - POL
1730: RUS - SRB
2000: GER - NED

Saturday 19 January 2008
1730 & 2000 Semifinals

Sunday 20 January 2008
1530 FINAL



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