Kladovo, Serbia, March 29, 2013 - Hosts Serbia took their opening match with a 3-1 win over the Netherlands, while title holders Turkey met expectations with a 3-1 victory against France on day one of Pool I play at 2013 CEV Girls’ Youth Volleyball European Championship. Germany surprised powerhouse Russia with a hard-fought 3-2 win.
Serbia versus The Netherlands 3-1 (18-25, 25-12,
In their opening match of the 2013 CEV Girls’ Youth Volleyball European Championship – a qualifying event for the FIVB Volleyball Girls U18 World Championship in Thailand this year – hosts Serbia struggled against The Netherlands but eventually won 3-1. Serbia`s Jelena Novakovic and Bojana Milenkovic topped the score chart with 16 points while Maja Aleksic helped her side with 13 points, including 5 blocks.
The young Serbian ladies started the match anxiously, but trying their best to delight the home fans in Kladovo. Neither of the teams managed to create a major gap in the first part of the set. Even though Serbia led 16-14 at the second technical time-out, the home side struggled with the pressure and the Dutch girls knew how to make the most of it. After the break, the Oranjes swiftly took over and finished with ease with a score of 25-18. However, except from some parts in the third set, the favorites from Serbia regained momentum and never looked back.
Marijana Boricic, Head Coach of Serbia: “We were hoping to win this opening match. It was important for our girls, because they were very nervous in the beginning and they needed to relax. We struggled with passing in the first set, but when we improved in this segment of the game, it became much easier”.
Jelena Vignjevic, Serbia: “It was obvious that we were very tight at the beginning, and it is normal because we are young and we have to get some experience. Luckily for us, we managed to overcome the pressure soon and everything went well from that point onward. Tomorrow is a new challenge for us, and we’ll be prepared.”
Saskia van Hintum, The Netherlands Head Coach: “The girls lost a little bit of confidence after the second set and they couldn’t manage the pressure. We are young and that’s the way it goes. My team has to learn to compete on the big scene. Tomorrow it will be better, I am sure”.
Brit Bongaerts, The Netherlands: “We started very well, but as Serbia improved their serve and communication on the court, we couldn’t respond.”
Turkey versus France 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-21, 25-22)
Today’s second Pool II match featured the reigning
European champions Turkey facing France. It was not an easy challenge for the
title holders, but the Turkish ladies eventually overpowered the resilient
French girls 3-1. Turkish Pelin Aroguz was the best scorer of her team with 14
points, but French talent Helena Cazaute topped the scores with 20 successful
kills. The 17 service errors (compared to nine aces) were one of the main
reasons for the French defeat.
After two sets, both teams had one unit on the official scoreboard. Turkey had won the opening set, while France fought back bravely in the second period. However, the title holders showed a great reaction. In the third and fourth set, Turkey set the pace with a powerful offensive game and some brilliant defense actions. Even though France tried their best, especially in the beginning of the fourth set, it was not good enough to out fox the reigning champions.
Arelya Karasoy, Turkey: “We are looking up to the generation that won the European title. I think we played well, but we are very ambitions, and we want more. Our next match is against Russia and we are thinking about that game already today.”
Catma Sahin, Turkey Head Coach: “We played against France in a friendly match and won 3-0. But in the competition it is different. I am satisfied with the victory, but not that much with our game. We can do a lot better.”
Nina Stojiljkovic, France: “We knew that Turkey were an aggressive team, but I think we entered the match with a good rhythm and managed to control them. Our problem is to maintain the high level of play over a long period of time. That is something we must work on.”
Serge Marouteau, France Head Coach: “We are having problems in defense and in ball control. Unfortunately, we gave Turkey some crucial points and that were the key moments in today’s match.”
Germany versus Russia 3-2 (25-23, 25-23, 26-28, 20-25, 15-10)
In the eagerly-awaited opening duel in Pool II, both teams proved to be up to the challenge as Germany edged Russia in a thrilling match, 3-2. German Julia Schäfer topped the scorers with 23 points, including two aces. Team Captain Steffi-Martha Kuhn helped the winners with 17 points. On the other side, the most efficient Russians were Taisia Konovalova and Angelina Sperskayte with 14 kills.
In the first part of the game, Germany surprised their Russian opponents with great mental spirit. Jens Tietböhl’s kept his calm in the crucial moments of set one and two. Nevertheless, the young Russian talents never gave up. Even when Annegret Hölzig, with a great serve, brought up match point for Germany at 24-23 in the third set, the Russians showed their strong nerves and fought back bravely. As a consequence, Russia kept the upper hand at the end of the set by overpowering their rivals 28-26.
The momentum stayed on the Russian side in set number 4 as the Russian powerhouse turned the tables in the middle of the set. Taisia Konovalova put a lot of pressure on the German passers to make it 16-15 at the second technical timeout. It was the turning point of the fourth period with Russia never looking back (25-20).
However, it was not good enough. Germany bounced back in the fifth and deciding set. At 8-11, Russian head coach Yury Shchuplov called his ladies off court for a serious chat. But it was already too late as the young Germans sailed to a well-deserved 3-2 victory.
Steffi-Martha Kuhn, team captain Germany: “It was a very emotional match. We were good in block, and our service game worked fine. That was our main advantage today. This is an excellent start for us, and we are looking forward to playing even better in the following days.”
Anastasia Cheremisina, team captain Russia: “We were nervous today. That’s all I can say. I hope that we’ll do better in the future.”
The preliminary phase of the 2013 CEV Girls' Youth Volleyball European Championship is split into two pools of six teams with the top two from each pool advancing to the semifinals. Pool I comprises hosts Montenegro, Italy, Slovenia, Greece, the Czech Republic and Poland. Pool II sees hosts Serbia up against Russia, Germany, France, Turkey and The Netherlands.
The tournament’s final ranking will determine the six teams that will represent Europe at this year’s FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship in Thailand, as well as the eight nations taking part at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht.
The matches of preliminary Pool I as well as all semifinal and final matches are available live and for free at www.laola1.tv.
Pool II matches are streamed on the official website of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia at http://eng.ossrb.org
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