Belgrade, Serbia, April 14, 2013 – Russia has taken complete control over Pool II of the 2013 CEV Boys’ Youth Volleyball European Championship after scoring its third straight-set win on day three of the competition. By shutting out Bulgaria, Alexander Karikov’s squad reserved its seat for the second round of the competition taking place in Laktaši. Defending champions and hosts Serbia suffered their third loss, but added their first point for the ranking as Turkey defeated them in a thrilling five-setter. In a direct battle for the runner-up spot Finland beat France by 3-1 but is still behind in the standings in terms of set ratio.
Bulgaria versus Russia 0-3 (16-25, 18-25, 17-25)
In Sunday’s opening duel in Pool II, Russia swept away Bulgaria in straight sets 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-17). Russia’s Victor Poletaev topped the scorers’ chart with 15 points, including 2 aces and 2 blocking kills. Milen Iliev was Bulgaria’s most prolific player with 7 points.
Russia had no problems overpowering Bulgaria, as their tall blockers once again did a superb job. Only in the opening few points of each set did Bulgaria manage to be an equal rival, but then Russia would storm to a five or six-point lead and easily finish the job. Throughout the whole match Bulgaria could not find a way to stop the Russian attacks and the total of only 4 blocking kills by the Bulgarian side tells the story.
Finland versus France 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21)
In the second match of the day in Pool II, Finland overpowered France 3-1 (25-19, 19-25, 25-13, 25-21) and remained in the hunt for a place in the semifinals. France’s Timothee Carle and Stephen Boyer topped the scorers’ chart with 17 points each, while Antti Ropponen of Finland was the best scorer of the winning team with 16.
The teams entered the first set very focused, realising the importance of the match and not making many mistakes. However, Finland managed to score a couple of points for an advantage before the first technical time-out (8-6). After the break France was close, they even tied the result at 8-8, but the Finns soon regained control with an aggressive play, created a gap of 15-10 and never looked back. France could not recover, and Finland wrapped it up at 25-19 for 1-0 in sets.
In the second set Finland started in the same fashion as they concluded the previous one, taking an early 4-1 lead. This time France would not allow them to escape. The teams went to the first technical time-out at 8-6 to Finland. After having a maximum three-point lead at 9-6, Finland began to collapse as the French finally got into the right rhythm. Soon, the score was levelled at 9-9, and from that moment on "Les Bleus” took firm control of the match. They slowly but surely created a gap, and in the end deservedly equalised the score in sets 1-1 (25-19).
The third set was all about Finland. The Finns stormed to an early 8-2 lead before the first technical time-out, and that was the blow from which the French could not recover. In the end, it was an easy 25-13 win with the Finnish holding on to their winning streak 2-1.
At the beginning of the fourth set the tall Finnish blocker Samuli Kaislasalo presented a huge obstacle at the net for the French who could not seem to find a right way to score. Finland took an early 7-3 lead, but the resilient French team would not give up. They were trailing by a couple of points throughout the middle section of the set, but still they were close enough to pose a threat. Although Finland was in control, it was anyone’s game in these moments. The second technical time-out saw Finland moving a little bit closer to winning with a 16-13 lead. After the break, they went up 19-14 and that was it for the French who had to surrender to the better team today.
Serbia versus Turkey 2-3 (14-25, 25-21, 16-25, 25-19, 7-15)
In the last match of Pool II, the reigning European champions Serbia booked yet another defeat at the Final Round on home ground, this time against Turkey by a narrow margin of 2-3 (14-25, 25-21, 16-25, 25-19, 7-15).
Turkey’s Cansin Ogbai Enaboifo and Serbia’s Andrija Vilimanovic topped the scorers’ chart with 21 points each. The host team, without a single point after two days of competition, was in a desperate position before the start of the match with Turkey.
Overwhelmed with pressure, the new generation of Serbian youth boys could not respond well to the challenge presented to them. In the first set Turkey immediately seized the lead and went to the first technical time-out with a comfortable 8-4 advantage. After the break, things only got worse for the home side as Turkey started to create a serious gap (13-7). Coach Milan Djuricic tried to calm down his team with a time-out, but without any luck as Turkey stormed to a 16-8 lead before the second technical break. It was a matter of routine for the Turkish side to wrap up the initial set at 25-14.
After an early 4-1 lead for Turkey, Serbia managed to regroup and turn the score in their favour before the first technical time-out (8-7 to Serbia). After the break, both teams showed that they are willing to fight. Serbia’s Milutin Nejic put pressure on the Turkish receivers serving a couple of great shots, including an ace, for 13-11. As a result Turkey’s coach Ali Kazim Hidayetoglu had to ask for a time-out. After that, Turkey soon equalised and the teams continued to battle in a point-for-point fashion all the way through 18-18, when Serbia had a break creating a two-point advantage (20-18). Turkey quickly responded with a time-out, but could not stop the resurrecting Serbian team to level the score in sets (25-21).
The third set started in a calm atmosphere, as both teams were careful enough not to precipitate themselves. However, when Melih Siratca went behind the serving line, the trouble for the home side began. With an ace and a couple of great serves supported by firm blocking, he lifted his team to a 9-4 lead, which proved to be the key moment of the set. After that, Turkey calmly brought this part of the match to a close at 25-16 and 2-1 in sets.
The fourth set was equally balanced all the way through the second technical time-out, as neither of the teams could gain a tangible advantage. After the break at 16-14 to Serbia, the home side began to put the pressure on their rivals using the block as their strongest weapon. Turkey could not cope with this sudden change of the situation on the court and Serbia equalised the score in sets 2-2 (25-19).
At the beginning of the fifth set Turkey got off to an early 4-1 lead, and coach Milan Djuricic had to call for a time-out. However, it was of no use as the Turkish side successfully maintained the gap until the very end (15-7).
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