Israel, Hungary, Switzerland claim opening matches of second round qualifier in Ra’anana
In what was probably the most anticipated game of the day, Hungary caught a very good start to seize the first set of their match with Greece (25-22). However, Greece was able to fight back and comfortably leveled the count after pocketing the second set with the score of 25-16. Greece did show that same momentum also in the early phases of the third set claiming a 5-point lead (12:7) before Hungary responded with four consecutive points to make it 13 all. After Greece called for the second technical time-out (16:14), the teams engaged in a very close race from 19 all up to 26:26 before Hungary cashed the set at 28-26. After that, Greece was no longer able to keep up the pace of their opponents and Hungary cruised to a speedy 25-17 to take three points from their opening game at Metrowest Sports Palace with Renata Sandor top scoring with 29 points while Eleni Kiosi registered 21 for Greece in their losing effort.
Back in action after their home European Championship in Zurich, Switzerland trailed 13:17 in the opening set of their match with Montenegro but could fight back to make it 18 all. Switzerland then flipped the charts around (21:18) and showed excellent play to cash the first set at 25-22. The Swiss players did not show any weakness in the second and third set cruising to comfortable 25-20 and 25-15 set wins to also claim three points from their debut in Ra’anana. Ines Granvorka top scored in the game with 14 points as four Swiss players finished in double digits while Tatjana Bokan paced Montenegro with 10.
The much awaited debut of Israel started with the local heroines pocketing the opening set of their game with Latvia (25-21) as they were anchored by their excellent team captain Moran Zur. Back after nursing injuries, evergreen Ukrainian-born Tatiana Artmenko showed once more her class so that Israel could claim a very impressive 16:7 lead at the second technical time-out of set 2. That margin was even widened by the end of the set with Israel going for an impressive 25-15. However, things changed quite dramatically in the third set where Latvia stormed out to a 10:3 lead to force Israeli mentor Arie Selinger into a time-out. This could nevertheless not change much as Latvia continued their run to finish it off with a terrific 25-8. Israel regrouped in set 4 going up 16:10 and closing it at 25-20 for a well-deserved 3:1 win to get three points from the game where Russian-born Anna Velikiy top scored with 18 points while Zane Malasevska was Latvia’s most prolific player with 13.
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