Hosts Serbia suffer second straight defeat at Youth Boys' European Champs
Turkey vs. Bulgaria 3-2 (18-25, 25-22, 25-20, 23-25, 15-6)
In the first match of the second day in Pool II, Turkey beat Bulgaria in a thrilling five-setter by 3:2 (18-25, 25-22, 25-20, 23-25, 15-6). Yasin Aydin (TUR) and Yani Georgiev (BUL) topped the scorers’ chart with 20 points each.
A very aggressive Bulgaria started putting the pressure on the Turkish receivers. Right from the beginning the gap was getting bigger in favor of the young Bulgarian side, and Turkey could not find any solution. At the second technical time-out Bulgaria had a five-point lead and it only got bigger by the end of the set. During the last rally Kusay Kaan Güleç of Turkey injured his left ankle and was out for the rest of the match. This unfortunate accident did not affect the Turkish players.
To the contrary, they started the second set eager to compete. After the initial stage when both teams were scoring an even amount of points, Turkey made a move and created a five-point lead at 14-9. It strengthened the block, and that was maybe the key factor for this sudden getaway. However, after the second technical break (16-13 to Turkey), Bulgaria slowly but surely started to narrow the gap. The score was leveled at 19-19, and the teams entered an exciting final stage of the set. Unfortunately, at that precise moment Bulgarian setter Vladimir Stankov also got injured and had to leave the court. Both sides gave their maximum trying not to lose a single ball, but ultimately Turkey was a bit more focused and wrapped it up at 25-22, leveling the score in sets (1:1).
The plot remained more or less the same in the third set. Basically, it was like “copying and pasting” the second set all the way through the second technical break. Once again Turkey escaped to a 14-9 lead, but this time Bulgaria could not quite recover as the Turkish players did not allow their opponents to come any closer and pose a real threat to their advantage. In the end, it was an easy 25-20 to Turkey and 2:1 in sets.
Like in the previous two sets, the beginning of the fourth set was calm as well. Things continued to develop pretty much in the same way, only this time the roles switched, and Bulgaria was the side that made the first move creating a gap and leading by 16-13 at the second technical time-out. Until the end of the set Turkey was pushing hard but could never quite reach the Bulgarians who managed to tie the score at 2:2 in sets edging their rivals 25-23.
In the fifth set Turkey was determined not to let this one slip away. With a firm defense and efficient attack they broke the resilient Bulgarian team that obviously lost too much fuel in the previous four sets. When the teams changed sides at 8-4 to Turkey, it was clear that coach Hidayetoğlu’s players would score the victory.
Russia vs. Finland 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-11)
In the second Pool II match, Russia crushed Finland 3:0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-11). Russia’s Victor Poletaev topped the scorers’ chart with 25 points, including 4 aces.
The two unbeaten teams started the game pressured by the importance of the match. It was pretty even before the first technical break (8-7 to Finland), but then things changed and Russia took over the control of the match. The Russian boys always maintained a slight advantage, mainly of two or three points, while Finland was trying hard to match up the potent rival team. However, they could not avoid losing the first set 21-25.
The Russian block was an unsolvable mystery for the Finns in the second set. With an early 12-5 lead, Russia made a clear statement to their rivals, who struggled to find a way around the strong Russian defense. In the end, it was an easy 25-14 and 2:0 in sets to Alexander Karikov’s team.
The Russian machinery continued to steamroll their rivals in the third set as well. From the very beginning, Russia imposed their rhythm of play, created a gap and never looked back for another easy 25-11 and a flawless victory in straight sets over the helpless Finnish team.
France vs. Serbia 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-21)
In the last match of the second day in Pool II, France upset the home favorites and the reigning European Champions Serbia by 3:0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-21). Nohoarii Paofai (FRA) topped the scorers’ chart with 12 points, including 8 blocks.
The home side Serbia managed to hold off the persistent French team only until the first technical time-out in the first set (8-7 to France). After the break, the French players started building the gap with an aggressive play that Serbia could not match. The French were firmly in control and by the end of the set the home side could only shorten the distance for a tolerable 23-25 in favor of “Les Bleus”.
In the beginning of the second set France got off to an early 11-5 lead which allowed them to comfortably control the situation on the court. Once again Serbia tried to return to the match but could only cut the distance by a few points for yet another disappointing score of 22-25, and 0:2 in sets.
In the third set Serbia showed some fighting spirit and reacted with an early 10-7 lead. However, France never lost their focus and slowly but surely started narrowing the gap. They reached the tie at 12-12, and after that they once again took complete control of the match. Serbia was close, but not enough. In the end, it was a well deserved 25-21 for the straight-set sweep.
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