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Poland remain unbeaten in Pool I after day two at the Boys' Youth European Championship

Poland is the sole team with an immaculate record of two wins in as many matches in Pool I of the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship - Boys

Laktaši, Bosnia and Herzegovina, April 14, 2013 – Poland maintained its perfect record and remained the only unbeaten team in Pool I of the 2013 CEV Boys’ Youth Volleyball European Championship after the second competition day in Laktaši. The team led by head coach Wieslaw Czaja managed another 3-0 shut-out, this time against Belgium. The following two games of the day Italy overcame Slovenia by 3-1 and Austria defeated the home team of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the same score.

Belgium versus Poland 0-3 (12-25, 13-25, 21-25)

Poland succeeded in maintaining a perfect record after its second match in Pool I in Laktaši. This time the team led by head coach Wieslaw Czaja shut out Belgium in 67 minutes of play. Captain Bartosz Bucko contributed a fantastic 23 points to the winning tally of his team. Substitute player Robbe Vandeweyer was Belgium’s top scorer with 8 points. Poland’s powerful serving and almost unstoppable attacks (82% success rate) completely demolished the opponent in the first set. 

Bartosz Bucko put one ball after another on the floor to pile up a huge advantage in Poland’s favour, while Pawel Gryc’s blast through the middle shaped up the final 25-12.

The story pretty much repeated itself in the second set. Once again, Poland completely dominated on the court and did not allow any doubts over its superiority. And again, captain Bucko was very prolific in widening the gap to get to an easy block by Rafal Szymura that finished it off at 25-13.

The first half of the third set was Belgium’s time in the match. Their offensive efforts started paying off and head coach Steven Vanmedegael’s players took control over the scoreboard. However, Poland confidently kept close behind and between the two technical time-outs managed to take the lead. Once again Bucko spearheaded his team’s attack and scored 8 points for the eventual 25-21.

Italy versus Slovenia 3-1 (25-18, 25-18, 15-25, 25-23)

Italy managed its first win in Pool I by allowing Slovenia to gain only one set in the exciting second match of the day in Laktaši. Tiziano Mazzone of Italy was the top scorer of the match with 16 points, while substitute player Toncek Stern became Slovenia’s most prolific player with 14.

In the first set Italy proved much stronger than Slovenia. By winning 5 rallies in a row it took an early 6-3 lead and never let go. With more productive attacking efforts and better blocking Andrea Tomasini’s boys widened the gap. The Slovenes also helped by making too many unforced errors. A Slovenian spike that went too wide gave Italy the last point in the set for 25-18.

Simone Giannelli’s serving in the second set, as well as that of Oreste Cavuto, ensured that Slovenia had a hard times and Italy once again dominated on the court. After 24-14, the Iztok Ksela’s team saved four of Italy’s set points, but it was too little too late – 25-18.

However, the end of the second set helped Slovenia to switch gears and to run over their opponents in the third. Inspired by their faithful supporters on the stands, they improved tremendously in blocking and offense and won the set by a stunning 25-15.

The fourth set was the one that left the best impression on everyone in the hall as it was an exciting and spectacular battle and could have gone either way. Both teams greatly improved their performance in all elements and reduced their unforced errors. Italy was particularly good at blocking while Slovenia impressed with its five aces in the set. At first, the Italians took the lead, then the Slovenes dominated for a while. Between the two technical breaks Italy managed to build up a solid 4-point advantage. Their opponents, however, had no intention of giving up. After 19-15 they won six consecutive rallies to take the lead again. At 23-20 and the set going Slovenia’s way, everyone was already preparing for episode 5, but not the Italians. They finished off the game with 5 points in a row with a special contribution by the Italian block.

Austria versus Bosnia & Herzegovina 3-1 (25-20, 28-30, 25-21, 25-22)

In Sunday’s last match of Pool I, Austria secured its first victory in the tournament as it defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina by 3-1 to the disappointment of the local crowd. Austria’s Paul Buchegger added an incredible 32 points to his tally to become the best scorer of the match. Teofan Budincic became Bosnia and Herzegovina’s top scorer with 12 points.

For the most part, the first set was very even and well-disputed, with several ties on the scoreboard and changes of the lead. The first time the gap exceeded 2 points was at 20-17 after Austria scored four in a row. This is when Nina Sawatzki’s team took off on a quest to win the set and finished it off in a convincing manner at 25-20 as Paul Buchegger piled up an impressive 11 points in this set.

The second set was even more exciting. Bosnia and Herzegovina secured an early 5-point lead and, well-assisted by their opponent’s many errors, was able to maintain control of the score through 20-17 when Austria won six rallies in a row to take over by 23-20. At 24-22 it had two opportunities to close the set, but failed to take advantage of either to provide for a thrilling end of the set in overtime. Eventually the Austrians made a couple  more mistakes in attack to allow the host team to win its first set in the tournament – 30-28.

Austria stormed to a 5-0 lead and took charge of the third set. While both teams committed many errors, Bosnia and Herzegovina was less efficient in its reception and offense and could not find the right weapon for a comeback. In the end Philipp Waller put the ball on the floor to push the final 25-21 Austria’s way.

Both sides came out more focused for part four of the match. Stepping up its spiking efforts, Bosnia & Herzegovina was in the lead in the first half, but Austria stayed on its toes to flip the score shortly before the second technical time-out. It kept up the pace and a powerful strike through the middle by Lukas Scheucher put an end to it all at 25-22.

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