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Austria and Belgium earn their second wins in Pool I as Poland make it to next round at Youth European Champs

Austria's team captain Florian Ertl celebrates his team's second win at the final round of the Youth European Champs

Laktaši, Bosnia and Herzegovina, April 15, 2013 - Poland continues to maintain its perfect record in Pool I of the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship – Boys after completion of the third competition day in Laktaši as it managed its third shutout in a row with Italy as Monday’s victim.

While well on its way to the semi-finals, the team of Wieslaw Czaja already secured a place in the next round among the top eight teams of the tournament. In the second match of the day Austria celebrated its second victory in the pool – 3:1 against Slovenia. So did Belgium as it defeated the home team of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the same score.

The top six of the Championship will qualify for the 2013 FIVB Volleyball U19 Boys' World Championship coming up later this summer in Tijuana and Mexicali, Mexico.

Poland vs. Italy 3:0 (28-26, 25:21, 25-16)

Poland set its foot firmly on top of the current standings in Pool I by managing its third straight-set win, this time over Italy, and maintaining a perfect record after competition day 3 in Laktaši. 
The team around head coach Wieslaw Czaja shut out Italy in 81 minutes of play. Captain Bartosz Bucko was the game’s top scorer with 16 points. Middle blocker Pawel Gryc impressed with 3 aces and 5 kill blocks for a total of 15 points, as many as did Sebastiano Milan, Italy’s most prolific player in the match.

The first set was by far the most interesting one. There were several changes in the lead and the gap never exceeded 3 points in favor of Italy and 2 points in favor of Poland. The Polish block contributed as many as 5 points to the eventual success in the set, but it was Pawel Gryc’s brilliant ace that closed it off at 28-26 Poland’s way.
Italy stormed into the second set with a 3-0 run, but its lead did not last very long. Poland caught up at 5-5 and a little later established control over the rest of the set. Better serving was one of its advantages in this set, and it was once again an ace for the final point, this time by Artur Szalpuk, that finished it off at 25-21.
Setter Krzysztof Bienkowski nicely spread out the Polish attacks in the third set as his team completely dominated on court to pile up a huge gap and win the set by a convincing 25-16.

Slovenia vs. Austria 1:3 (17-25, 25-22, 20-25, 23-25)

Austria reached out for a place in the next phase of the European Championship as it earned its second victory in Pool I. The team around head coach Nina Sawatzki celebrated a 3:1 win over Slovenia in the second match of the day in Laktaši. Austria’s Paul Buchegger once again spear-headed the scorers’ chart with an impressive tally of 26 points. Substitute player Jakob Rojnik with 10 points was the best scorer on the other side of the net.

The first set was relatively leveled through 9-10, after which Austria rushed forward scoring 4 consecutive points with Daniel Egger behind the serving line. Slovenia never recovered from this blow and lost the set by 17-25.
Some great serving by Slovenia’s captain Jernej Vhrunc (4 aces in the set) gave his team the edge in the second part of the match. Slovenia made a 7-point run to take s 10-3 lead. Austria tried to fight its way back and gradually succeeded by tying the score at 19 each. However, inspired by the enthusiastic support from their fans on the stands, the Slovenes regained an advantage to win the set by 25-22.

In set 3 it was Austria’s turn to dominate again. Paul Buchegger continued to spike point after point, but now he also demonstrated his blocking skills to total 11 points in the set. This time Austria achieved a 7-point run to rush forward for 14-5 and then closed the set comfortably by 25-20.
The fourth set was the most exciting in the match. Improved digging and receiving from both sides resulted in longer rallies as Slovenia gradually recovered from an early 2-point lag to gain a 3-point lead of its own. Austria did not give up and leveled the score at 20 each. After 23-23 the Slovenes could not keep their cool and made two unforced errors to give away the victory to the opponents.

Bosnia & Herzegovina vs. Belgium 1:3 (16-25, 14-25, 25-13, 13-25)

By winning the 3 points from Monday’s last match, Belgium positioned itself as third in the current standings, well in contention for a spot in the semis. It presented the hosts from Bosnia and Herzegovina their third loss in the tournament by defeating them 3-1. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s captain Muris Krivokapa became the game’s top scorer with 20 points while Lowie Stuer was most prolific for the winning team with 16.

The score in the first set developed evenly only through the first technical time-out. As captain Sander Depovere’s serves gave Bosnia and Herzegovina a lot of hard time, Belgium made 7 consecutive points to take a 12-7 advantage. Its performance in offense was way more productive with the efficient spiking by Thomas Konings and Jonas Colson. The gap was gradually extended to 9 points as Lowie Stuer found an empty spot in the opponent’s half to cleverly put the ball away for the final 25-16.
The Belgian domination continued through the second set. From the very first rally Steven Vanmedegael’s team took the lead and did not let it go through the end. Bosnia and Herzegovina also helped by making too many mistakes to fall way behind in the score. A fantastic strike by Thomas Konings shaped up the final 25-14 in the set.

The roles were completely switched in the next set. The home team took total control of the scoreboard. Bosnia and Herzegovina stepped up its blocking efforts while captain Muris Krivokapa scored point after point in attack. Substitute player Milenko Simikic’s serving did not make it any easier for the Belgians as they trailed far behind their opponents. Dušan Kuzmanovic’s explosive hit off the block stamped the win for his team at the convincing 25-13.
But this third set turned out to be just a small bump on Belgium’s road to the victory in this match. In the fourth set things went back to the way they were and the Belgians mercilessly crushed their opponents. Jonas Colson put an end to the demolition work as he attacked successfully to close the set at 25-13 and the match at 3:1.

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