Bulgaria shocks thousands of Polish fans as Italy, Russia, and Serbia also make 1/4 finals at 2013 CEV VELUX EuroVolley
Aarhus, Denmark/Gdansk, Poland, September 24, 2013 – On Tuesday Bulgaria upset more than 6,000 fans at ERGO Arena in Gdansk as the fourth-ranked side from last year’s Olympics and the 2013 FIVB World League beat hosts Poland in the Playoff round of the 2013 CEV VELUX EuroVolley. Bulgaria stormed back from two sets down to win at the tie-break (22-25, 22-25, 25-21, 26-24, and 18-16) and play Germany in the 1/4 finals in a remake of their clash from this past Saturday in Gdynia. The only 22-year old Grzegorz Bociek, the rising star of Polish Volleyball, ended up scoring 26 points but that was not enough for the local heroes to make it to the next round.
Bulgaria team captain Todor Aleksiev celebrates his side's win over hosts Poland after five dramatic sets |
“As we had expected this was a great match where both teams performed really good and fought until the end” said Poland team captain Marcin Mozdzonek. “One or two balls were crucial tonight. I would like to thank the fans and the organizers for what they all have done for us here in Gdansk. Though we are eliminated from the tournament, I can promise that this is not our last word and more is to come in the future”.
Russia also qualified to the 1/4 finals of the 2013 CEV VELUX EuroVolley after routing Slovakia in straight sets (25-20, 25-14, and 25-21) at ERGO Arena in Gdansk. On Wednesday the 2012 Olympic champions will vie for a spot in the semis coming up this weekend in Copenhagen playing France, the winner of prelim Pool B. “I am happy with the performance of my team. We wanted to focus on this game and save as much energy as possible for tomorrow. The score is fine though we could have performed better in some elements. We must try to improve on these things. Slovakia played good in their Pool but today we were the better side” said Russian mentor Andrey Voronkov.
Serbia ended Denmark’s home soil fairy tale with a solid straight win (25-17, 25-17, and 25-22) in fantastic crowd settings – with about 3,000 fans in attendance at NRGi Arena in Aarhus – and will match up with Belgium in Wednesday’s quarterfinals trying to claim a spot for the semis coming up this weekend at Parken stadium in Copenhagen.
Home hero Mads Ditlevsen was the top scorer of the game with 15 points. “Unfortunately we played our worst game of the tournament today and even though we are thrilled to reach the Playoffs I stand here with mixed emotions” he said. “First of all it was amazing to play here in front of all these spectators that went on to sing the last of the national song without music and that gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. Our service game was not good enough today and Serbia received our serves too well today”. The European Championships has nevertheless been one big positive experience for the Danish team: “These Championships on home soil have surpassed our wildest expectations and it was even bigger than we expected when we were told three years ago that Denmark was hosting this competition. The organization behind the Championship plus the excellent spectators and the big attention from the Danish media has made this a giant experience for the entire team”.
After surprisingly losing to Belgium this past Sunday in Odense, Italy got back on track edging the Netherlands 3:1 (24-26, 25-18, 25-21, and 25-18) to play Finland on Wednesday with a spot in the semis at stake. Italy did dissipate a clear lead in the first set but eventually regrouped to sweep the next three and get the right to challenge the Finns on Wednesday in a game that will be very special for their head coach Mauro Berruto, who mentored the “Suomis” from 2005 through 2010. “We were disappointed after the match against Belgium, and it was a tough first set but I am happy and proud of what happened from the second set” he said after the game with the Oranjes. “Very proud, we were very consistent today. I know Finland very well; this is not the first time we meet. Finland is consistent and plays good Volleyball; it’s not only attacking Volleyball. However, all teams should focus on themselves and that’s what we have done so far and we will continue to do the same”.
For further information about the 2013 CEV VELUX EuroVolley visit www.cev.lu as well as the official website www.eurovolley2013.dk
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