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24/08/2017 22:00
The Netherlands and Bulgaria one win away from qualifying for women’s World Champs
2018 FIVB Volleyball World Championship - Women

Rotterdam, the Netherlands, August 24, 2017. The Netherlands and Bulgaria will meet on Sunday, but both teams can qualify for the 2018 edition of the FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship before they lock horns. Thursday’s victory over the Czech Republic was a routine one for the Oranjes. They are yet to drop a set in the tournament they are hosting in Rotterdam. Bulgaria did not manage to keep a clean sheet, losing a set to Greece but the ‘Lionesses’ have swept three matches in a row so far as well. Belgium bounced back from Wednesday’s loss to the home team with a 3-1 win over Slovenia.

The Netherlands vs. Czech Republic 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-18)

Thursday brought a third straight 3-0 victory for the home team in Topsportcentre Rotterdam. This time the Czech Republic were unable to win a set against the Netherlands. With this result, the women in orange cemented their leading position in the third-round European qualifier for the World Championship due to take place next year in Japan.

Jamie Morrison, coach of the Netherlands: “This feels good; we are playing really well, also mentally. We are excited about the matches to come, and if we manage to play like this, we can beat the big teams from Slovenia and Bulgaria too. I think they are the best candidates for qualification; may the best win.”

Today’s top scorer Lonneke Slöetjes (21 points) stated: “Winning in straight sets always contributes to our confidence. Everybody was playing well; the atmosphere is relaxed, even though we want to win every match. No, we are not interested in scores and rankings, we want to win this tournament, and we aim for the maximum number of points.”

Czech coach Zdenek Pommer first complimented his Dutch colleague: “Big respect for the Netherlands. We know the power of the Dutch team. On top of that, we made too many mistakes today and were not able to create service pressure. We had our best moments at the end of the second set, but that was not enough.”

His captain Aneta Havlickova: “We knew the Netherlands are very strong, and we expected a hard game, but hoped to be able to put more pressure. The Dutch team played really well. We don’t have a chance to qualify anymore, but we will give our best for ourselves and the crowd here: what an atmosphere, I really like it!”

Bulgaria vs. Greece 3-1 (26-24, 21-25, 25-21, 25-17)

Although Bulgaria won the match, Greece were successful in Thursday’s opening match at the World Championship qualifier in Rotterdam as well since they claimed their first set in the tournament. The third 3-1 win for Bulgaria consolidates their second position in the current standing of the competition.

Bulgaria started with a completely different team today. “Saturday Belgium awaits us, and this will be a crucial match for us. I want my usual starting six to be fresh and ready for that match,” stated Bulgaria coach Ivan Dimitrov afterwards.

His captain Elitsa Vasileva added: “Our attack is our strongest point. We have twelve players ready to play at the highest level. That is how it should be.”

Though Greece won a set, their coach Georgios Rousis was not satisfied: “Yes, we played at a higher level today, but it was not enough to win. We made many mistakes in the third set. I believe we can do better, hopefully we will show that in the last two matches.”

Greek captain Aikaterina Giota: “It gives us a good feeling to win a set. We were quite frustrated over the first two matches, especially since we are not in good shape. We try to do better and to improve with every game.”

Slovenia vs. Belgium 1-3 (24-26, 13-25, 25-23, 23-25)

Belgium had to give a tough fight but managed to defeat Slovenia in four sets to remain in contention for a ticket to next year’s World Championship.

Winning coach Gert Vande Broek: “This was a really tough match for us, since Slovenia clearly knew how to hurt us. We had a bad start, but the substitutions worked out well. In the second set, we had full control, but we started messing everything up in the third. Slovenia varied a lot in service and attack and they know our weak spots. This was the best preparation for Saturday’s match against Bulgaria; we will start frank and will give the best we have.”

Belgian captain Charlotte Leys: “It was a close call in the first set, we gained trust by winning it and it helped us get control. From complete control to stress in the third act, where we did not succeed in pushing through and helped Slovenia gain back their confidence. The fourth set was still stressful, but fortunately we won and are still in the race for that World Championship ticket.”

Slovenian coach Alessandro Chiappini: “It was a close match, our reception worked really well in the opening set, but we made too many mistakes with our service and therefore could not put enough pressure on the opposition. In the third set we played really well, my team used all of its power and I am satisfied about their performance against a team as strong as Belgium.”
Eva Mori, captain of Slovenia: “Experience won this match. We are young and not that experienced yet. We played the best we could and wanted to have fun too. Saturday we play against the home team, we love the audience here.”

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News nr. 3 of 22
26/08/2017 23:28:00
The Netherlands and Bulgaria complete European contingent for 2018 women’s Worlds
23/08/2017 22:28:00
The Netherlands rout Belgium to set sights on ticket to 2018 World Champs

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