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27/06/2017 15:12
Slovakia and Finland will meet after nine years in #EuroLeagueW semi-final clash
2017 CEV Volleyball European League - Women

Poprad, Slovakia, June 27, 2017. The city of Poprad is ready to host the first semi-final clash between Slovakia and Finland in the 2017 edition of the CEV Volleyball European League – Women. The re-match will take place on Sunday in Helsinki. The match will start at 18:00 local time and live stream will be available at Spain and Ukraine will contest the other semi-final.

Slovakia are the silver medallists from last year – as they finished as runners-up to Azerbaijan in their first appearance in this European competition. The team coached by Marek Rojko qualified to the semis as the best runner-up from the three preliminary pools, after taking four wins and 12 points from the six matches they played in Spain and Portugal. The rookies from Finland, on the other hand, have enjoyed a great run so far in the competition, sweeping six matches in a row without dropping a single set in Pool A where they played Austria, Albania and Belarus.

“Finland play with an aggressive style, they have a very good setter, two great liberos and a dangerous opposite player. She plays bravely, but she makes mistakes as well and we want to take advantage of that. I expect very tough matches, because Finland are full of enthusiasm following their performance in the League Round and they will for sure travel here with a lot of self-confidence,” said the coach of Slovakia, Marek Rojko. His team’s performance from the service line will probably be the key to success in the matches with the Finns. “If we serve strong, their setter will have it more difficult to play their favourite game. Our team can serve well and I hope that we will be doing so. The previous experience we have from difficult matches, like this one will be, can also be an advantage for us,” added Rojko who will miss outside hitter Karin Palgutova because of injury. All other 13 players on the roster are ready for the final stages of the European League.
Finland are currently ranked 24 in Europe, i.e. nine places lower than Slovakia, but Volleyball in that country is growing rapidly. “They are getting better with every year. Finland is definitely the strongest team from northern Europe. Their men’s national team is one of the best in Europe and the quality of their women’s team is improving as well. We need to stay concentrated, be aggressive and try to make as few mistakes as possible in order to be successful,” Rojko added.
Finland took first place in Pool A with six wins, maximum 18 points and no sets lost. Their coach Tapio Kangasniemi did not have to make any changes to his team and he will bring the same 14 players to Slovakia, who contested the pool phase. “After quite a tough period we had a couple of days off before having two good practices in Helsinki. We have really progressed since we started working together at the beginning of May. Our journey is still on the way and the spirits are high, so we hope to make it to the last stage of the competition. The team is full of great players and together we can continue to progress focussing on every little detail and working hard in every training session. As a result, I am confident that we can achieve the best possible result in the European League,” said Kangasniemi.
Slovakia and Finland have played each other six times so far, with Slovakia boasting a record of five wins and one loss. Their matchup in Poprad will be the first one in more than nine years. The last time they played each other dates back to May 25, 2008 when Slovakia beat Finland in straight sets at the Savaria Cup, an international tournament annually held in the Hungarian city of Szombathely.

News nr. 7 of 20
28/06/2017 22:12:00
Finland and Ukraine extend #EuroLeagueW winning streak in first round of semis
25/06/2017 19:04:00
Results go as per the standings with Ukraine beating France and Montenegro winning against Georgia to secure 3rd

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