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04/05/2012 19:04
Germany makes it to the semis with straight sets against Bulgaria
2012 Olympic Games - European Qualification

Ankara, Turkey, May 4, 2012.  Germany secured a semifinal spot at the 2012 Olympic Games - European Qualification for women.  It claimed second place in Pool I by shutting out Bulgaria 3:0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-11) in the last match.  Giovanni Guidetti’s team now has to wait for the outcome of the last match in Pool II – The Netherlands vs. Russia, to find out who will be its opponent in tomorrow’s semifinal.
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In the first set Bulgaria attacked better than Germany, but also made way too many unforced errors. After the second technical time-out the Germans started piling up an advantage that reached 6 points at 22-16. Bulgaria tried fighting back with some strong serving from Dobriana Rabadzhieva and reduced the gap, but eventually Margareta Anna Kozuch rewarded herself for her good performance so far and closed the set with a powerful spike.
In the beginning of the second set Bulgaria tried even harder and was able to stay on top until a series of 5 consecutive points for Germany flipped the score from 12-15 to 17-15.  Emiliya Nikolova, who came off as a substitute player for Bulgaria, responded by scoring 3 points in the next 3 rallies, but then another 5 points in a row gave Germany the advantage it needed to win the set.
The third set was a completely different game.  The ladies from the Balkans lost their concentration and were completely demolished by a powerful Germany. Kozuch continued her scoring frenzy and it was she again who closed the match with a blasting hit for 25-11.
With a total of 21 points in the three sets the German captain Kozuch became the top scorer of the match.  ”In the first two sets Bulgaria put a lot of pressure on us and did not give up,” she said.  ”It was a very important match for both teams and I am glad we won.  We look forward to tomorrow’s semifinal.”  Her Bulgarian counterpart Strashimira Filipova agreed: ”We played a good game in the first two sets, but we could not press more in our attacks to realize more points.  The German team was very aggressive in offense and handled the match well.”
”This was like two different matches today,” head coach of Bulgaria Marcello Abbondanza stated. ”In the first two sets our team played a good game. We lost these two sets due to simple mistakes. In the third set we played much worse - a completely different game.”  His Italian compatriot and coach of Germany Giovanni Guidetti added:  ”It was a very tough match, especially after our loss against Turkey yesterday. The first two sets were very challenging, Bulgaria played very well, especially in attacks. Our team did a good job and is going to play in the semifinal tomorrow. I hope we will accomplish what we came here for.”

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