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06/09/2015 22:07
Hungary delight home fans to cruise to historic European League final
2015 CEV Volleyball European League - Women

Szombathely, Hungary, September 6, 2015. Hungary will be playing title-holder Turkey in the final of the 2015 CEV Volleyball European League – Women. The hosts edged Greece 3:1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-11, 25-17) on Sunday in Szombathely to make the final stage of the competition. They will be hosting Turkey on Thursday, September 10, in Érd, right in the outskirts of Budapest, before the re-match follows on Sunday, September 13, in Turkey.

The match started with a very close fight in the opening set where teams traded points initially and with Greece claiming a narrow lead at the first technical time-out which was then widened up to five points at the second mandatory break. The hosts made many mistakes at this stage of the match and especially their blocks were not effective at all. As Hungary was trailing by as many as seven points, their mentor Jan De Brandt decided to change setter with Zsanett Kötél entering the game. Though the home heroines were able to narrow down their deficit, still they could not prevent Greece from winning the first set by 25-22.

The excitement for the European League semi-final continued also in the second set. Hungary seemed to be back on track, scored point after point and got a margin of two points at the first technical time-out. However, they could not quite hold on to it and Greece levelled at 15 all. The teams seemed to be quite nervous as there was much at stake on Sunday night but it was Greece that at this stage gave away many points on their own errors. After the second technical time-out Hungary opened a seven-point lead and this was too much to stand for the visitors from Greece, with the home heroines pocketing the second set quite comfortably at 25-19.

The fans in attendance in Szombathely enjoyed a very solid performance from the home side in set 3, with Petra Széles and Dora Horvath adding some service aces to the tally of the local team. Dora Horvath helped Hungary also with some blocks and a clear triumph for Hungary in this stanza was not to be questioned at all, being eventually testified by a landslide 25-11 score line.

Hungary continued to perform well also in the fourth set where Renata Sandor – top scorer in the end with 25 points – and her teammates piled up a six-point advantage at the second technical time-out. Though they relaxed a bit too early this way helping a late comeback by Greece, Hungary regrouped quickly and continued to set the pace of the game, sealing their victory and qualification to the final at 25-17.

“We are making history,” home mentor Jan De Brandt said. “Last year we qualified for the Final Round of the European Championship for the first time since 1987 and now we have secured our promotion to the final stage of the European League. Sometimes dreams come true.”

“We made a way too many mistakes to stand any chance of winning tonight,” said Greece’s coach Ioannis Kalmazidis. “We did not perform well in serving and reception and this was a big problem for us which side-lined our game.”

Click here for further info including detailed stats of the match

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