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24/06/2017 22:20
Ukraine qualify for the #EuroLeagueW semis after 3-0 victory over Georgia and France take enthralling win
2017 CEV Volleyball European League - Women

Nantes, France, June 24, 2017.  Ukraine have qualified for the semi-finals of the 2017 CEV Volleyball European League - Women with a match to spare.  A 3-0 win (25-16, 25-15, 25-14) over Georgia was enough to ensure they will top Pool B and as such are guaranteed a place in the next phase of the competition.  While nearly 200 points of high level action between Montenegro and France ended with the latter taking their second home victory of the weekend.

 Ukraine vs. Georgia

It’s done! Ukraine officially reached the semis of the European League after securing a 3-0 victory (25-16, 25-15, 25-14) in their matchup with Georgia.  Outside hitter Karyna Denysova top scored with 14 points, closely followed by her teammate Anna Stepaniuk (13 points).  Georgia fought hard against Ukraine but Gariy Yegiazarov’s team was too strong in most aspects of the game. In the first set, Ann Kalandadze cancelled a first set ball with an impressive line spike (24-15). However, Ukraine, confident with their margin of eight points, easily grabbed the first set 25-16 on one of the seven Georgian serving faults in the set.

It was 25-15 in the second set, which was pretty much one-sided from start to finish. At the very start of the third set, Ann Kalandadze, the real leader of the Georgian team, fell down after a spike and she injured her ankle (2-0).  Georgia saved three match balls but Ukraine finally confirmed their ticket to the semis by winning the third and last set scoring the ultimate point to end it 25-14!

Ana Mariam Kipshidze, setter of Georgia: “We lost but it was a great game. We were excited to play against a team like Ukraine. We should not worry about the injury to Ann (Kalandadze). It seems to not be serious, but it was better to get her off the court.”

Nadiia Kodola, captain of Ukraine: “This match was an opportunity for our coach to operate many team changes he gave play-time to everybody and allowed me to rest a bit for tomorrow’s opposition, France.  Our biggest aim against France is to limit direct faults and then we just need to play our game as we did since the beginning of the competition.  Each time the French national team play at home, it is a full gym. Tomorrow’s match will be exciting. I love to play in France and I know the French audience (after playing in Cannes for two seasons), there is always a good atmosphere and some fans may choose to support my team (laugh).”

Montenegro vs. France

France claimed a second home victory as they beat Montenegro 3-1 (25-21, 25-27, 25-23, 26-24). Both teams played at their best level and offered an impressive fight for the 1,050 supporters in the Salle Sportive Métropolitaine; France, who will in any case participate in the FIVB World Grand Prix, are now playing for pride after it was determined that they could no longer top the group.

With numerous entertaining rallies, the first period set the tone for the rest of the game. The two teams were neck and neck until the middle of the first set (13-13). The French formation widened the gap just before the second technical time-out (16-13) and kept their pace until the end of the set. The audience exploded with joy when Juliette Fidon scored the decisive spike to finish it 25-21.

In the beginning of the second set, Les Bleues lost their captain Pauline Martin who left the court due to what appeared to be a serious knee injury. Montenegro seized their chance with outside hitting duo Jelena Cvijovic and Ksenija Ivanovic being offensively efficient. France opposite Alexandra Dascalu, top scorer of the match with 22 points including five aces, showed high abilities with the ball at the service line and in attack to keep the team in it (13-13, 18-16). Odette Ndoye took the reins during the money time by scoring two decisive points (24-24, 25-25) but Ivanovic’s powerful arm took the winning point 27-25.

The third set was not simple but Juliette Fidon guided her team to victory 25-23. The crucial twenties period was thrilling. Montenegro achieved an important block to lead 23-22 but France responded to equalise 23-23 and two points later, French setter Oriane Amalric sent over an ace (25-23).

Montenegro were in the lead during the major part of the last set but the French did not give up and came back with Juliette Fidon’s monster block to level the score at 17-17.  Montenegro had one set ball that French setter Amalric cancelled with a sneaky tip. Juliette Fidon, concluded the match with two powerful spikes 26-24 and 3-1 for her team.

Alexandra Dascalu, opposite of France: “I guess they worked a lot on our game before the match because they bothered us a lot. We faced much more difficulties than during the first round but we knew that this game would be won mentally and as a group. During the third set, it was difficult to stay focused after Pauline’s (Martin) injury but we did the job during the two next sets. We really wanted to play for her.”

Felix André, head coach of France: “It’s a brilliant victory but it’s difficult for me to appreciate it now. Because there is no more at stake, the match tomorrow against Ukraine will be an opportunity to give play-time to every player, firstly to our younger ones.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the matches

News nr. 9 of 20
25/06/2017 19:04:00
Results go as per the standings with Ukraine beating France and Montenegro winning against Georgia to secure 3rd
23/06/2017 22:30:00
3-0 the score line of the day in #EuroLeagueW as Ukraine and France chase Semi-final spots

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