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02/07/2017 22:34
Rookies Finland and Ukraine to contest #EuroLeagueW final
2017 CEV Volleyball European League - Women

Luxembourg, July 2, 2017. Rookies Finland and Ukraine will contest the finals of this year’s CEV Volleyball European League – Women. Finland comfortably claimed also their semi-final re-match with Slovakia 3-0 and even though Ukraine lost 2-3 to Spain, the two sets they took in Guadalajara combined with their 3-1 home victory from a few days ago are enough to progress to the ‘grand finale’. Finland will host the first matchup in Helsinki on July 5 before the final act of the competition takes place on July 9 in Ukraine.

Finland vs. Slovakia

Rookies Finland reached the final stage of the CEV Volleyball European League – Women in their maiden appearance in the competition. They did so after claiming also the re-match of their semi-final with 2016 silver medal winners Slovakia, this time 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-21), after taking a 3-2 away victory last Wednesday in Poprad.

“The time we have spent together as a team produced today’s result,” said Finland head coach Tapio Kangasniemi. “We have always focussed on that one single ball and rally, not about the previous or the next one. We are confident that the way we do our things will eventually work fine. I will not say that this is the best performance we can deliver, but today we were good enough to win this important game. Qualifying to the finals is a sweet feeling for each single player and for the whole team as well. We feel ready to take on Ukraine in the next stage of the competition.”

“Congratulations to Finland, especially since they are participating in the European League for the very first time,” Slovakia coach Marek Rojko said. “We did the same last year and we eventually made it to the finals as well. This was a good competition to build our team and improve, so I accept the result of the semis with Finland.”

Finland put a lot of pressure on Slovakia with their service and they did so from the beginning of the match, especially courtesy of Piia Korhonen and Noora Kosonen.

The national broadcasting company YLE televised the match live nationwide – something which did not happen for many years to the women’s national team, and together with the much media attendance the players have received lately, this shows that women’s Volleyball is slowly but surely making it to the next level in that country.

Spain vs. Ukraine

Ukraine qualified for the finals of the 2017 CEV Volleyball European League – Women after playing two matches with Spain. On Sunday evening, the Spaniards claimed their home match 3-2 (22-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 15-5) but Ukraine used their 3-1 home victory and the 2 sets they took in Guadalajara to progress to the final stage of the competition.

After prevailing on home soil, the Ukrainian team prevented Spain from coming back and got the two sets they needed to make it to the finals.   

The spikes by Nadiia Kodola and Karyna Denysova helped Ukraine set their sights on the finals, as the Spaniards could not control the powerful attacks coming from the other side of the net. Spain tried to use the home ground factor in their favour but could not take the game to an all-deciding golden set.  
“It was an honour to be here playing the European League semi-finals. We knew that Ukraine would be a very difficult opponent, but at times, we played at a great level. We just missed that little something to be able to earn the qualification to the final. We were just so close,” said Spanish captain Helia Gonzalez.

With this result, Ukraine will continue their journey in the competition and will be trying to emulate their men’s national team – who on Sunday claimed gold in their first ever appearance in the European League after beating the Former Y.R. of Macedonia in Gentofte, Denmark.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the matches

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