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24/07/2017 22:08
A few sensations highlight opening day of 2017 EYOF Volleyball competition
2017 European Youth Olympic Festival

Győr, Hungary, July 24, 2017. The Volleyball competition of the 2017 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) started on Monday in Győr with some surprising results in the men’s U19 tournament and with the pre-favourites living up to the expectations in the women’s U18 event.

The opening match of the men’s tournament was a truly exciting one since reigning U19 European champions Czech Republic came back from two sets down to edge Poland 3-2 (21-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23, 17-15) after more than two hours of play. “The first two sets were not good. We were nervous so the game did not develop in the right way for us. Fortunately, we could turn the tables around and we won. I would like to thank my team for the spirit they showed in this match,” said Czech team captain Ondrej Piskacek. “We started weakly and with a wrong strategy,” added Czech coach Leos Sramek. “After the second set the players regrouped and joined forces, and we eventually managed to win at the tiebreak.”

The second match of the day in Pool A did not produce any surprise, as Russia easily routed hosts Hungary 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-11). Pavel Tetyukhin, player of Russia and son of legendary Sergey Tetyukhin, commented after the match: “We played aggressively enough to win today’s match. When Hungary play to the best of their abilities, they are a very dangerous opponent. However, with our performance we did not provide them with any chance to come back into the game.”
Later in the day, France caused a sensation by rallying to a comprehensive 3-0 victory (25-23, 25-22, 25-23) over the bronze medal winners from this year’s U19 European Championship, Turkey. Slimane Belmadi, coach of France said: “We were able to remain focused from start to end. It is the most important thing, as we could see earlier today when Poland lost after leading 2-0 in their match with Czech Republic. The third set was difficult for us but we managed to beat Turkey in the end.”

Finally, Italy fought for five sets but eventually beat Belgium 3-2 (25-18, 22-25, 25-19, 20-25, 15-9) in the other match of the day in Pool B. “It is always difficult to start a competition in the best way. Belgium is a really strong team. We had to remain focused until the last point. We are really happy for this victory and it feels good to take part in the EYOF. Now we have to focus on tomorrow’s challenge as we play Turkey,” said Davide Gardini who top scored for the Azzurrini with 23 points.

Italy had a walkover in the women’s competition as the Netherlands withdrew from the tournament earlier in the day as a result of a virus affecting all of their players. In their same pool, Belarus beat Germany 3-0 (25-12, 25-21, 25-21). “It was hard to start the tournament, but we managed to do so with a victory. After travelling, it is a bit difficult to perform well. The game was good and exciting, and Germany fought well against us,” Belarus team captain Hanna Kniazeva commented.

In Pool A, Russia beat Slovenia 3-0 (25-19, 28-26, 25-16) showing the ability to cope with the remarkable fighting spirit displayed by their opponents. “The first game is always very difficult and you feel the pressure to start the tournament in a good way. The match started well for us, but Slovenia made the second set very tough for us. It was a real fight. I am happy for our victory,” said Russia team captain Polina Shemanova.

To complete the programme of the opening day, Serbia beat hosts Hungary 3-0 (25-12, 25-19, 27-25). “We started really well and we could keep the lead from start to end. Toward the end of the match, we made some easy mistakes but we focused on serving and defence and showed that we are strong and we could win,” said Serbia player Barbara Batinic.

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