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21/04/2018 19:38
Gold for Russia at #EuroVolleyU17W
2018 CEV U17 Volleyball European Championship - Women

Sofia, Bulgaria, April 21, 2018.  The team of Russia seized probably their most important victory – the one in the final match of the 2018 CEV U17 Volleyball European Championship – Women. The players headed by Svetlana Safronova took a 3-1 win over Italy to emerge as the strongest team in Europe in this age group. Both Russia and Italy showed great Volleyball skills in the final match – long rallies and intense play but eventually the Russians were more concentrated in the decisive moments. The Azzurrine go home with the silver medals, while Turkey finished in third place after a 3-1 win over Bulgaria.  Romania outclassed the team of Belarus to finish the competition in fifth place. The players headed by Marius Macarie claimed a 3-0 victory over their opponents and leave the competition on a positive note. Germany secured their spot in the 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival due to take place in Baku after a 3-2 win over the team of Slovenia after coming back from two sets down.

Final match

Russia vs. Italy 3-1 (30-28, 26-24, 20-25, 26-24)

 •    As expected, both teams showed great class of Volleyball skills in the first set, constantly breathing down the necks of the opponent. In the last minutes of the set, Italy lost a bit their rhythm and Natalia Slautina’s service made it a bit difficult for the Azzurrine. They play continued point-for-point as the last minutes of this part were marked by great attacks by both teams. Eventually, Russia proved to be better at 30-28.
•    Russia started better in the second part but Italy managed to stay focused and to make it difficult in reception for their opponents. Despite they were behind in the score, Italy weren’t giving up but eventually Russia took what they wanted from this set (26-24).
•    On the contrary, Italy started just great in the third part claiming a seven-point gap with Loveth Oghosasere Omoruyi at the service line. However, the players around Svetlana Safronova showed great character by equalizing and even taking the lead by 9-8. They were able to maintain their small lead for a while but the Azzurrine showed they don’t give up easily – great on defence, they took this set.
•    As in the previous parts of this final match, the spectators in Hristo Botev sports hall witnessed some great and long rallies. Russia and Italy were exchanging constantly the leading role (6-8, 16-13). The most interesting part was with the result being 23-23 when Elizaveta Kochurina made an ace but the Italians managed to save the first match point. However, Russia emerged victorious winning the second match point at 26-24.

Svetlana Safronova, head coach: “It was a long journey but we did it and I am really happy. This is the third time Russia is a champion. It was very difficult but it was worth it – seeing my players happy. But it was difficult for us – my players became a real team during this tournament and were able to show the Russian character. It was a great experience for the girls – all that happened here will help them improve and develop.”

Elizaveta Gosheva, captain of Russia: “I am very happy, what I feel now cannot be described in simple words. It was a very hard year for us, we faced many difficulties during the preparation for #EuroVolleyU17W. But we managed to cope with them and I am happy that we did it as a team.”

Marco Mencarelli, head coach of Italy: “If you see the numbers in the stats, you can find the answer why we didn't play five sets today. The truth is we risked more in the final than we should have done and we paid a high price for it because we made some mistakes. However, it was a wonderful match for Italy – sometimes things just go wrong. Congratulations to Russia!”

Classification match 3/4

Turkey vs. Bulgaria 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 21-25, 25-19)

 •    Turkey started better but led by their captain Maria Yordanova (two aces in a row), the Lionesses got closer to their opponents. With the set unfolding, the two teams exchanged the lead but Turkey emerged victorious at 25-21.
•    Sabire Karacaova from Turkey at the service line made it difficult for Bulgaria’s reception. The head coach of Bulgaria Stojan Gunchev reacted and took a timeout to stop Karacaova. Although the Bulgarians tried to respond, Turkey were precise in the decisive moments and grabbed the second set.
•    Bulgaria were too nervous in the third part and made some unforced errors. However, they managed to get back and after a close race, the hosts were able to stay alive in the game.
•    The players around head coach Bülent Gunes performed very well at the net in the next part, being “sharp” in attack and showing good play with their block, and thus, were leading deservedly by the second technical timeout (16-10). Inspired, the Turks put an end to the discussion and closed that part and this way brought the bronze medals home.
•    Aleksandra Georgieva from Bulgaria became the top scorer of the match with 26 points.

Bülent Gunes, head coach of Turkey: “I am happy! I am happy for the girls, for all the staff! Today it was a tough match between two strong teams but my players played as one machine. We stand together. I want to say “Thank you!” to all the people who were involved in the organisation of this incredible championship! Everybody here had a big smile, helped us a lot and with this bronze medal we will have the perfect memory from Sofia!”

Gülce Güctekin, player of Turkey: “It’s great! I mean – it’s a bronze medal, an incredible feeling! It was a good match for us. We played well and we won!”

Elif Su Eriçek, player of Turkey: “I am so happy! One of my dreams just came true! I have a medal from the European Championship! Fantastic!"

Stojan Gunchev, head coach of Bulgaria: “Congratulations to Turkey! Maybe today they played their best match at #EuroVolleyU17W. They served really well and did a great job in defence – they played very, very well. Our game was not on the level we showed yesterday against Italy. But in general, it was a good tournament for us! We finished fourth and took the ticket for the World Championship. It was one of our goals and we achieved it.”

Classification match 5/6

Romania vs. Belarus 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-11)


•    Romania started better this match and being more stable in the different components of the game, they took the opening set.
•    Belarus’ response was better in the first moments of the second set but Romania managed to equalize step by step and won this section of the game as well.
•    The Romanians were also definitely better in the third set, leaving no doubts behind that they deserved this win.
•    Mara Dumitrescu scored 16 points for the winners.

Marius Macarie, head coach of Romania: “I’m satisfied with our performance at this tournament. We finish fifth which is a good result. Our girls today played as if this match was a final one for the gold medals. I’m really glad about that because if they want to become professional players they must play until the end, always like this! Generally, I think all teams were one level better than last year.”

Dzmitry Kot, head coach of Belarus: “We were nervous and maybe a little bit scared today. Maybe we are tired at the end of this long journey or maybe this match was difficult from a mental point of view and we were not motivated enough. Congratulations to Romania, they played better than us today. Everything now is history and we can be satisfied. We have a lot to improve and to prepare for our next challenge – the World Championship next year!”

Classification match 7/8

Slovenia vs. Germany 2-3 (25-23, 25-19, 17-25, 20-25, 7-15)

•    Germany were leading during the entire opening set but their opponents from Slovenia showed great character in the last, decisive moments and made a great comeback for a 25-23 win.
•    Team Slovenia started better in the first moments of the second stanza but then the Germans got back on their feet and the play got more intense, with a neck-to-neck race. However, the players headed by Boris Klokocovnik managed to take the lead again and closed this part in their favour as well.
•    Germany improved their performance in the third set and thanks to good defence held on to their early advantage taking the set win at 25-17.
•    There were lots of great Volleyball rallies in the fourth set as both teams were giving their best but eventually Germany could level the score at 2-2 and bring this match into a tiebreak.
•    In the final decisive part, Germany proved to be better with great attacks and deservedly brought the win home.

Boris Klokocovnik, head coach of Slovenia: “We won the first two sets but generally, in this tournament, our weakest point were the service and reception. Germany were better than us in these two elements and I congratulate them on claiming the seventh place at #EuroVolleyU17W! For us it was the first big tournament we participated in. Last year we didn’t qualify for the U16 finals and for all girls this championship was an unforgettable journey which gave them a lot of experience for the future.”

Jens Tietböhl, head coach of Germany: “I’m really satisfied with our performance today! The girls showed great character and managed to come back after being two sets down in their last match at this so long tournament. This championship was really emotional for the whole team. First we were really close to reaching the semifinals, then we didn’t get the World championship ticket losing from Belarus on Friday. This made today’s match and win really important for the girls - they wanted badly to go home with a victory and good memories! The European Youth Olympic Festival next year is our next challenge. It’s a great tournament, we know that and it’s a great chance for our players to play with the best teams in Europe and to show what they are able to do!”  

#EuroVolleyU17W Dream team

Best Outside Hitters

Aleksandra Georgieva (BUL)
Loveth Oghosasere Omoruyi (ITA)

Best Middle Blockers:

Elizaveta Kochurina  (RUS)
Claudia Consoli (ITA)

Best Opposite Hitter:
Sude Hacimustafaoglu (TUR)

Best Setter:  
Polina Matveeva (RUS)

Best Libero:
Gülce Güctekin (TUR)  

Most Valuable Player:
Valeriia Gorbunova (RUS)

Final standing:

1.    Russia * **
2.    Italy * **
3.    Turkey * **
4.    Bulgaria * **
5.    Romania * **
6.    Belarus * **
7.    Germany **
8.    Slovenia
9.    Serbia
10.    The Netherlands
11.    Ukraine
12.    Hungary

* Qualified for the 2019 FIVB U18 World Championship (venue TBC)
** Qualified for the 2019 European Youth Olympic Festival in Baku (AZE)

Click here for further information.

News nr. 2 of 28
21/04/2018 23:25:00
Getting to know the #EuroVolleyU17W MVP, Valeriia Gorbunova
20/04/2018 13:55:00
Russia and Italy to fight for #EuroVolleyU17W gold, Romania and Belarus qualify for 2019 FIVB U18 Girls' Volleyball Worlds

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