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15/07/2019 21:30
Absorbing #EuroVolleyU17M Day 3 in Sofia
2019 CEV U17 Volleyball European Championship - Men

Sofia, Bulgaria, July 15, 2019.  The Day 3 of the #EuroVolleyU17M brought a number of exhilarating games in Sofia. After Monday's action only Bulgaria and France stay unbeaten and are only a step away from qualifying to the semifinals, while in Pool II we have no longer any undefeated team, as Poland outclassed Portugal and Czech Republic lost to Italy after five thrilling sets and Russia could finally celebrate their first win.
Pool I

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

A Balkan clash opened the Day 3 in Pool I in Hristo Botev Hall where Turkey beat Romania 3-0. After the quick first set (25-11) the Turks kept playing their best despite all the dangerous situations which their opponents put them in. The Romanians had their chances to tie in the next two sets but their rival performed better and more confidently in the key moments. Alper Ayar was the only player of Turkey with double digit points, scoring 10.

Ali Yilmaz, head coach of Turkey: “It was a good game for us. First of all I would like to thank and congratulate my team for the spirit they showed. They played very well. We met a great opponent and achieved an important win for our tournament plan but nothing has finished yet. Now it’s time to focus on our next matches.”

Vasile George Breban, captain of Romania: “We lost today but it all came to our fault for sure. We had our chances but we also made too many mistakes. We still have two matches ahead and I hope that we will perform better and finally get a win.”
Bulgaria stay unbeaten in Pool I. The hosts claimed their third straight-set victory after beating Belarus. The first set was extremely competitive and none of the teams went more than three points ahead. However, the hosts were those who managed to clean up their minds right on time for the successful end (27-25). After a similar start in the second part, Bulgaria scored five points in a row maintaining a comfortable advantage (8-4) that Belarus couldn't recover from for the rest of the set (25-21). An ace by Aleksandar Nikolov for 25-23 in set 3 ended the match and brought all the players and Bulgarian supporters the awaited satisfaction.

Martin Stoev, head coach of Bulgaria: “We survived a very tough match, but the win is the most important thing, so I am satisfied. We accomplished our tournament goal in 99%. Now it’s time for a little rest because my players look a bit tired. Afterwards we will be ready for new great matches.”

Maksim Trotski, captain of Belarus: “We are not happy with this match because we had to win. We showed a will, but on the other hand we made a lot of mistakes. I really hope that we will manage to improve our game in the matches ahead.”
France remain unstoppable after achieving  their third win to top the standings in Pool I. The Frenchmen beat Finland 3-0 in the last match for Day 3 in Hristo Botev Hall. France dominated on the court during the entire match and the Finns couldn’t find any way to put their opponent in trouble. Nathan Canovas led all the scorers for the third time in a row as he finished with 12 points. 

Olivier Audabram, head coach of France: “We are happy that we won this match. We kept our right way to the top of the pool. It was very important to stay focused especially in the third set when Finland made the things difficult for us. I am happy that we managed to keep pushing them and got the victory.”

Janne Heikkinen, head coach of Finland: “France played very well tonight. They served really well for our level of reception. We just couldn’t receive which made everything very difficult for us. We are disappointed for sure. It’s time to take a deep breath and try to improve our game for the next matches.
Pool II

Portugal vs. Poland 1-3 (25-27, 20-25, 25-20, 26-28)

Poland led by their captain Jakub Olszewski (22 points) claimed their second win in the #EuroVolleyU17M,  thus stopping the winning streak of Portugal. The opener was played on a point-by-point basis up to 10-10, then Portugal jumped to 13-10 and the Poles started their chase. In the decisive part of the set Portugal had a set-point, but eventually Poland won. The Poles had an impressive start to the second set, being even five points ahead, however soon after Portugal totally reduced the gap. At 19-19 Poland started again their winning march making their opponents helpless, but the situation changed in the next part when Portugal dominated on the court having a five-point-advantage for most of the time. Also in the last part Portugal were on the lead, but Poland tied at 6-6 and since then, the two teams exchanged the lead back and forth. Poland needed four match-balls to end the game.

Ariel Fijoł, head coach of Poland: "We have a team which needs real emotions, so we created it today by ourselves. Portugal play nice and quick volleyball and once we let them thrive, they were performing great. We had some downs, and in the decisive part we played easy game, but we knew that we have to win and to do so with our hearts.”

Nuno Miguel dos Santos Pereira, head coach of Portugal: "The first sets had a huge influence on the final result. We didn't use opportunities which we had and made not the best decisions. In the third part we came back to game, but the last set was a continuation of the others, in the decisive moments we didn't manage to use our chances."
Czech Republic vs. Italy 2-3 (25-20, 23-25, 25-23, 20-25, 12-15)

The Czechs started the game in impressive style, getting a six-point-lead already at 8-2 and remained unstoppable in the opening set. Italy banished memories of their poor start winning the second part. The third set was a fierce battle, while in the fourth Italy gained advantage already at the beginning, which they kept till the end. The Italians started the tie-break in spectacular way reaching a 6-1 lead, the Czechs reduced the gap to 8-6, but the initiative was on the Italian side. Captain Luca Porro was the strongest weapon in the decisive set as he scored six points (23 in total), however the best scorer of the game was David Kollator of Czech Republic with 26 points.

Renato Barbon, head coach of Italy: "In the first set we made too many mistakes and it influenced our self-confidence, but we had nothing to lose, so during the match we improved our game and did our best. We are still trying to reach our highest level, but we struggle with some issues."

Jiri Zach, head coach of Czech Republic: "After a very good beginning and easy win in the first set, we allowed Italy to get back to game in the second part. The problem on our side was that we were not able to avoid mistakes."
Russia vs. Greece 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-20)

Russia was seeking their first victory in #EuroVolleyU17M after losing the first two encounters and they started the match against Greece fully motivated and focused on their mission. The young Greeks performed very well in reception, but it was not enough to stop the Russians, who dominated in attack and block. Greece made every effort to stop their opponents, but didn’t manage to overcome Russia. Alexandros Nanopoulos of Greece again got match-high, scoring 18 points, while for Russia Mikhail Labinskii tallied 11.

Vladimir Khromenkov, head coach of Russia: "Today we tried to play more technically and tactically, it was very important ahead of the clash with Italy. I'm happy about the result, but as a coach I see still room for improvement."
Georgios Bakodimos, head coach of Greece: "I'm trying new positions for my players for the next years. It's not a matter of only body, but also a psychological thing. We have to think about the future team now. All squads who competed at the Balkan Championship struggle now with many problems, because other European teams are more fresh than us."
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News nr. 7 of 31
17/07/2019 21:00:00
Bulgaria and France secure spots in #EuroVolleyU17M semifinals
14/07/2019 22:00:00
France, Bulgaria, Portugal and Czech Republic still undefeated in the #EuroVolleyU17M

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