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07/01/2020 22:26
Germans, Poles, Dutch off to victorious start in Apeldoorn
CEV Tokyo Volleyball European Qualification 2020 - Women

Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, January 7, 2020.  Germany surprised Turkey with a four-set win in the first match on the first competition day of Europe’s women’s Olympic qualification tournament. In the race for the single available Tokyo 2020 ticket, which got underway in Apeldoorn on Tuesday, Poland and the Netherlands also took their first victories, defeating Bulgaria and Azerbaijan, respectively.

Pool B: Germany vs. Turkey 3-1 (25-15, 21-25, 25-21, 25-21)

Germany produced a 3-1 (25-15, 21-25, 25-21, 25-21) upset of one of the tournament favourites, Turkey, in the opening game in Pool B. The first set was competitive only through 8-8. Germany broke away on the wings of a 10-1 run and never looked back. Outside spiker Hanna Orthmann scored eight times in the set and closed it off at 25-15 with a spike. Turkey’s reaction was immediate. With Hande Baladin on fire in offence and Zehra Günes delivering the blocks, they stormed into the second set with a 4-0 run and widened the gap to as many as eight points on the way to a 25-21 win. The Germans regained control of the scoreboard after 4-4 in set three and with Louisa Lippmann’s six spiking points kept the pace to a 25-21 close. The tightest battle was in the fourth set, at least through 18-18. Germany made up for the many unforced errors with prolific spiking and blocking to have the upper hand on the way to another 25-21 win. Orthmann contributed as many as nine points in the set towards a match high of 23. Lippmann, who put away the last ball of the match, finished with 22.

Pool A: Poland vs. Bulgaria 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-22)

Poland came back from a set down to claim a 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-22) victory over Bulgaria in the Pool A opener in Apeldoorn. In a very hard-fought first set, Bulgarian captain Elitsa Vasileva made the difference with two kill blocks and seven successful spikes, the last of which finished it off at 25-23. Two aces in a row by Magdalena Stysiak gave Poland a 10-7 lead in the second set. Stysiak and Malwina Smarzek-Godek were on fire in offence to keep their team in control before another ace by the 19-year-old spiker ended the set at 25-20 to level the match. Another two consecutive aces, this time by Natalia Medrzyk, gave Poland their first lead in the third set at 9-8. Good reception gave Joanna Wolosz plenty of options to organise the Polish offence and help break away to a 25-19 win. Poland’s aggressive spiking created a lot of digging work for Bulgarian libero Zhana Todorova in the fourth set, but her fantastic play in defence was only good enough to help wipe out a six-point deficit and level the score at 18-18. Poland regained control and, continuing to dominate at the net, went on to close the match at 25-22 with Smarzek hitting the winner. She became the best scorer of the game with 24 points to her name.

Pool A: Azerbaijan vs. The Netherlands 0-3 (23-25, 18-25, 22-25)

In front of almost three thousand fans on the stands at the Omnisport hall, the Netherlands mastered a 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-22) shutout of Azerbaijan for a successful start of their quest for the Olympic ticket. On a fantastic serving streak by Yelyzaveta Samadova, garnished with four aces, Azerbaijan went from 0-3 to 7-3 in the first set. However, with Robin de Kruijf’s impeccable performance at the net (three stuffs, 100% in attack), the Dutch came back and eventually stepped in front with a 25-23 win. The second set was competitive only through 5-5. De Kruijf continued to set an example and steered her team to a 25-18 finish to double their lead. The Azeris could not hold on to the 18-14 advantage they had in the third set. Dutch setter Laura Dijkema did a great job conducting the spikers and the Dutch blockers kept delivering to get their team to the straight-set victory, fixed at 25-22 with a powerful hit by Lonneke Slöetjes. Samadova was the best scorer of the match with 18 points. De Kruijf contributed 14, including six blocks, to the Netherlands’ win.

For further information, visit the official event website

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