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09/01/2020 23:40
Poland upset hosts to join them and Germany into Apeldoorn semis
CEV Tokyo Volleyball European Qualification 2020 - Women

Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, January 9, 2020.  Without playing on Thursday, Germany booked their spot in the semifinals of Europe’s women’s Olympic qualification tournament, following Belgium’s four-set win over Croatia in Pool B, as a result of which coach Felix Koslowski’s squad is cemented among the top two in the pool standings. In the other pool, Poland defeated the Netherlands by 3-1 to join the hosts into the semis. The last semifinalist in the race for the single available Tokyo 2020 ticket will emerge in a direct clash between Belgium and Turkey on Friday.

Pool B: Belgium vs. Croatia 3-1 (20-25, 28-26, 25-16, 25-22)

Belgium stayed in contention for the semifinals with a 3-1 (20-25, 28-26, 25-16, 25-22) victory over Croatia, their first of the tournament. With a series of six points in a row, Croatia broke away with a 21-12 lead in the first set. With plenty of set points at hand, they could afford wasting the first four, but on the fifth, Martina Samadan put the ball on the floor for 25-20. With Kaja Grobelna leading the way with 10 points, the Belgians stepped up their spiking efforts in the second set. Samanta Fabris was also on fire (11 points) on the Croatian side to prompt an exciting battle, which went well into overtime. Finally, Belgian setter Ilka Van de Vyver surprised the opponents with an elegant tip on second touch to close the set at 28-26. There was no stopping Britt Herbots and her Belgian teammates in the third set. They pushed with their serves and scored five direct points on the way to a 25-16 landslide, shaped up with an ace by Manon Stragier for the last point. The battle got hot again in set four. Croatia could not hold on to the four-point lead they had at 12-8 as Herbots continued to hit hard both in attack and from the serving line. She delivered the match point with a powerful pipe and then served for the opponents’ mistake that ended the set and match at 25-22. On a fantastic total of 27 points (including six aces), Herbots topped the charts of the match. Fabris settled for 20 in the Croatian side.

Pool A: Bulgaria vs. Azerbaijan 3-1 (25-23, 25-19, 21-25, 25-22)

Bulgaria claimed their first victory of the tournament, a 3-1 (25-23, 25-19, 21-25, 25-22) win over Azerbaijan, to finish their Pool A campaign with a 1-2 win-loss record. Azerbaijan recovered from the five-point lead Bulgaria had at 20-15 to catch up at 22-22. Moments later, however, Gergana Dimitrova spiked successfully twice in row to bring the set home at 25-23 Bulgaria’s way. With Polina Rahimova on fire, the second set was quite competitive through 16-16, but with the unforced errors weighing in and middle blocker Hristina Ruseva perfect at the net, the Bulgarians were well in control of the last third of the set. Ruseva herself put down the last ball for 25-19 to double her team’s lead. With Bulgaria’s Elitsa Vasileva off the court for the next set, the eastern European team took control of the scoreboard. Improving their reception and their spiking, the Azeris also added four stuff blocks, including that of Ayshan Abdulazimova, which closed the set at 25-21. The Lionesses were in control for the most part of the fourth set, but after Azerbaijan had caught up for a while, it was sub-in Mira Todorova’s blocks that tilted the balance Bulgaria’s way again. Another sub-in, Mariya Karakasheva closed the match with a spike for 25-22. 18-year-old Aleksandra Milanova contributed 20 points to the victory, while Azerbaijan’s captain Yelyzaveta Samadova scored a match high 22.

Pool A: The Netherlands vs. Poland 1-3 (20-25, 23-25, 25-23, 23-25)

Poland achieved a 3-1 (25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 25-23) victory over the Netherlands to join the home side into the semifinals in Apeldoorn. With a game at hand, the Poles top the current Pool A standings on a 2-0 win-loss record, followed by the Dutch, who finished the pool stage on 2-1. Poland had the lead for the most part of the first set, outscoring the opponents on all counts. The Dutch caught up several times, but after 20-20, Agnieszka Kakolewska in blocking and spiking and Magdalena Stysiak from the serving line ruled on the court before Natalia Medrzyk attacked successfully for a 25-20 win. Malwina Smarzek-Godek was on fire in the hard-fought second set to score a total of nine points, including two blocks, towards the 25-23 close, which she shaped up with a successful spike for the last point. The Netherlands stormed to an early 5-0 lead in the third set, which Poland immediately wiped out over the next five rallies. As the home side did great in blocking and the Poles made way too many unforced errors, similar patterns repeated several times throughout the set with Poland even edging ahead at 21-20 and 22-21. At the end, however, the Dutch won the set at 25-23 on a kill block by Yvon Belien. The Netherlands had the lead throughout the first half of the fourth set, but Poland took over throughout the second half. Smarzek was back to her high-scoring mode and firing one point after another, she went on to kill the match winner at 25-23. With 25 points to her name, Smarzek became the top scorer of the game.

For further information, visit the official event website

News nr. 6 of 18
10/01/2020 22:50:00
Poland v Turkey and Germany v Netherlands in Apeldoorn semifinal match-ups
08/01/2020 23:42:00
Dutch ladies through to Tokyo qualifier semis

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