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28/08/2016 21:36
Turkey and Slovakia deliver stunning victories while Bulgaria extend the winning streak
2016 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship - Women

Nitra, Slovakia, August 28, 2016. The first matches of the second competition day in Nitra brought out powerful and dominating performances by the Turkish and Slovakian Team which overpowered their opponents in straight sets. The finish was made with a Bulgarian team that celebrated the second victory in a row. 

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Turkey vs. Belgium 3-0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-17)

Both teams won their first matches on the first competition day and knew that they could make a huge step by winning the second game as well. It was a tight fight at the beginning, with Belgium that earned a small 9-6 lead due to great block and service action. It didn’t take a long time till Turkey found a way into the match and responded with fast attacks over middle blocker Zehra Günes who made the equalizer at 11-11. A great show continued, while the score increased in advantage for the Turkish team to 22-19. The well performing Belgium outside-spiker Laure Flament, who was the best scorer of her team with 10 points in the end, was not good enough to stop the Turkish run. A Belgian service fault closed the first set at 25-23.

Turkey opened the second set with a great service and troubled the defence of the “Yellow Tigers” time and again to lead the score with an insuperable gap of eight points (16-8) by the second technical time-out. It all ended with a crushing spike of the Turkish captain and outside-spiker Burcu Tutku Yüzgenc to 25-14. A series of great blocking and defence actions brought Turkey on the winning track in the second set at 19-13. They delivered a powerful performance and gave Belgium absolutely no chance to start a comeback and the scoreboard showed a clear 25-17 in the end of the last set. Burcu Tutku Yüzgenc scored 13 times and was the best scorer of the match.  

Onur Carikci, Turkey coach: “We found a way into our rhythm today. My team almost reached the highest level against Belgium but there is still something to improve. Our goal is to advance at least to the semi-finals of the European Championship, so it was good that we started the competition with two victories in a row.”

Burcu Tutku Yüzgenc, Turkey captain: “We knew that Belgium is a team with a great fighting spirit and tried to avoid long rallies. This game was very important for us because Belgium is one of the best teams in this pool. I am very happy that we won it in straight sets.”

Fien Callens, Belgium coach: “Turkey are one of the strongest teams in our pool. We knew it before so for me it was important to see some players taking responsibility and I wanted to see what they are doing after yesterday’s match. I saw some good things and it was a good situation to give some players rest today to make them ready for tomorrow. It’s up to the coaches to find some solutions to make us stronger while going forward. Even if you lose you can learn a lot, that’s really important.”

Charlotte Coppin, Belgium captain: “We knew Turkey were good and we had to play with everything we had. We had to fight in the right areas and knew it would be difficult. We played really good in the first set but in the end we couldn’t make it count and the other sets it was difficult to play good enough in all aspects of the game in order to win. Our coach said we have to remember the good things and take them into the next game against Bulgaria. I think Turkey are the toughest team we will play in this pool.”

Slovakia vs. France 3-0 (25-22, 25-12, 25-11)

Slovakia and France were the next teams which took the stage in Nitra, facing each other to gain the first victory in the tournament. The home crowd saw a balanced start of both competitors which acted almost on the same level to perform some wonderful rallies till 18-18. France had some problems in reception at the beginning of the crunch time and quickly lost the connection to the hosts at 23-20; in the end a French service fault sealed a 25-22 set win by the hosts.

The Slovakian girls took the initiative with their unstoppable outside-spiker Karolina Fricova scoring the points at the beginning and reached the second technical timeout leading by 16-7. A shocked France never woke up when the game resumed and had even more problems due to some misunderstandings in reception which cost them the second set (12-25).

The home side started the second set with an 8-4 run and increased the advantage with every rally. They stopped France at the net with some monster blocks and used their great serve to destroy the French defence to storm to a 17-10 lead. It was the time where the reception of the Bleues collapsed going down to a success rate standing at only 25%. On the other hand, everything went just easy for the hosts who closed the set 25-11 and with it the match 3-0.

Clara Martin, France captain: “I am not sad but disappointed. The team let themselves get disturbed by the surroundings and the crowd in the hall. When the game got going, it was difficult to play with the noises around us but we did not play well today. At this moment we have to forget the game and we have to be refocus immediately on tomorrow's match and make a better presentation of ourselves.”

Eva Kosekova, Slovakia coach: “This game was very important and we always wanted to take the three points. We did not start very well and were nervous but we managed to turn the first set and took control of the match. I think the key to success was our service and the great atmosphere contributed by our fans. However, we need to keep concentrated."

Lucia Sedlackova, captain: “Our goal was to win this match after the defeat against Turkey and we reached that goal in an impressive way. But we still have to improve our performance if we want to stand a chance of reaching the semis.”

Bulgaria vs. Croatia 3-1 (25-22, 26-24, 24-26, 25-17)

It was Croatia who started great into the last game of the day. A real strong serve combined with a good defence on the court and they had a quick 8-3 lead at the first technical time-out. Bulgaria fought back with Aleksandra Milanovas spikes to grab the first advantage at 18-17. The crunch time turned into a great thriller while the Croatian outside-spiker Lea Cvetnic had the chance to level the set at 23-22 but her attack didn’t find a way into her opponent’s side of the court. It was a chance that Bulgaria couldn’t miss; middle blocker Emileta Racheva served an ace to 25-22 and picked up the first advantage.

Bulgaria almost showed the same performance in the following set and closed an early three-point deficit (5-8) with an amazing service show at 13-13. Captain Monika Krasteva offered her outstanding service skills which caused problems to the Croatians reception and moved the score from 13-13 to 18-13. Although Croatia responded with a lot of fighting spirit and was able to defend four set balls in a thrilling phase from 24-20 to 24-24, the Bulgarian girls who recovered quickly by scoring two consecutive points (26-24).

Even the third set took almost the same way with a bitter end for Team Bulgaria that earned two match points at 24-22 but couldn’t score the last point. The Croatian block did a great job and stopped the outside-spikers Aleksandra Milanova and Monika Krasteva several times and gave its own attackers the chance to turn it into a 26-24 win.

However, the spectators soon realised that this comeback took a lot of energy out of the Croatian girls which had no more power right from the beginning of the fourth set. Bulgaria were put in a comfortable position and they had no problems to claim their second victory at the European Championship in Nitra.

Dimo Tonev, Bulgaria coach: “I am sure all the matches in this championship will be difficult because the teams are on a similar level. For my team I think we have a big reserve for the next match. I know my team have the possibility to play better. I am satisfied with the result and I will now think about Belgium. I speak every time with my players to play for every point, every situation and this is the objective.”

Marija Anzulovic, coach of Croatia: “We had big problems in our reception in the first and second set due to the great serve of Bulgaria. My players did it great when they finished the comeback but if we want to celebrate a victory here; we have to minimise our mistakes.”

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