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10/01/2020 22:00
Italy and the Netherlands to lock horns with ticket to #EuroVolleyU17W Finals at stake
News from the Zonal Associations

Viana do Castelo, Portugal, January 10, 2020. Italy and the Netherlands will fight for the sole ticket at stake in Viana do Castelo, where the WEVZA qualifier for this year’s U17 Women European Championship is reaching its climax. Italy beat Spain in straight sets in the semis, while then Netherlands dropped one set in their ‘derby’ with Belgium. Italy will try to live up to their status of pre-favourites since they claimed the silver medal at last year’s #EuroVolleyU16W in Trieste, where the Netherlands had to be content with fifth place. The eventual winners of the competition will secure their participation in the 2020 edition of #EuroVolleyU17W due to take place later this summer in Podgorica, Montenegro.

Semi-final 1: The Netherlands vs Belgium 3-1 (25-15, 25-23, 24-26, 25-20)

The Netherlands made good use of the physical assets of their players and their offensive power to impose themselves on the much shorter Belgians, winning the first set by a landslide 25-15, powered by 10 points scored by Nicole van de Vosse. The second set was very even, before Belgium fought their way back in the third, mainly through Anna Koulberg’s blocks. However, their comeback was short-lived as the Dutch ended the match with a 25-20 fourth-set win, even if Belgium scored five times in a row towards the end of the set.

Van de Vosse was the best scorer of the match with 22 points, while Eline Van Elsen, with 20, was the top scorer from Belgium.

Eelco Beijl, coach of the Netherlands: “We did an amazing job today. I have to congratulate my players as they played very well, very focused, organised and served aggressively and without fear. Before the match, I told them that they are here because they do what they like, which is to play volleyball, enjoy it, and I believe this positive energy came at key moments in the match. The final? Tomorrow is a new day...”

Giulia Orlandi setting for Italy during the victorious semi-final with Spain

Semi-final 2: Italy vs Spain 3-0 (25-15, 30-28, 25-13)

Italy justified their role of pre-favourites and qualified for the final, and will play the Netherlands on Saturday (at 19:00 local time). Aggressive serves well complemented by both defensive and offensive actions at the net delivered an easy first-set win for the ‘Azzurrine’. Cayetana Lopez Rey and Marina Giacomello, both with five points, were the standout performers for Spain and Italy, respectively. The second set was dramatic. Spain edged ahead towards the end (24-22) but it would be Italy to close it in their favour at 30-28. This outcome affected the Spaniards, especially psychologically, who could never fight for victory in the third and final set.

Italy’s Marina Giacomello with 15 points and Spain’s Julia de Paula Viana with 11 were the best scorers of the match.

Michele Fanni, coach of Italy: “Today we grew in many ways. In the second set, we got a little unfocused and ended being a bit lucky – but we had the strength to win the set as well. We improved in attack and had better quality in the reception and defence. The Netherlands are a strong opponent. They deserve to be in the final. They have very strong attackers but also very good middle-blockers. We will have to serve as we did today and grow a little more in attack.”

Vaiteani Vaki top scored for France in their matchup with hosts Portugal

Classification matches 5-7: Portugal vs France 1-3 (24-26, 10-25, 25-21, 15-25)

The match started evenly, although with a slight edge for hosts Portugal, who looked more aggressive and sharp with their serve. With the score level at 20-20 in the end of the first set, the most experienced French team were colder and more effective, eventually producing a 26-24 win, with six points from Vaiteani Vaki. When they began to show more composure and quality with their block, France did not leave a chance to their opponents in the second set. However, with Beatriz Silva serving, Portugal edged ahead, keeping their lead until the end with the third-set win sealed through a block by Catarina Carneiro. France would eventually reach the victory in the match by making value of their high block and improving the effectiveness of their serves.

Vaiteani Vaki, from France, with 24 points, was the best scorer, while Catarina Carneiro, with 11, was the most prolific Portuguese player.

Laurent Delacourt, coach of France: “It was a tough match because Portugal created some difficulties with their serve, but then we improved our service and block and managed to win the match. We have to work harder on the psychological side to become stronger and a tournament like this, with a high level of play, helps us evolve.”

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