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VolleyRuller96

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Everything posted by VolleyRuller96

  1. Serbia and Poland make it three wins in a row in Warsaw Warsaw, Poland, May 25, 2017. Serbia and Poland made it three wins in as many matches at the women’s World Championship qualifier in Warsaw. The 2016 Olympic silver medallists did find very little resistance from Cyprus whereas Poland dropped one set in their matchup with Slovakia. The Czech Republic are still in contention for a top finish at the tournament after they routed Iceland in three sets. The eventual winners of the event in the Polish capital will make it straight to next year’s World Championship in Japan – the runners-up will have one last call at the third and last round of qualifications in August. For the match against Cyprus, Serbia coach Zoran Terzic decided to use his second line-up, but this did not make the game any easier for the opponents. Cyprus showed fighting spirit and commendable dedication in defence, but fell an easy prey to Serbia’s skills and experience in both set one and two (25-10, 25-12). 10-12 in the last set was the closest coach Petros Patsias’ team could get to their rivals, but only for a short while as the period ended 25-15 to seal a 3-0 victory for Serbia. “We expected this kind of result, but sometimes playing matches like this can be dangerous – if your players are in top shape, this might cause them to lower their level, which is why I put my first six out of the game,” commented coach Zoran Terzic on his line-up change. The Czech Republic had no intention of going easy on Iceland, downing their opponents 25-6 and 25-7 in the first two sets. Even though Daniele Capriotti’s players doubled the number of points they earned in set three (25-13), they were still very far behind the Czech Republic and their star player Katerina Kohoutova, who spiked with 71% efficiency. “Our coach was happy that we managed to maintain our focus throughout the entire match and play good Volleyball on our part. Now all our attention turns to Saturday’s match against Poland. We will use the day off to gather all our strength for the match with the hosts,” said Czech middle blocker Barbora Purchartova. “This is the first time we have made it this far so we are really excited to be here and play against these big teams – it’s a big step up for us,” said Iceland’s libero Birta Björnsdottir. Slovakia was Poland’s first serious opposition at the Warsaw tournament and indeed, both teams started their bout on a high level, going head to head (11-10 and 14-16) in set no. 1. That was until the hosts started performing better in block and defence, which let them break away and win 25-19. They stayed focused through the break and started the next part of the game with an impressive series of points (10-0), which set the tone for the rest of the set (25-15). The Slovaks were back in the game in set three and upset the White-and-Reds after a thrilling finish (28-26). Coach Jacek Nawrocki’s squad stuck to their plan though and closed the next set with a safe score of 25-19. “I am glad that we came back to win that fourth set but we shouldn’t let things slip from our hands as we did in set three. Tomorrow we will have plenty of time to analyse our mistakes and try to avoid them in the future,” said Joanna Wołosz, captain of Poland.
  2. ‘Lange Mannen’ make it three wins in a row, all favourites win as Swiss sensation continues Luxembourg, May 25, 2017. The Netherlands are in full swing – the ‘Lange Mannen’ have set their sights on qualification to the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship after celebrating their third straight victory on home soil in Koog aan de Zaan and will be trying to achieve their goal on Saturday and Sunday in Apeldoorn where the competition in Pool B will resume after a rest day. Elsewhere, top favourites France and Germany (Pool A), Belgium and Slovenia (Pool C), Russia and Estonia (Pool D), as well as Finland and Czech Republic (Pool F) boast a record of two wins in as many matches. Serbia have won two matches too in Pool E, where Switzerland are becoming the real sensation of the World Championship qualifiers after beating Denmark on Wednesday and hosts Croatia on Thursday. Pool A in Lyon (FRA) Azerbaijan vs. Germany Germany claimed their second consecutive victory in Lyon as they rallied past Azerbaijan 3-0 (29-27, 25-18, 25-18). The audience appreciated the close fight which unfolded during the first set and the head coach of Germany, Andrea Giani seized the opportunity to try his second starting six. Even though Germany set the pace for most of the first set, the money time was more closely fought. Azerbaijan found more strength and managed to challenge Andrea Giani’s men with powerful spikes from their two outside hitters Vugar Bayramov and Rasul Ibragimov. Middle blocker Dmitriy Obodnikov (five points) did shine too but the Germans finally emerged victorious with Christian Fromm scoring the two last decisive points of the first set (29-27). On the German side, the starting six and players from the bench switched positions during the second set. The new group consisting of young players did it right: they looked focused, they showed their skills and produced two 25-18 wins to seal a 3-0 victory. Farid Jalalov, head coach of Azerbaijan: “Our team is somehow still under construction. We came straight from the Islamic Solidarity Games, where we played the final with Iran and won the silver medal. Today we played our seventeenth game in one month. The players are quite tired and three of our top ones are absent here.” Dmitriy Obodnikov, middle blocker of Azerbaijan: “We found the right solutions at the end of the first set but we are still a new team, and we need to learn how to play together. We are learning from every match.” György Grozer, opposite of Germany: “It was a bit difficult to move after the power training we did this morning, but we need to work also mentally to shorten the moments where we lack focus. Our goal is to win this tournament. Andrea Giani is a really good surprise for me because it’s fantastic to work with him. He totally understands us. He was an incredible player and he did not forget that. He is a precious help for the young guys who played the two last sets of this match against Azerbaijan.” Andrea Giani, head coach of Germany: “Today’s situation was interesting because even though we played fearing we could lose the first set, at the end we won it, so this is a good thing. It was important to give to all the members of the team the opportunity to feel the rhythm of the game. The starting six will always need the other guys to be ready to play.” Iceland vs. Turkey Iceland put up a fight and won the hearts of the French fans even though they ended up losing 3-0 to Turkey (25-18, 25-23, 25-17). After their harsh defeat to the reigning European champions from France the night before, the young players of Iceland found back some confidence for their second match in the competition. About 40 Icelandic supporters all dressed in blue and waving their flags, were in attendance as well. Iceland showed no hesitation in trying to pose a threat to Turkey even though their opponents quite easily won the first set (25-18). The second set was a dreamy one for the young players of Iceland but the last points left them with a certain taste of frustration. With eight monster blocks in only one set (13 in total), Iceland caused a lot of problems to Turkey. The set was really tight and Iceland were mostly leading the game, but Gökhan Gökgöz, top scorer of the match with 15 points, was the ‘executioner’ when he scored a winning pipe and offered a set point to his team just before the set ended with a fault from Iceland (25-23). After this, Turkey got back control of the game and easily triumphed in the third set as well (25-17). Josko Milenkoski, head coach of Turkey: “Iceland played pretty well and we did not. We tried four new players and it was a mess. The motivation was not high enough today. But still we take these three more points which are always important.” Arslan Eksi, captain of Turkey: “We did not start well because we watched France vs. Iceland on TV yesterday evening and did not expect such a level from our opponent today. We were too relaxed, pretending it would be an easy game. One thing is for sure: we have to change everything tomorrow if we want to compete well against the reigning European champions.” Rogerio Ponticelli, coach of Iceland: “We could have done something more during the second set. We excelled at blocking but it was a bit thanks to the Turkish hitters who tried to smash too deep. However, my players had great moments today and showed their value much more than they had done yesterday with France.” Stefan Gunnar Thorsteinsson, libero of Iceland: “We had plans before the match but they changed the whole team so we didn’t know that much about these players. The challenge was to take at least one set, and we were not far from fulfilling it in the second set. It’s good to see our supporters here and even some French fans were cheering for us, it’s fantastic.” France vs. Ukraine Pool B in Koog aan de Zaan (NED) Luxembourg vs. Austria The tournament in The Netherlands is being played in two cities. Koog aan de Zaan hosted the first three competition days, and after one rest day Apeldoorn will welcome the last two rounds in the pool. On the last day in Koog aan de Zaan, Austria booked a 3-0 victory over Luxembourg (26-24, 25-23, 25-20). Opposite Paul Buchegger claimed the top scorer’s honours with 17 points. Coach Michael Warm said after the match: “We took seven points from three matches and we are very happy with that. We are still in the race and Saturday we can play freely against The Netherlands, the favourite team in my opinion.” Republic of Moldova vs. Slovakia In the second match on Ascension Day, Slovakia was too strong for the Republic of Moldova (3-0; 25-9, 33-31, 25-23). By winning their second match in a row, Slovakia kept their chances for a World Championship ticket alive. Matej Patak was the big man for the Slovakians, scoring 16 points. “The Republic of Moldova gave all their best today, in contrast to yesterday against the Netherlands,” explained Miroslav Palgut, the Slovakian coach. “Thanks to good serving and blocking we managed to win this game. The match against Greece on Saturday will be very important for us, we have to win it.” Greece vs. The Netherlands In the fully packed Topsportcentrum in Koog aan de Zaan the home team of The Netherlands came out with all guns blazing against Greece, winning the first set at a canter (25-13). The second set was the decisive one in this match. Greece missed as many as eight set points in a row, and after that the Dutch took the lead for the first time in the set: 31-30. Right after this, the great substitute Robin Overbeeke finished it all off (32-30) before the ‘Lange Mannen’ stormed to a compelling 25-16 win in the third set. “This was an absolute team victory,” said head coach Gido Vermeulen. “Thanks to the fighting spirit of Wessel Keemink and Robin Overbeeke we won the second set. Now will we prepare for another final, i.e. the match with Austria coming up on Saturday.” Pool C in Ljubljana (SLO) On the second day of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship qualifier in Ljubljana Belgium and Slovenia extended their winning streak and both claimed a second 3-0 victory. Portugal was also successful, but the Israeli team proved to be a tough opponent for them. Belgium vs. Georgia Belgium’s Red Dragons needed less than an hour to secure a 3-0 (25-18, 25-11, 25-10) victory against Georgia. “Georgia fought hard, and they tried to be a decent opponent, but the difference in quality is too big. I am always happy after games like this one. We won, all players are healthy and we can focus on what is next,” Belgium head coach Vital Heynen commented. Latvia vs. Slovenia In the second match of the day, the hosts from Slovenia emulated Belgium and outplayed the team of Latvia with a clear 3-0 (25-14, 25-14, 25-19) win. “In the first two sets we stuck to the tactics we had agreed upon, but later on our opponents raised the level of their game and kept the rhythm high. However, already in the middle of the third set, we took matters in our hands again and eventually claimed the victory,” Alen Pajenk, Slovenia’s middle blocker who was unstoppable in attack scoring six times out of seven attempts, said after the second win for his team. Portugal vs. Israel After scoring as many as 25 points, Portugal’s Valdir Sequeira was happy with the 3-1 win (25-19, 25-21, 24-26, 25-12) over Israel in the last game of the day, but he admitted there is still much room for improvement: “It was quite a strange game. We won two sets quite easily, but we relaxed too much in the third. We had a 10-point advantage, but we still lost and that is what we can’t afford in future. We have to keep going, to keep fighting. We can give and deliver much more than this.” Pool D in Tallinn (EST) Russia vs. Romania Russia delivered an impressive performance in the opening match of the day in Tallinn, this resulting in a comprehensive 3-0 victory (25-18, 25-20, 25-21) over Romania. “Romania played really well, especially with their serve. We had to deal with it and I think we were able to do so quite okay. Taking everything into account, I am very satisfied with today’s result,” Russia head coach Sergey Shlyapnikov said. His Romanian counterpart Danut Pascu commented: “Russia were the favourites and we expected this kind of result. Despite this, it was a good game for us. It was close for most of the time and we lost mainly at the end of each set because Russia has very good and more experienced players. After losing to Estonia and Russia, we now will try to use the next matches to take as much experience as possible.” Kosovo vs. Estonia Estonia head coach Gheorghe Creţu changed the entire starting six for the second match of the tournament on home soil. The second lines were up to the task and stormed to an easy 3-0 (25-13, 25-15, 25-7) victory over rookies Kosovo. Middle blocker Timo Tammemaa scored 16 points, including four blocks, for an impressive 92% success rate. Renee Teppan contributed to this victory with 10 points. “We did not start in the best way when it comes to our concentration and focus but as the match progressed it became evident that our quality was just far better than Kosovo’s,” Estonia team setter Andres Toobal said. Valon Nikqi – captain of Kosovo – said that today’s game was very similar compared to yesterday’s matchup with Hungary. “We played better in the first two sets and in the third one our game totally fell apart,” Nikqi said. Montenegro vs. Hungary Montenegro and Hungary delivered a Volleyball marathon lasting for more than two hours with Montenegro eventually having the upper hand 3-2 (23-25, 25-13, 25-23, 26-28, 15-10). “We gave away the first set because of our own mistakes and that made the game much tougher for us but the most important thing is the victory we can celebrate now. This is important for our team spirit and also because we are still in the race when it comes to qualification to the World Championship,” Montenegro head coach Veljko Basic stated. In the fifth set the eventual winners had a rough start too. Hungary sprinted to a 5-1 lead but Milos Culafic had a superb service series. The opposite hit two aces and pulled Montenegro to a 7-5 lead. After that, Montenegro never trailed again. Culafic ended the game with 28 points – 11 (!) of these were aces. Hungary’s opposite Krisztian Padar answered with 25 points. Although they lost the match head coach Juan Manuel Barrial said this game was a big step forward for Hungarian Volleyball. “It is a good result because we gained a lot of confidence and now we just have to believe in ourselves and to the fact that it is possible for us to play against every team,” he said. Pool E in Zagreb (CRO) Denmark vs. Serbia Serbia had to work hard to record their second 3-0 victory in Zagreb as Denmark put up a real fight (3-0; 25-23, 34-32, 25-19). The start of the match seemed to indicate an easy mission to accomplish for Serbia. However, after the initial nervousness, Denmark responded with Peter Trolle Bonnesen (15 points in the end) and Rasmus Breuning Nielsen (15 points) to take the lead at the second technical time-out of the first set (16-15). Serbia fought back flipping the charts around (20-17) but Denmark closed in at 23-24, before a service mistake from Philip Metin Özari sealed a 25-23 win for the players coached by Nikola Grbic. Trolle Bonnesen helped Denmark rally to a 5-1 early lead in the second set and even though Serbia stormed back, the Danes were able to keep a margin of three to four points for most of the set. A pair of poorly played balls in attack by Denmark and good serving from Srečko Lisinac helped Serbia edge ahead at 21-18. Denmark fought back again and the two teams traded points for quite some time until the pre-favourites from Serbia claimed a hard-fought 34-32 victory. Despite the unfortunate loss of the second set, the Danish team continued to play on a high level. On the other hand, Nikola Grbic mixed his starting six with a few second lines and this proved a good move as Serbia rallied to a 25-19 win to claim their second 3-0 victory in the tournament, with Aleksandar Atanasijević (14 points) and Nemanja Petrić (12 points) top scoring in the end for the Balkan team. Srećko Lisinac, player of Serbia: “It is hard to play against a team that is worse than you and you do not have much information about. When a match is at such a level that an opponent has nothing to lose and plays hard in an attack without any fear of making mistakes, a small drop in concentration can tilt the set in the other direction. If we play like we did today, then everyone can disrupt our plans in this tournament. We cannot make too many mistakes in a row as we did. We came here to play the best we can and qualify for the World Championship.” Rasmus Breuning Nielsen, player of Denmark: “I am very happy with our performance today. We managed to come back after yesterday’s heavy defeat in the first match of the tournament. Serbia is a strong team and we were able to put up a fight. I believe that in the next three days we will win one or the other match if we play at that same level.” Belarus vs. Norway After some ups and downs, Belarus stormed to a 3-1 victory (25-19, 25-20, 20-25, 25-22) over Norway to improve their win-loss record in the tournament to 1-1. The first set was some kind of a routine for Belarus (25-19) but Artur Udrys and Pavel Kuklinski (top scorers in the end with 20 and 18 points, respectively) could not keep that same level in the second; Norway edged ahead but suffered a big blow with the injury of their libero Øystein Bergum by the score of 17-16. This disrupted their game and Belarus comfortably won the second set 25-20. Norway claimed a small advantage (16-14) at the second technical time-out of the third set before Belarus levelled the count at 16-all. The Scandinavians showed good defence but Belarus looked very motivated to not let the game slip from their hands and eventually doubled their lead in the match. Even though they put up a fight almost from start to end, especially with Vetle Hylland (16 points) and Mathias Loftesnes (14 points), Norway lost concentration towards the end of the fourth set – and Belarus eventually took three points from the match. Vetle Hylland, player of Norway: “After the injury of our libero, it was difficult to continue the game because we have been preparing for this tournament only with him playing on that position. The second libero is most of all a defence player. Our middle blockers and opposite player therefore had to play a role in reception as well and I think they did quite well.” Artur Udrys, player of Belarus: “We did not see all the teams, but I believe we can compete for the second place in this tournament. I am happy with our game, but we still lack the right chemistry on the court. We play better with each match and I believe that by the end of the tournament we will show our true level.” Switzerland vs. Croatia Switzerland are slowly becoming the real sensation of Pool E – after beating Denmark on Wednesday, they did it again, this time edging hosts Croatia 3-1 (26-28, 25-20, 25-18, 25-23). After the score remained close through to 11-all in the first set, Switzerland broke away (16-13) before Croatia closed in again. The home team’s mentor Ivan Rančić decided to replace Sandro Dukić with Ante Giljanović, and this helped Croatia flip the charts around. Leo Andrić set the pace for Croatia at this stage and a close fight continued until the home side had the upper hand at 28-26. Three mistakes by Croatia helped Switzerland claim a small lead in the second set and even though their coach made a number of changes, Croatia could never find back their rhythm. History repeated itself in the third set where Sébastien Steigmeier (top scorer with 23 points in the end) helped the visitors claim an early lead which they held on to until the end. Young setter Petar Višić delivered a good performance for Croatia in the early stages of the fourth set but Switzerland came back strong and eventually won the match 3-1. Leo Andrić, player of Croatia: “We expected strong resistance. I know most of the players from the Swiss league so I knew they would fight. Yesterday they beat Denmark and that gave them a lot of confidence going into today’s match. Unfortunately, we were not good today, and even though we gave our best, this was not enough to win.” Sébastien Steigmeier, player of Switzerland: “We did not expect to win, but we really wanted it and we showed it with our game. It was good that we did not give up after losing the first set and we came back strong, eventually taking three points from this game. I am especially happy for our staff, as they have been working really hard with us.” Pool F in Karlovy Vary (CZE) Finland vs. Northern Ireland Finland opened the programme of the second competition day in Karlovy Vary with an easy 3-0 victory (25-8, 25-8, 25-9) over Northern Ireland to take the leadership in the pool. Niklas Seppänen, who top scored 14 points for Finland, commented: “The result is what we hoped for. You could see the difference between these two sides, and that we are the stronger team. So, I am happy we achieved our goal without any problems.” The atmosphere was great with many supporters from Finland in attendance. “The Finnish fans here are great. It feels like we are playing at home all the time. So, it’s a good start to this tournament,” the Finnish spiker said. Czech Republic vs. Sweden The Swedish team lost only at the tiebreak to Spain on Wednesday night and they wanted to cause some troubles also to the hosts. The team of the Czech Republic opened the tournament with a clear victory over Northern Ireland and the Czechs repeated that same performance also in their matchup with Sweden (25-19, 25-16, 25-20). Michal Finger, the Czech player who will be playing in Italy next season for GI Group MONZA, was satisfied with his team’s performance: “We wanted to play our Volleyball based on good serving combined with perfect defence and I think we were good at it but it could have been even better.” Cyprus vs. Spain In the last match of the day in Pool F, Spain beat Cyprus 3-0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-22). There was no surprise and the Spaniards gave no chance to their opponents. After yesterday’s dramatic battle with Sweden, the Spanish team didn’t lose a set so they could save up some energy. Their player Francisco José Ruiz commented the success: “For us it was an opportunity to improve the quality of our game because we know we are not on top level, so we tried to fix a few things.”
  3. We won 3-1 and eliminated Slovakia. Aside from the third set it was a good performance. However I still don't see out girls against Serbia.
  4. we LOST third set against lets just hope it was an accident and Slovak girls won't take control of the game now...
  5. Well,generally I'd agree, but Austria still having decent chances of qualifying is a pretty big thing IMO
  6. 25-15 they play much better so far against a far better team than Cyprus or Iceland
  7. 11-0 for us in 2nd set edit - now just 12 -7
  8. Pretty decent 1st set for us 25-19
  9. Possible D-day for our girls. Fingers crossed because losing against Slovakia means no World Championship for us.
  10. Northern Ireland did not manage to score more than 9 points in a set against Finland
  11. Wow, Denmark keeps fighting stronly against Serbia
  12. Today's games of FIVB women's world championship qualification tournament in Warsaw 15:30 Cyprus 0-3 Serbia ( 25-10 ;25-12 ; 25-15 ) 18:00 Iceland 0-3 Czech Republic (6-25 ; 7-25 ; 13-25 ) 20;30 Poland 3-1 Slovakia ( 25-19 ; 25-15 ; 26-28 ; 25-19 )
  13. Volleyball powers start quest for ticket to World Champs with comprehensive wins Luxembourg, May 24, 2017. As many as six qualifiers to the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship are taking place this week – with the eventual winners securing their progression to the final stage of the competition hosted by Italy and Bulgaria. Wednesday’s programme featured 18 matches in total, with all pre-favourites and Volleyball powers – primarily France, Germany, Serbia, and Russia – securing easy wins in their respective pools. The Netherlands and Greece are the two teams with a perfect record of two wins in as many matches in Pool B where actions started already on Tuesday in Koog aan de Zaan. Pool A in Lyon (FRA) Turkey vs. Azerbaijan Turkey started their campaign in Lyon with a compelling 3-0 victory (25-21, 25-21, 25-13) over Azerbaijan after 76 minutes of play. The Turks rightfully claimed their first victory at the tournament with Yigit Gülmezoglu top scoring with 18 points. After a shaky start to the match with many mistakes from both teams, Turkey edged ahead with the help pf their opposite hitter Gülmezoglu before outside spiker Gökhan Gökgöz ended the first set with two consecutive aces. History repeated itself in the second set whereas the third one was more one-sided with Turkey claiming a massive early lead (8-2) and cruising to a landslide 25-13 win. Josko Milenkoski, head coach of Turkey: “This is our first official match together. I joined this team one month ago only. We have some problems with injuries, and some of the best players are not here but we are satisfied with this result, especially since we won in three sets. Now we are taking it one match at a time. The most important matches, against France and Germany, are coming soon.” Arslan Eksi, captain of Turkey: “In every tournament the first game is always difficult. We are a young team, and we did not play any friendly games before coming here. As a result, this is a good start. Tomorrow we play Iceland and it will be a good preparation for us for the next game against France. For a first day, the result is ok. We will fight for every game.” Aleksey Chervyakov, player of Azerbaijan: “We struggled in reception. We were often behind and did not manage to take advantage of some situations. We fought for two sets but could not do the same in the third one.” Iceland vs. France The reigning European champions from France started their home campaign with a compelling 3-0 (25-8, 25-8, 25-14) victory over Iceland in a matchup where their head coach Laurent Tillie could test some younger players – and they all did a great job. 2,400 fans witnessed the European champions play with most of their second lines and the audience enjoyed discovering the skills of young, up-and-coming players such as opposite Stephen Boyer (14 points, including four aces) and middle blocker Barthélémy Chinenyeze (eight points). France made a few more mistakes in the third set where the hosts gave away a few easy points to their opponent – but this did not prevent them from cruising to a speedy 3-0 victory. Benjamin Toniutti, captain of France: “The most important thing was to respect the other side, that means to play at our best level and that is what we did. We need to think immediately about tomorrow’s match against Ukraine, a physically strong team. We will have to be patient and to play clever as we are used to do.” Laurent Tillie, head coach of France: “We could see that the new young players are able to find a place in this team and even the older ones are sometimes admiring them.” Alexander Stefansson, captain of Iceland: “It’s something new for us, it’s an experience that we needed, and it’s really fun. I felt the pressure during the first few points, but after that, we were simply trying to enjoy the moment. We were not looking for a result in this match, and the biggest thing was to enjoy it.” Rogerio Ponticelli, head coach of Iceland: “We knew it was going to be difficult, but it was a good first match for us. It was the first time we played in such a big sports hall, with this kind of top players on the other side of the court. You could feel a lot of positive vibe and energy.” Germany vs. Ukraine Volleyball legend Andrea Giani and his team did not miss the opportunity to start their campaign on a high note as they rallied past Ukraine in three sets (25-16, 25-20, 25-19). With György Grozer back with the team for the first time since January 2016 and two top outside hitters, Germany seem a serious candidate for the sole ticket at stake to make it straight to next year’s World Championship. After having announced his retirement from the national team in January 2016 as Germany failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics, Grozer (13 points) is back and everyone in attendance in Lyon could feel it. The first set was a pure formality for Germany with Ukraine’s reception destroyed by German powerful services (25-16). Ukraine fought a bit back in the early stages of the second set but Germany edged ahead at 7-4 and did never relinquish their lead (25-20). The match became a lot tighter in the third set where Ukraine second setter Volodymyr Kovalchuk changed the pace of their game but in the end, Germany prevailed once again (25-19). Andrea Giani, head coach of Germany: “The first match of a tournament is never easy but we started well especially with Grozer and good services. It was an interesting game because Ukraine is a strong team. I think we have good chances to qualify but we will play against big teams such as Turkey and France, the reigning European champions, whom I played in the 2015 final with Slovenia. We have a lot of potential but it won’t be easy.” Lukas Kampa, captain of Germany: “It’s the best possible start we could have here, winning in straight sets and not playing for too long, so we could save some energy. We did the right first step today and as from now, we will improve our game with every match. We have a good feeling, a good spirit, there is a great atmosphere inside the team and we will need this for the rest of the week.” Ugis Krastins, head coach of Ukraine: *They came out with strong services, it was truly something huge and we were not able to handle this situation. During the third set, we controlled our game much better and found confidence but still the Germans were stronger. Every game represents for us a new lesson to learn.” Pool B in Koog aan de Zaan (NED) Austria vs. Greece The battle between Austria and Greece was the most intense one so far at the World Championship qualifier in Koog aan de Zaan. The emotions ran high at some point, especially among the Greek players. After a few very close sets, Greece claimed a 3-2 victory (26-24, 27-25, 16-25, 23-25, 15-13) to keep a perfect record in the tournament. Top scorer Mitar Tzourits (28 points) commented: “Of course we preferred a 3-0 victory, but since victories are more important than points, we are also happy with this 3-2 score.” The Netherlands vs. Republic of Moldova On Tuesday, The Netherlands played rusty in their opening match against Luxembourg. The ‘orange team’ booked a 3-1 victory, but the level of play was not always convincing. On Wednesday, however, the squad of head coach Gido Vermeulen played a perfect match. Opposite Nimir Abdel-Aziz, the former setter of the team was the absolute star of the game as the Oranjes rallied to a 3-0 victory (25-15, 25-13, 25-16). He scored 20 points out of 21 attempts, this accounting for a terrific success rate of 95%. “We played very well today,” commented Vermeulen. “This is the level we can play at and we want to show.” Slovakia vs. Luxembourg Slovakia was much too strong for Luxembourg in the first set (25-17), but in the second and third sets, the two teams played almost at the same level. Luxembourg, the gold medallists from the Small Countries Division European Championship held two weeks ago in Iceland, missed some opportunities and Slovakia took advantage of that, thus cruising to a 3-0 victory (25-17, 27-25, 26-24) to bounce back from their 1-3 loss to Austria the day before. Miroslav Palgut, the Slovakian coach, reacted after the match: “We played well at the end of two close sets, and that’s what’s most important to me. After our loss to Austria, qualifying for the World Championship will be hard, but we will try everything we can to make this happen.” Pool C in Ljubljana (SLO) The opening day of the 2018 FIVB Men’s World Championship qualifier in Ljubljana provided two straight 3-0 victories for Belgium and Slovenia in their respective matches with Portugal and Georgia and a much more exciting match between Israel and Latvia, which ended after a dramatic fifth set in favour of the Israeli side. Portugal vs. Belgium Belgium team captain Sam Deroo was satisfied with the performance of his team: “We played with much consistency and were better in every aspect of the game. Our team showed that we can play without making mistakes and with Portugal making a lot of them, it was a bit easier for us to claim the victory,” he said after the Red Dragons stormed to a 3-0 victory (25-17, 25-16, 25-16) in 73 minutes. Slovenia vs. Georgia In the second match of the day, Slovenia head coach Slobodan Kovač provided some of his youngsters with the opportunity to play and they paid back his trust with a strong performance. Matej Kok, a 20-year-old outside hitter who just signed a contract with Poland’s MKS BEDZIN, commented after a comprehensive 3-0 victory (25-12, 25-11, 25-12) for the home side: “It was a great opportunity for us, I mean for the younger players to show what we are capable of. It is true that Georgia was one of the easiest opponents in our pool, but I think we delivered a solid performance. This victory raised our self-confidence, but the toughest matches are yet to come,” he concluded. Israel vs. Latvia At the end of an exciting match, Israel celebrated a 3-2 victory (19-25, 25-20, 24-26, 25-22, 16-14) after coming back twice from one set down. “We tried to play with a lot of energy and fought for every rally. We do not have our best player with us at this tournament. Our coach wanted to give the opportunity to young players and I am happy that we won the game. We will give our best in the next matches as well,” Israel top scorer (29 points) Viacheslav Batchkala said. Pool D in Tallinn (EST) Montenegro vs. Russia Montenegro netted the first three points of the match against Russia but after that, it was all about the gold medal winners from the 2012 London Olympics. Except for the end of the third set, the score was relatively close all the time but the Balkan team never grabbed the initiative. After 79 minutes of game action, Russia achieved a 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-18) victory. “The first game is always a little bit nervous but I am very satisfied with the result and it gives us a good starting point for the whole tournament,” Russia head coach Sergey Shlyapnikov said. “I am also happy that I had the opportunity to give playing time to younger members of our team,” he added. On the Russian side of the court, as many as twelve players entered the court but the best scorer was their superstar Maxim Mikhailov with 14 points. Veljko Basic, head coach of Montenegro, stated that the result was logical and reflected the difference in power between the two teams. “We gave away too many easy points in every set. However, overall I am satisfied that we never gave up and that is a very good sign for the matches to come. We have to improve our service and counterattacks.” Estonia vs. Romania The hosts started impressively thrashing Romania 25-15 in the first set. After that, Estonia’s serve lost a bit of its riskiness and the opponents got back into the game, thus managing to win the third set. “Fortunately our team’s quality is good enough so that even after losing a set, we did not fall apart and we could still win the match,” Estonia libero Rait Rikberg said after a 3-1 (25-15, 25-21, 22-25, 25-16) victory. Estonia head coach Gheorghe Creţu added: “Romania took a lot of risks but when we managed to hit consecutive serves in the fourth set, we broke away and never looked back.” Marian Iulian Bala - who was the best scorer for Romania with 15 points - said that it was a tough match for them. “There were moments where we lost our focus and the opponents managed to score three or four consecutive points. We have to avoid this kind of situations. In addition to that, I must say that Estonia was better than us today,” said the outside hitter. Romania had to play without their captain and team leader Laurentiu Lica who suffered an injury a few days ago. Hungary vs. Kosovo May 24, 2017 will remain a historic day for Kosovo’s Volleyball family since in Tallinn their men’s senior national team played the first international match in their history against Hungary. “It is a historic and very special moment for all of us. For the last 25 years we only had the chance to play inside Kosovo but now we can play against different countries,” team captain Valon Nikqi said proudly. Their debut was quite impressive. In the first set the score stood at 13-11 in favour of Kosovo but after that, Hungary made a 12-2 spurt. The game eventually ended in 63 minutes with the score of 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-9). “Our preparation lasted only 10 days and this you can see from the result. I hope that in the coming matches we can improve our game,” head coach Miftar Ziberi added. His colleague Juan Manuel Barrial from Hungary said that although it was a relatively easy game if you look at the score, they made many mistakes, especially at the beginning of the match. “We were nervous and made many service errors. Until the middle of the second set, our game was so-so but then we improved our attack and things went better,” he said. Pool E in Zagreb (CRO) Denmark vs. Switzerland Switzerland beat Denmark 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 25-20, 25-18) in the first match of the tournament taking place at Bojan Stranic sports hall in Zagreb. After a close start to the match (9-9), Switzerland broke away with Jovan Djokic standing behind the service line and after that, the Swiss were able to hold on to their lead until the end. Denmark responded by taking the second set with the help of their outside spiker Rasmus Breuning Nielsen, but Sébastien Steigmeier (21 points) and Luca Ulrich (15 points) propelled Switzerland to a 3-1 victory in the end. Peter Trolle Bonnesen top scored for Denmark with 14 points. Mario Motta, head coach of Switzerland: “I am really excited because this is my first match at helm of the Swiss national team. Both teams made many mistakes but when we were able to reduce ours, we could break away. Keeping calm and concentrated were the key to our success today.” Mikael Trolle, Denmark head coach: “I am not happy with the performance of my team. We did not serve as we wanted and should, and that gave our opponent an opportunity to turn the game in their favour.” Serbia vs. Belarus The biggest favourite of the tournament in Zagreb, the Serbian national team, easily cruised to a 3-0 victory (25-17, 25-22, 25-15) in their matchup with Belarus. Serbia setter Nikola Jovović orchestrated his team’s game in the best way, thus confirming why Serbia belong to the European elite. On the other hand, Belarus seemed afraid of playing such a strong opponent – and Serbia rallied to an easy 25-17 win in the first set. Belarus played a lot better in the second set where they put up a fight but Serbia were too much to stand with Dražen Luburić and Uroš Kovačević top scoring in the end with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Pavel Kuklinski was the most prolific player for Belarus with eight points. Vadzim Pranko, player of Belarus: “I think it was not easy because we played against a top team. In the second set, we played well. I think my team did not give their 100 percent, and we should do that in a match against such a strong opponent.” Nikola Grbić, head coach Serbia: “We played with maximum concentration and this is something you could see. We did not relax at any time and I am very happy about it. If we play the next matches with the same concentration and at our level, I am convinced that no opponent can disrupt our plan to qualify straight to the World Championship.” Norway vs. Croatia The first set of the match featuring hosts Croatia and outsiders Norway was a close affair up to 20-all before Croatia scored two points in a row and despite time-outs from both sides, the home stars were able to hold on to their small advantage (25-23). Filip Šestan opened the second set with a series of powerful serves for Croatia before Norway could finally stabilise their reception. Again, the score stood at 20-20 but this time around Norway were those who broke away (23-21) and eventually won the set (25-22). Croatia controlled the match from start to end of set three (25-19) and even though Norway put up a fight in the following set, Croatia broke away halfway through to claim their first victory on home soil (25-15). Scott Olsen, head coach of Norway: “We have been preparing our team for the game with Croatia through a series of friendly matches. We are not happy with what we did at blocking and attacking. We have to make a better transition and be prepared for tomorrow.” Ivan Rančić, head coach of Croatia: “We were visibly nervous in the first official game we had after a long break, and this is something you could obviously see, especially in the second set. When we got together, and we served well too, we achieved the goals we had set before the start of the game.” Pool F in Karlovy Vary (CZE) Finland vs. Cyprus The opening match of the World Championship qualifier in Karlovy Vary brought a clear victory for Finland (3-0; 25-14, 25-13, 25-21) in their matchup with Cyprus. It was an expected win for the Finns but head coach Tuomas Sammelvuo did not hide his happiness: “It was important to win like this, not giving so much energy away because it’s a long tournament. The big goal was to pay attention to easy things – free balls, speak on the court and so on.” The Cyprus side was able to pose a threat only in the last set where they scored 21 points. “I am happy that in the third set we had to find solutions because the opponent came pretty close,” Sammelvuo added. Northern Ireland vs. Czech Republic In the second match of the day, the Czech team faced Northern Ireland. The Czechs are number 13 in the current FIVB Ranking, so they were the heavy favourites of the game with Northern Ireland standing a way down at 42 in that same chart. From the beginning of the match, it was obvious who was going to control the game and the hosts eventually won 3-0 (25-16, 25-7, 25-6). The Czech Republic currently share the first place in the pool with Finland and the home team’s captain Ales Holubec commented: “It was a hard match because the level of the game was a little bit lower than usual, with all due respect to the opponent. I hope that from tomorrow, we will be able to start up from the first set and we will focus on the next games.” Sweden vs. Spain The last match of the day featured Sweden and Spain and the latter ones emerged victorious at the end of a battle that lasted for five sets (25-19, 22-25, 21-25, 25-16, 15-12). The Spanish coach Fernando Muñoz Benitez said after the match: “In general we are happy to win this game because it is very important to start this tournament with a victory and to keep us calm. We had ups and downs during the game because I think that we lost focus at some point but we regrouped and eventually won the match.”
  14. Serbia and Poland keep perfect record at women’s World Champs qualifier Warsaw, Poland, May 24, 2017. Serbia and Poland claimed their second straight 3-0 victory on the second competition day of the European qualifier to the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship taking place this week at Torwar Hall in Warsaw. Serbia beat the Czech Republic in three sets and Poland achieved the same result in their matchup with underdogs Iceland. Slovakia bounced back from their loss to the Czech Republic the day before to rout Cyprus in three sets to complete Wednesday’s programme. The first match of the second competition day between the Czech Republic and pre-favourites Serbia might have been one of the decisive ones for the final standing of the World Championship qualifier in Warsaw. The 2016 Olympic silver medallists did not disappoint and cruised steadily to win the first two sets 25-19 and 25-18 almost unchallenged and not for the lack of skills on the Czech side. Coach Zdenek Pommer’s team doubled their efforts in set three and accumulated a substantial point advantage (12-5), but Serbia showed their experience and kept coming back for a thrilling finish, eventually winning 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 26-24). “Maintaining our concentration throughout the game is something that we will try to improve for the next games. We are happy with this 3-0 win. Every match and point counts here. The Czech Republic played really well, especially in defence and I think they are one of the best teams in this tournament,” said Serbia star player Tijana Boskovic, who scored an impressive number of 28 points for her team. Later in the afternoon, Cyprus managed to score only 38 points in the three sets they played against Slovakia. Very efficient reception gave the Slovakian team many opportunities for their attacks, which they mostly converted throughout the match. When they paired this with some good serving, only a 3-0 ending was to be expected and indeed this scenario came true after only 66 minutes of play (25-15, 25-13, 25-10). “This tournament and match is a great experience for my team. Our aim is to win gold in the Small Countries Division, so playing here is very good for my players,” said Petros Patsias, coach of Cyprus. “These three points are important, but the big thing for me is that this was the first official game, and not an easy one from the mental side, for some of our very young, new players – the libero and the opposite. Letting them play in a real, national team game is important for our future,” said Slovakia coach Marek Rojko. Poland pleased their fans in Warsaw not only with a three-point win, but also with their style of play, presenting a variety of successful attacks, while Iceland gave away quite a few points. The hosts only stepped up their game in set no. 2, finishing it with a rarely seen score of 25-5. This pace was hard to maintain at all times and coach Jacek Nawrocki’s players slowed down a bit in the beginning of set three, but that was just a short break before they went on to close the match 3-0 (25-16, 25-5, 25-18). “Our performance in the second set was really good, and regardless of how the opponents played, we made a minimal number of own mistakes and that was enough. In the other two sets my players looked tense again – wanting too much too fast and this is not good for the flow of the game,” said Nawrocki. “For us, for the second line-up, it was an important game – to go out there and take the responsibility for the match, especially when everyone expects a perfect result,” said home star Maja Tokarska
  15. We won 3-0. I know this is starting to sound like I had some weird hate/rage for our women's team, but that was not a good match at all given the rank of our opponent tonight and how great Serbia played against them, I would say the last 25-18 was almost uncomfortably close. And truly, if that was , or playing against or like that I would be truly angry, because those girls from Cyprus or Iceland played witb heart and TBH at least one of those teams deserved to win a set against us....
  16. We now truly see how weak our womens team is and they don't even play as bad as yesterday against Cyprus yet I will again say that much of the reason why the ending parts of sets are not dramatically close is both Cyprus and Iceland , basically 90% amateur teams seem to be scared at the thought of leading against us... if we play like this we will have HUUGEE problems against Slovakia tommorow... and it is still only 16-14 for us, so in theory anything is still possible
  17. Wow, we beat Iceland 25-5 in II set Too bad we are now losing 3-8
  18. Well, from the fragments I saw Slovakian women played much better against Cyprus then ours
  19. And 25-6 in 3rd poor Northern Ireland
  20. 25-7 for Czech Republic in the 2nd set
  21. Well, after a heavy fight Austria lost the tie-break 13-15, and quite undeservedly lost the match. This is still a great result for them, and they might fight for top 2 spots here as they still have Moldova and Luxembourg to play against Now for tonights match of the day vs
  22. As I expected pretty easy 3-0 for Serbian women
  23. Wow, once again surprisingly good game by . They are losing 1-2 against but they won previous set 25-16 and lost previous only by 2 points (24-26 and 25-27). If the achieve a win here, who knows, they might even fight for the best 2 in this group
  24. Today's games of FIVB women's world championship qualification tournament in Warsaw 15:30 CEST Czech Republic 0-3 Serbia ( 19-25 ; 18-25 ; 24-26) 18:00 CEST Cyprus 0-3 Slovakia ( 25-15 ; 25-13 ; 25-10 ) 20:30 CEST Iceland 0-3 Poland ( 16-25 ; 5-25 ; 18-25 )
  25. Montenegro - Russia (men) livestream http://live.robinwidget.org/streamvideo8/montenegro-vs-russia-live-stream-1604497.html Potentially the biggest chance of finding stream of any match during this tournament -if it's available will be on this site https://www.batmanstream.com/volleyball-live-streaming-video-2016-5.html I don't like using unofficial sources, but if CEV doesn't even care for broadcasting of the games...