Belarus remains undefeated as Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary all secure victories at CEV Volleyball European Golden League 2019
Luxembourg, June 1, 2019. Super Saturday lived up to its name during the third round of the CEV Women’s Volleyball European Golden League. Five thrilling matches were the showcase of the day, featuring plenty of pulse pounding moments with exhilarating drama. Slovakia made a statement with their commanding victory over Sweden, who are yet to find their first win. The Czech Republic didn t let records daunt them as they took down an undefeated Ukraine in four sets, while Croatia took an easy three set victory in their contest with Austria. Hungary meanwhile prevailed once again over France - while Belarus rallied back to defend their perfect record and hand Spain their first loss of the tournament. We are one tantalising step closer to the Final Four, taking place in Varaždin, Croatia on June 21-22, 2019.
Slovakia vs. Sweden 3-0 (25-16, 25-13, 25-16)
• Team Slovakia took their second victory in the 2019 European Golden League Women, securing the win in three straight sets against a still win-less Sweden.
• Both teams were serving very well throughout the match - Slovakia ended with 14 aces, Sweden with 8.
• The best scorer of the match was Karin Palgutova from Team Slovakia, with 18 points.
• Karin Palgutova and Jonna Wasserfaller, captain of Team Sweden, were both honoured as the MVP’s of the match.
Marco Fenoglio, head coach of Team Slovakia: “It is a very important victory for us after a good result in the Czech Republic. Today we had a good serve and strong attack, and we played as a team. We want to fight for the Final Four, which is our goal.”
Ettore Guidetti, head coach of Sweden: “Our level is not high enough for this competition right now. Slovakia has a great attack and our defence was really poor. We need to stay positive and fight for better results.”
• Ukraine no longer can claim an “undefeated” distinction, having just suffered their first loss at the 2019 European Golden League Women tournament.
• The Czech Republic currently sit at the top of Pool A with 7 points, followed by Ukraine with 6 points, and Slovakia with 5 points. All these three teams have two wins and one loss to their name this far.
• During the match the Czech Republic managed to block a sensational 13 points. Every block delighted the home fans at the Mestska Hala Vodova, in Brno.
• The best scorer of the match was Andrea Kossanyiova (24 points) from Team Czech Republic.
Ioannis Athanasopoulos, head coach of Team Czech Republic: “I wish it would be always like today. There was a fantastic atmosphere in Brno, that also helped us to win. Except for the second set, when we lost 6 or 7 points in a row, the girls followed the plan of the game and that is why we have won. Congratulations to the girls, and thanks to this amazing crowd.”
Gariy Yegiazarov, head coach of Team Ukraine: “The Czech team played very well, we were not good in attack. Now, three teams (we, Czech Republic, and Slovakia) will really have to fight in the next round of the tournament. I think we will have a very important match next week at home against the Czech Republic.”
Croatia vs. Austria 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-21)
• Croatia played much better than they had done last week in Innsbruck where they beat Croatia 3-2.
• Their head coach Daniele Santarelli gave an opportunity to those players that have not featured very often this far.
• Croatia captain Samanta Fabris played several points at the end of each set.
• The middle blockers set the pace for Team Croatia as Božana Butigan and Ema Strunjak scored 12 and 9 points, respectively.
• This is the third straight victory for Croatia in Pool B.
Lara Stimac, player of Croatia: “Since we were able to claim a 3-0 victory, I think we can really be satisfied. The next game we play with Hungary on their own ground will certainly be very interesting. I believe that the Hungarian fans make a good atmosphere and a lot of noise but we are ready for it.”
Nikolina Božičević, player of Croatia: “Hungary is a very good team and definitely there will be a fierce battle on the court. We are going there to win and we will give our best and see what the result will be.”
Svetlana Ilic, head coach of Austria: “I had the feeling that my players looked tired. We did play pretty well in the first set, but we made unforced own mistakes in the key moments at the end. I take as a positive a few changes that brought energy to the team. We need more quality and everything needs to be perfect to beat an opponent such as Croatia. This was not the case today. We will analyse which mistakes we made and why.”
France vs. Hungary 1-3 (19-25, 23-25, 25-19, 21-25)
• As many as 1,477 fans attended the match in Harnes.
• Julie Oliveira-Souza of France suffered an injury during the fourth set.
• Héléna Cazaute came back to the national team after nursing a knee injury.
Héléna Cazaute, player of France: “It is very cool to come back after my knee injury. It was difficult against Austria, because the team was struggling and I could not play and help. It is very nice to play in front of many people. We had almost 3,000 in Tourcoing and another 1,500 tonight – it is cool because in the national championship we play rarely with so many people in the stands.”
Rita Bokorné Liliom, player of Hungary: “I am really happy for the win because we have been trying different things. Anytime we change the team, every new player comes in and is ready to play and perform, so it is a good environment. France had some problems; they also changed some players and therefore sometimes it is hard to read their game, but I think we did a very good job.”
Azerbaijan vs. Finland
Belarus vs. Spain 3-1 (17-25, 25-13, 25-8, 27-25)
• The beginning of the match belonged to Team Spain. They were strong on defence, while on the other hand Belarus were having some problems with the reception. Closer to the end of the first set, the home team managed to find their game, but the moment to get back into the set had already passed.
• Both teams displayed truly beautiful volleyball and played unbelievably. In the middle of the second set the situation had changed, with Belarus taking hold of the momentum. This would remain relatively unchanged until the fourth set.
• A timeout in the second set by Spanish head coach Pascual Saurin didn’t help, as his team was completely dismantled 25-13. The third was an even worse rout, with Team Belarus quickly steamrolling 25-8.
• Only in the fourth set was Team Spain able to rediscover their game, but their comeback was ultimately cut short. The match ended with Belarus remaining undefeated, while Spain suffered their first defeat of the tournament.
Hanna Kalinouskaya, middle blocker of Team Belarus: “Spain has become much better compared to last year. Now they are playing very good in defence. It was a complicated game. Their temper and energy made it difficult to focus and caused us some problems. But then because their temper and emotions got the best of them, they lost.”