Latvia, Croatia add third wins to their impeccable Silver EuroLeagueM records

Monday 28th of May 2018

Luxembourg, May 26, 2018.  Latvia and Croatia continued their victorious path into the third leg of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Silver European League - Men. On Saturday, they shut out Kosovo in Pool A and Albania in Pool B, respectively, recording their third wins since the start of the season.


Latvia vs. Kosovo 3-0 (25-12, 25-8, 25-14) 

•    Armands Abolins and Edgars Simanskis made their debut with the Latvian national team – as Atvars Ozolins scored his first points (five in total) for the team. 
•    Latvia took the lead in the game and after leading by as many 11 points, they won the first set easily with 25-12. 
•    In the second set, Kosovo could not score 10 points because Latvia overpowered the opposition and stormed to a landslide 25-8 win. 
•    Same story in the third set, where Latvia was a way stronger and won easily 25-14.
•    Ruslans Sorokins served three aces in a row in the second set.
•    The home team served 13 aces in total, Kosovo only 1. 
•    Andis Cimoska top scored for Latvia with 13 points (including five blocks) as Shkelqim Ismajli scored 10 times for Kosovo. 

Atvars Ozolins, player of Latvia: “I feel really good after the win. However, I see details that need to be improved. We were preparing for this match as for any other, we did not think about an easy win. I will take those positive emotions after the first real game in the national team and remember them for the rest of my life.”

Driton Bytyqi, player of Kosovo: “The match was really tough for us, as Latvia was playing really good. We could see that Team Latvia has a lot more experienced players while we, on the other hand, are a very young team. We hope to play like them one day and for that we will have to work hard and earn as much game experience as possible.”



Croatia vs. Albania 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-21)  

•    Croatia won the first set 25-15. After trailing 2-6 following a slow start, Croatian head coach Ivan Rančić called a first time-out to encourage his team and his players managed to turn the result in their favour. 
•    In the second set, the home team was leading all the time until Albania tied the score at 20-20. However, Croatia won this set after a close end. 
•    The hosts set the pace early in the third set as well, but in the middle, the visitors had a four-point advantage (13-9). By winning a few points in a row, Croatia was leading again and the hosts eventually claimed their third straight victory in the European League.  
•    Leo Andrić from Croatia had a great performance with 14 points and four blocks. 

Ivan Rančić, head coach of Croatia: “The first set was really good, but after the injury of Danijel Galić we did not look as good as we can be. I understand my players, however, since it was the third game in seven days, but we won and only this matters.” 

Tsimafei Zhukouski, player of Croatia: “I am very happy that we won this game. It was not an easy match and I want to congratulate Albania on playing a good game.”

Gazmend Husaj, player of Albania: “Croatia was good and we could not keep up with them with our mistakes. Now we have a home game and we will try our best to get points, since it is not over yet for us.” 

Belarus vs. Hungary 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-15)

•    At the start of the game in Minsk, Hungary tried to play effectively in attack.
•   Péter Blazsovics (Hungary) made a few good points, but Aleh Khmialeuski and Artur Udrys responded well for the home side. 
•    In the third period, the coach of Belarus Viktar Beksha made some substitutions and provided his second lines with an opportunity to get some playing time. 
•    Outside-spiker Pavel Audochanka showed in the match against Hungary the highest percentage of effectiveness in the attack with a 70% success rate.
•    Belarus served five aces vs. one for Hungary. 
•    Pavel Audochanka top scored for Belarus with 16 points as Péter Blazsovics paced Hungary with 13 points.

Viktar Beksha, coach of Belarus: "After the defeat we suffered from Croatia, we had many practices. My players tried to improve their block and reception as well. Today I am pleased with how effectively our outside-spikers and opposite played."

Jozsef Nagy, captain of Hungary: "Obviously, Belarus is playing at a higher level than us at the moment. The opponents have very tall spikers. As for us, not all the top players came to the national team. Hungary is using the European League as an opportunity for young players to gain international experience." 

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