Thrilling action as Turkey, Latvia, Spain, Belarus, and Czech Republic claim third round victories at CEV Volleyball European Golden League 2019
Luxembourg, June 1, 2019. There was no rest today at the CEV Volleyball European Golden League, as the race toward glory started to reach a boiling point. The Match of the Leg featured a determined Slovakia taking on pool leader Turkey, who once again proved their undefeated dominance in three sets. Elsewhere Latvia won their first match, as Spain s and the Czech Republic s respective wins had both teams feeling good about their standings going into the next round. Meanwhile, Belarus also continued to remain unbeaten with their victory over Ukraine, showing that no team is going to give an inch on the quest to qualify for the Final Four in Tallinn, Estonia, on June 21-22, 2019.
Slovakia vs. Turkey 0-3 (20-25, 18-25, 17-25)
• Turkey claimed their third straight victory and have maximum nine points in Pool A.
• Their young star, 20-year-old opposite Adis Lagumdzija was the MVP and best scorer of the match with 19 points.
• Slovakian captain Tomáš Kriško received the prize for the best player from the home team.
• In one week, these two teams will lock horns again, this time in Malataya, Turkey.
• Slovakia sit in third place in Pool A with one win and three points.
Andrej Kravárik, head coach of Slovakia: “Turkey played very well and they deserved to win today. I think this was their best performance in this competition. Against an opponent like this, we need to serve well and we did not do that. Anyway, it is good that our team can play against such strong opponents, since it was a good experience for my players. Now we have a little bit of time off and we need to be ready for the next game in Turkey.”
Adis Lagumdzija, opposite of Turkey and player of the match: “I feel very happy, because it is our third victory in a row. We are slowly starting to play better and better every day and I hope that we will go to the Final Four. We made three good steps to get there, but we still need one or two more wins to qualify. It is our goal. It was a very tough period because we have played three matches in one week with travelling and it is good that now there will be one week off to recover.”
Latvia vs. Belgium 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-21)
• Today marked the first win for Team Latvia, a huge sigh of relief for the team and their fans.
• During the game, one banner was accidentally destroyed off a play by Latvian libero Ingars Ivanovs, but the ball didn’t sail out of bounds and play continued, eventually ending in a Latvian point.
• Lou Kindt from Team Belgium was the top scorer of the match with 18 points. Kristaps Platacs and Zigurds Adamovičs from Team Latvia also had phenomenal performances in today’s game, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Lauris Iecelnieks, assistant coach of Team Latvia: “What a great feeling! We were waiting for the victory, we were so close to it in the previous game against Slovakia. But today at our home court, with the support from our fans, we pulled out some incredible points that helped tip things in our favour and get the win.”
Brecht Van Kerckhove , head coach of Team Belgium : “Actually yesterday when we arrived, we already weren’t in a good mood, and this feeling continued in this morning practice and in the game itself. We were not happy with this - we tried to get back on track during the game, but Latvia together with their fans didn’t allow us to. Our game today was not on a good level.”
Estonia vs. The Netherlands
Croatia vs. Spain 0-3 (22-25, 22-25, 15-25)
• Team Croatia failed to stop the momentum of a strong Team Spain and their third European Golden League match ended with a 0-3 loss.
• In a difficult game at their home turf in Varaždin’s Gradska Sportska Dvorana arena, Croatia struggled against a clearly energetic and enthusiastic Spanish team.
• The first two sets were exceptionally exciting, with only three points separating Spain and Croatia in the end. Yet in the third set, Spain proved to be the more dominant team and took control of the game. The best scorer of the match was Spain’s Andres Jesus Villena with 16 points. Sven Šarčević and Marko Sedlaček were the top players for Team Croatia.
Hrvoje Pervan, player of Team Croatia: “Spain has been aggressive since the beginning of the match. They started to serve well, and we did not respond adequately. Later in the third set the nervousness came to a head, and this is the result. For the the next match against Estonia I expect a victory, because a few days ago we won against them here in Varaždin. We will see which team they will use since they have two sets of teams, where one has already qualified for the Final Four.”
Ivan Raic, player of Team Croatia: “Spain has taught us a valuable lesson, but regardless of this result, we will continue fighting and training hard.”
Belarus vs. Ukraine 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 20-25, 26-24)
• Before the match, the setter of Belarus Aliaksei Kurash had said he expected this would be the most difficult game in the group, because the teams are very similar.
• The match was very close and tense indeed.
• Belarus have improved their record to three wins in a row with maximum nine points.
• Andrei Radziuk paced Belarus with 21 points.
Volodymyr Tevkun, player of Ukraine and a Belarusian national champion earlier this year with Shakhtior SOLIGORSK: “Today we served very bad. I think this is the main reason why we lost. We were good in attack, but we made too many service mistakes. I already feel myself like home in Belarus, so I am very glad to be here again.”
Raman Aplevich, libero of Belarus: “We showed our game. It was a very important match for us, because Ukraine is one of the favourites in the group. We wanted to take as many points at home as possible. We felt our fans and that helped a lot. It is always a big pleasure to play at home.”
Czech Republic vs. Finland 3-1 (17-25, 25-22, 25-15, 25-22)
• Finland have yet to win a match and are still waiting for their first points in the 2019 European Golden League. They currently are on the bottom of the Pool C standings.
• With this third round victory, Team Czech Republic sit at second place in the standings of Pool C.
• The best scorers of the match were Jan Hadrava from the Czech Republic (27 points) and Samuli Kaislasalo (25 points) from Team Finland.
Michal Nekola, head coach of Team Czech Republic: “The match had two faces: in the first set we did not pressure with our serve and Finland was good in the attack, hence we got under pressure. From the second set the game was flipped, and our serve and attack got better. These two things definitely decided the whole match.”
Joel Banks, head coach of Team Finland: “We play better and better every match, every game shows improvement. We do not win - that is disappointing - but we have to continue with this progression. Of course, we would like to get better results, but every match shows a small step ahead.”