2018 Women’s European Volleyball League Week 1 Update

2018 WOMEN’S EUROPEAN VOLLEYBALL LEAGUE

  • May 19th-June 20th, 2018
  • European Volleyball League Homepage

The first round of matches in the Women’s European Volleyball League is underway, as the result is being halfway done with pool play. Each pool has its own story as the nations look to clinch a spot in the Final Round. All of that analysis and more of each pool can be seen below.

FORMAT:

In the 15th edition of the Women’s European Volleyball League, the tournament is split into two divisions: a 12-team Golden League and an eight-team Silver League. All teams are split into four-team pools for their division. In the Golden League, all three pool winner plus Hungary (or the team in second if they win their pool), the Final Round host, advance. In the Silver League, the winner of each pool, the next best team and host-Sweden will advance to the last four.

Overall, this event acts as a qualifier for two teams to the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Challenger Cup, which provides an opportunity to make the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Nations League.

RESULTS:

Golden League

Bulgaria has firmly established themselves atop the first after they downed Azerbaijan in four sets in each team’s third match. Those two will continue to be the top contenders to claim the pool, while Ukraine earned a victory over Portugal on Sunday to keep their chances – albeit slim – alive. Their only chance is to win out and get some help along the way, but more likely is that the winner of the Bulgaria-Azerbaijan rematch will claim the Pool A victory and a spot in the elimination round.

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1 Bulgaria 3 0 9 9 2 4.500 274 214 1.280
2 Azerbaijan 2 1 6 7 5 1.400 270 259 1.042
3 Ukraine 1 2 3 5 6 0.833 255 250 1.020
4 Portugal 0 3 0 1 9 0.111 173 249 0.695

With Bulgaria and Azerbaijan likely in a fight to the finish, their second meeting on May 30 right out the gates could determine the pool winner. If Bulgaria wins that, they would own a two-match lead on everyone with two to play, and depending on sets won might already secure the Pool A win. If Azerbaijan wins the match, the remaining schedule becomes a lot more intriguing because sets won and lost (as well as point ratio) could come into play, creating an importance for the top two in the pool to not just defeat Ukraine and Portugal, but win by a wide margin.

Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
19 May 17:00 3–0 Portugal 25–13 25–18 25–19 75–50 Report
19 May 18:00 3–1 Ukraine 16–25 25–19 25–23 28–26 94–93 Report
23 May 18:00 3–1 Portugal 24–26 25–17 25–14 25–17 99–74 Report
23 May 18:30 3–1 Ukraine 32–34 25–10 25–22 25–21 107–87 Report
26 May 17:00 3–1 Azerbaijan 17–25 25–17 25–14 25–21 92–77 Report
27 May 17:00 0–3 Ukraine 22–25 14–25 13–25 49–75 Report
30 May 17:00 Portugal 0–0 Report
30 May 18:00 Bulgaria 0–0 Report
2 Jun 18:00 Bulgaria 0–0 Report
2 Jun 15:00 Azerbaijan 0–0 Report
6 Jun 17:00 Azerbaijan 0–0 Report
6 Jun 16:00 Bulgaria 0–0 Report

POOL B

Three teams emerged atop Pool B with 2-1 records, which should make for an exciting finish to pool play coming in the next week and a half. It’s a perfect triangle with all three teams downing France and Hungary beating Croatia, Croatia defeating Finland and Finland taking care of Hungary. What adds to the intrigue is that Hungary is the lone team who has clinched a bid to the final four on the basis of their hosting stance. Henceforth, if Hungary were to win the group then it would create a scenario where the best second-place team of the three pools would be pushed into the final four.

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1 Hungary 2 1 6 7 4 1.750 253 237 1.068
2 Croatia 2 1 6 7 4 1.750 255 253 1.008
3 Finland 2 1 6 6 4 1.500 237 207 1.145
4 France 0 3 0 1 9 0.111 197 245 0.804

The remaining schedule will obviously be highlighted by the final meetings between the top three teams. The matches against France will be just as important though. If the French side can finally earn a victory, it might serve as elimination for the team that they take down. Sets won could also come into play along with points, as it would right now, in which case Hungary and Croatia’s meeting on June 2 could determine the pool victor.

Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
19 May 17:00 3–0 Finland 25–21 26–24 25–19 76–64 Report
20 May 18:30 3–0 France 25–16 25–19 25–20 75–55 Report
23 May 18:30 3–1 Croatia 26–24 25–23 23–25 25–12 99–84 Report
23 May 18:30 3–0 France 25–18 25–13 25–21 75–52 Report
26 May 16:00 3–1 Hungary 25–19 23–25 25–16 25–19 98–79 Report
26 May 20:00 3–1 France 25–19 25–21 18–25 27–25 95–90 Report
30 May 17:00 Croatia 0–0 Report
30 May 20:00 Hungary 0–0 Report
2 Jun 17:00 Hungary 0–0 Report
2 Jun 20:00 Finland 0–0 Report
6 Jun 18:30 Finland 0–0 Report
6 Jun 20:00 Croatia 0–0 Report

POOL C

Czech Republic came in as by far the highest ranked team in the FIVB World Rankings of the pool, coming in at 23rd with everyone else at 35 or lower. That showed well in the first week and they won every set. Belarus was actually the lowest ranked though and dispelled their spot by earning two victories. Spain is in a position where they must win out next week, which could happen with their two matches against Czech Republic out of the way. They took down Belarus too and might end up knocking each other even further back of the Czech side.

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1 Czech Republic 3 0 9 9 0 MAX 225 169 1.331
2 Belarus 2 1 5 7 5 1.400 266 254 1.047
3 Spain 1 2 3 3 7 0.429 199 235 0.847
4 Slovakia 0 3 1 2 9 0.222 224 256 0.875

With Czech Republic and Belarus leading Pool C, the two upcoming meetings between the nations – each team’s last two matches of pool play – could determine the group’s winner. However, if Spain were to down Belarus for a second time on May 30 and the Czechs defeated Slovakia, as expected, it would be a two-match lead with just one win needed for Czech Republic.

Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
19 May 15:00 2–3 Belarus 24–26 25–18 24–26 25–21 8–15 106–106 Report
19 May 19:00 0–3 Czech Republic 23–25 21–25 12–25 56–75 Report
23 May 16:00 3–0 Slovakia 25–23 25–19 25–20 75–62 Report
23 May 17:00 3–0 Spain 25–20 25–16 25–21 75–57 Report
26 May 16:00 1–3 Spain 21–25 25–11 23–25 16–25 85–86 Report
26 May 16:00 3–0 Slovakia 25–17 25–20 25–19 75–56 Report
30 May 17:00 Czech Republic 0–0 Report
30 May 20:30 Belarus 0–0 Report
2 Jun 18:00 Belarus 0–0 Report
2 Jun 19:00 Slovakia 0–0 Report
6 Jun 18:00 Czech Republic 0–0 Report
6 Jun 18:00 Spain 0–0 Report

Silver League

Sweden could complicate the final four if they win their pool, as they are now, just a little bit. The format puts the two pool winners, the host (Sweden) and the best overall second-place team in the last four, but if Sweden were to win their group there would be another spot for the next best team. That might take some pressure off the likes of Estonia and Switzerland, who could still make the elimination round without winning the group. However, it also adds to the importance of defeating the other to finish second in the pool.

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1 Sweden 3 0 8 9 2 4.500 261 218 1.197
2 Estonia 2 1 6 8 5 1.600 295 245 1.204
3 Switzerland 1 2 4 5 6 0.833 227 232 0.978
4 Kosovo 0 3 0 0 9 0.000 137 225 0.609

Every team played each other once in the first round of matches, so there will be no doubling up in the last stretch. The match right off the bat on May 30 could be the most important too, with Estonia and Sweden lining up against each other. If Sweden wins the match, it could create a tie in the loss column between Estonia and Switzerland, which would make the June 3 meeting likely for second in the pool and a potential spot in the elimination round.

Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
19 May 19:00 3–0 Switzerland 25–13 26–24 25–17 76–54 Report
20 May 19:00 0–3 Estonia 8–25 12–25 17–25 37–75 Report
23 May 17:00 3–2 Switzerland 21–25 25–17 24–26 25–18 15–12 110–98 Report
23 May 20:00 0–3 Sweden 21–25 23–25 10–25 54–75 Report
26 May 17:00 2–3 Sweden 25–17 25–18 33–35 20–25 7–15 110–110 Report
26 May 17:30 3–0 Kosovo 25–14 25–15 25–17 75–46 Report
30 May 17:00 Estonia 0–0 Report
30 May 19:30 Switzerland 0–0 Report
2 Jun 16:00 Kosovo 0–0 Report
3 Jun 16:30 Estonia 0–0 Report
6 Jun 17:00 Kosovo 0–0 Report
6 Jun 19:30 Sweden 0–0 Report

POOL B

Austria appears to be the best team in Pool B, not just winning every match but going 9-1 in sets and having by far the best point ratio. They’ve set themselves up in a good position now to either win the pool or at least earn the best non-pool winner distinction to head off to the final round. Still, that will take someone overtaking them, and after they they defeated Albania 3-0 by a score of 75-56, it seems like that the Austrian side will continue its winning ways.

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1 Austria 3 0 9 9 1 9.000 245 174 1.408
2 Albania 2 1 6 6 3 2.000 206 179 1.151
3 Israel 1 2 3 4 7 0.571 219 252 0.869
4 Georgia 0 3 0 1 9 0.111 183 248 0.738

Assuming Austria continues to roll, Albania is in the top position for that important second slot. That comes after they swept Israel, but the rematch comes right away in the second series of matches on May 30. That could be the most important match ahead besides Albania and Austria on June 2, but this pool looks pretty straight forward through three matches for everyone.

Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
19 May 15:00 3–1 Israel 25–21 25–12 20–25 25–15 95–73 Report
20 May 17:00 0–3 Albania 16–25 18–25 22–25 56–75 Report
23 May 19:00 3–1 Georgia 25–21 23–25 25–20 25–16 98–82 Report
23 May 19:00 0–3 Austria 18–25 17–25 21–25 56–75 Report
26 May 17:00 0–3 Austria 17–25 14–25 14–25 45–75 Report
26 May 19:00 0–3 Albania 18–25 16–25 14–25 48–75 Report
30 May 17:00 Israel 0–0 Report
30 May 17:45 Georgia 0–0 Report
2 Jun 17:45 Albania 0–0 Report
2 Jun 20:00 Israel 0–0 Report
6 Jun 17:00 Georgia 0–0 Report
6 Jun 19:00 Austria 0–0 Report

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