FIVB World Championships – European Qualification Women
- May 24- June 4, 2017
It was another day of sweeps as No. 5 Turkey, No. 1 Bulgaria and No. 20 Switzerland held rank in women’s Pool C action of European Qualification in Solfia, Bulgaria.
Turkey and the host Bulgaria both stand at 3-0 atop the group. The teams will meet on Saturday with the World Championships automatic berth on the line.
Switzerland 3, Kosovo 0
It took just 55 minutes for the Swiss to rack up 11 aces and seven blocks and dismiss newcomer Kosovo with a 25-11, 25-8, 25-15 sweep.
“I feel great actually, it really feels good,” Swiss captain Laura Kuenzler said. “We did our job. We played well in the first two sets. In the third we lost our focus a bit and we made some mistakes, but everything is fine when the final result is that good.”
Kosovo held the early lead in Sets 1 and 3 but could not hold on. In Set 3, Kosovo boasted an 8-6 advantage, but saw it slip away as Switzerland owned a 16-14 lead by the midway point.
Kosovo helped the Swiss cause with 32 miscues.
“For us every match here is special,” Kosovo coach Lorik Ilazi said. “We did some good things today but we didn’t manage to play at the same level for the whole match. Now we will check our errors, will analyze them and I hope we can play better tomorrow.”
Laura Kuenzler tallied a match-high 10 points with seven kills, two aces and a block. Madlaina Matter chipped in nine points, including three blocks, while Linda Kronenberg added seven points, including a team-leading four aces.
Fjolla Shabani and Rukije Muja contributed five points apiece to lead Kosovo.
Bulgaria 3, Montenegro 0
It was nearly a start to finish win for No. 10 Bulgaria, downing Montenegro 25-15, 25-12, 25-13. Montenegro managed just a 19 percent hitting efficiency in the match and allowed Bulgaria 10 aces in the loss.
“The most important thing is that we gave an opportunity to Elitsa [Vasileva] to be fresh for our so important match against Turkey tomorrow,” Bulgarian coach Ivan Seferinov said. “This will be our moment of truth!”
Gergana Dimitrova led all scorers with 12 points, including 10 kills, a block and an ace for Bulgaria. Emiliya Nikolova added 11 points, including three aces. Nasya Dimtrova served up four of Bulgaria’s four aces.
Elza Hadzisalihovic and Nikoleta Perovic managed five points apiece for Montenegro.
“I want to congratulate Bulgaria,” Montenegro’s Danijela Dzakovic said. “They played really well today, so congrats. I think Bulgaria and Turkey are the big favourites here and they will decide between themselves which team will qualify directly to the World Championship. Tomorrow is a new day, a new match and we will try to win.”
Turkey 3, Romania 0
No. 5 Turkey downed No. 16 Romania 25-14, 25-19, 25-18, trailing by one point twice in Set 3. The Turkish side outblocked Romania 13-8 and hit at a 45 percent clip in the victory.
Romania could not compete with the Turkish attack, which hit at 50 percent in Set 1, 46 percent in Set 2 and 41 percent in Set 3. The Romanians managed just a 24 percent efficiency for the match.
“We have done our job so far,” Turkish coach Giovanni Guidetti said. “We knew before coming here that this tournament would be decided by the match tomorrow and we are looking forward to playing Bulgaria. If Bulgaria keep playing as good as they have done so far, it will be a very difficult match for us. They are in great shape, they play really strong, they are stable, they block very well, so we hope tomorrow they don’t have their best day.”
Neriman Ozsoy led all hitters with 14 points, including 11 kills and two blocks. Gosde Kirdar (12) and Seda Aslanyurek (11) followed. Kubra Akman Caliskan managed five of the team’s 13 blocks.
Roxana Iancu and Ariana-Cristiana Pirv tallied nine points apiece to lead Romania.
“Sometimes if you want to beat a strong team, you have to have the opportunity to play against such an opponent,” Romanian captain Adina Salaoru said. “It was our chance to prove us and show what we are capable of. We just played as good as we could and in some moments I think we did really well.”