Maksym Drozd Leads Ukraine to Euro League Gold

CEV Euro League Men

  • Gemtpfte. Denmark
  • July 2, 2017
  • Schedule/Results

 

Gold Medal Match

Ukraine 3, Former Y.R. of Macedonia 1 (25-15, 25-22, 24-26, 25-13)

 

Bronze Medal Match

Sweden 3, Denmark 1 (25-23, 16-25, 25-19, 25-21)

 

Ukraine grabbed the Euro League gold medal in its first tournament outing, relegating the former Y.R. of Macedonia to a third straight silver medal. Meanwhile, Sweden topped home-standing Denmark in four sets for the bronze.

Maksym Drozd paced the Ukrainians in the gold medal match en route to tournament MVP honors.

EuroLeague  Dream Team

SETTER: Volodymyr Kovalchuk / Ukraine
OPPOSITE: Nikola Gjorgiev / Former Y.R. of Macedonia
OUTSIDE SPIKER: Oleksiy Klyamar / Ukraine
OUTSIDE SPIKER: Rasmus Breuning Nielsen / Denmark
MIDDLE BLOCKER: Maksym Drozd / Ukraine
MIDDLE BLOCKER: Gjoko Josifov / Former Y.R. of Macedonia
LIBERO: Anton Wijk Tegenrot / Sweden
MVP: Maksym Drozd / Ukraine

 

Ukraine 3, Macedonia 1

Ukraine hit at a 60 percent efficiency and won the battles for the block (9-7) and service line (9-2) in a four-set win over Macedonia for the Euro League gold medal on Sunday. The victory gave first time competitor Ukraine its first Euro League medal, while Macedonia had to settle for silver in its third straight championship match appearance, following two runner-up finishes.

Ukraine led nearly throughout the entire match, never trailing in Sets 1 or 2 and boasting a six-point edge midway through Set 3, only to see Macedonia chip away and tie the score at 23 before stealing away the 26-24 win. The Ukrainians bounced back with a vengeance, cruising to a dominant 25-13 Set 4 victory.

“I am very proud of this team,” Ukrainian coach Ugis Krastins said. “They played a really good game according to our plan and did not fall out when they faced strong pressure. Our service was just amazing, since the beginning of the match. This was what set the tone for the entire game. I am happy, and I want to praise the guys and thank the Federation for giving us the opportunity to participate in the European League. This was our first appearance, and we managed to immediately win the gold. It is simply amazing, and we will enjoy the celebration in full.”

Maksym Drozd led a group of five Ukrainian hitters with double-digit point tallies. Drozd accounted for 20 points, with 14 kills, three blocks and three aces. Oleksiy Klyamar (15), Oleg Shevchenko (13), Volodymyr Tevkun (13), and Andriy Levchenko (12) followed. Klyamar added 14 putaways, while Shevchenko, Tevkun and Levchenko managed 10 apiece.

Macedonian captain  Nikola Gjorgiev put down a match-high 24 points, with 23 kills and an ace, but the next highest Macedonian output came from Aleksandar Ljaftov’s eight points, with five kills and a team-best three blocks.

“Mentally, we weren’t ready enough to play this final,” Gjorgiev said. “We are now second for the third year in a row, I must conclude that we haven’t improved enough to win the gold. My congratulations go out to Ukraine.”

 

Sweden 3, Denmark 1

Denmark had home court advantage, but it was the visiting Swedes that stole the show in a four-set win in the bronze medal showdown between the Scandanavian nations.

“This means incredibly much for us,” Swedish coach Johan Isacsson said. “We were very tired after the tiebreak loss from yesterday. Both teams were. But I think we came to the match with a bit more energy and our substitutions worked out very well. Denmark has a great team. But we wanted it so much. We searched for revenge after our missed match point yesterday, and we found it. I am so proud of the guys.”

The teams played to a 21-all tie in Set 1, but Sweden rallied with four of the next six points, winning 25-23 on its third set-point chance. Denmark raced ahead 16-10 in Set 2 and cruised to a 25-16 win. By the midway point of sets 3 and 4, the Swedes had things well in hand with identical leads of 16-12 en route to 25-19 and 25-21 scores.

“I am very disappointed,” Danish coach Mikael Trolle said. “I still believe we have the level to win the tournament, when our game works, but we are just not consistent enough in our service and reception. Our opponent was good today, no doubt about that. My congratulations to Sweden.”

A few points here and there marked the difference in the match, which was decided by just three points in the end (91-88). The teams tied in blocks with nine apiece. Denmark won the serving battle 7-5. Sweden had three more kills (51-48) and two less errors (26-24).

Jacob Link paced Sweden with 20 points, including 16 kills and a team-best four blocks. Linus Ekstrand added 10 points, including five kills and four aces. Viktor Lindberg chipped in nine points, all on kills.

Peter Trolle Bonnesen led the Danes with 19 points, including 14 kills, three aces and two blocks. Rasmus Breuning Nielsen (13) and Aske Morkeberg Sorensen (11) followed. Simon Oster Ellgaard Andersen managed nine points, including a team-leading four blocks.

2017 Euro League Dream Team

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