Three days into Pool B action of the European Women’s Qualifier in Warsaw, Poland, and Serbia and the hosts are still undefeated at 3-0. Serbia swept Cyprus and the Czech Republic made quick work of Iceland, while Poland survived a four-setter with Slovakia. Pool B play continues Saturday and Sunday.
Serbia 3, Cyprus 0
The Serbian squad went with its second lineup, but still found no trouble in shellacking Cyprus on Thursday. Serbia won the match 5-10, 25-12, 25-15.
“We expected this kind of result, but sometimes playing matches like this can be dangerous – if your players are in top shape, this might cause them to lower their level, which is why I put my first six out of the game,” Serbian coach Zoran Terzic said.
Serbia blazed out to big leads to start each set, going up 16-4 in Set 1, 8-1 in Set 2 and 16-11 in Set 3, before coasting to the wins.
Serbia served up 12 aces and added five blocks in the sweep.
Ana Bjelica, Nadja Ninkovic and Sanja Malagurski paced the Serbian attack with 11, 10 and nine points respectively. Ninkovic served up four aces, while Bjelica added a match-high eight kills.
Katerina Zakchaiou added seven points, with five kills and two blocks to lead Cyprus.
Czech Republic 3, Iceland 0
Czech Republic limited Iceland to 26 total points in the match, dominating in the 25-6, 25-7, 25-13 sweep, which took just 57 minutes to complete. The Czechs held Iceland without a block and allowed just one ace in the contest.
“Our coach was happy that we managed to maintain our focus throughout the entire match and play good Volleyball on our part,” Czech middle blocker Barbora Purchartova said. “Now all our attention turns to Saturday’s match against Poland. We will use the day off to gather all our strength for the match with the hosts.”
Karolina Bednarova managed 14 points, with eight kills, five aces and a blocks, to lead the Czech squad. Katerina Kohoutova hit at a 71 percent efficiency while downing 10 kills.
Hjordis Eirikdottir led Iceland with seven points, including six kills and an ace.
“This is the first time we have made it this far so we are really excited to be here and play against these big teams – it’s a big step up for us,” said Iceland’s libero Birta Björnsdottir.
Poland 3, Slovakia 1
Poland dominated the match statistically, and rebounding after letting Slovakia back in late in Set 3 in a four-set victory to stay perfect in pool play. The Polish team put up 17 blocks and served up seven aces, while holding the Slovakians to a 36 percent hitting efficiency in the victory.
Slovakia had no answer for Berenika Katarzyna Tomsia, who registered 27 points, including 21 kills, four blocks and two aces. Poland also had help from double-digit point scorers Malwina Smarzek (14), Agnieszka Kakolewska (13) and Natalia Medrzyk (12). Kakolewska managed six blocks, while Smarzek put down 12 kills and Medrzyk added 10.
Slovakia led 8-5 early in Set 1, but Poland responded and took a 16-14 lead and held on for the 25-19 win, including five blocks. Poland led Set 2 from start to finish, starting with a 10-0 run and never looking back in a 25-15 victory. The Polish team jumped ahead 8-3 in Set 3 and led 21-19 only to see its slip away as Slovakia rallied for the 28-26 win. Slovakia had four blocks in the set and forced seven Polish errors. Poland rebounded with another wire to wire win, leading 8-2 and cruising to the 25-19 victory. “I am glad that we came back to win that fourth set but we shouldn’t let things slip from our hands as we did in set three,” Polish captain Joanna Wołosz said. “Tomorrow we will have plenty of time to analyze our mistakes and try to avoid them in the future.”
Nikola Pistelakova paced Slovakia with 14 points, all on kills, while Dominika Drobnakova chipped in 10 kills. Jaroslava Pencova added nine, including three blocks and two aces.
Pool B in POL (Through 5/25/17)