CEV European Championship 2010 Junior Women - SCD
by Anne Hasdorf
3rd Day - Gold for the Lion
Luxembourg looses only one set and wins four Individual Awards
The tension curve on the last day of the 2010 CEV European Championships Junior Women could not have been more different. Whereas the first two matches resulted in clear 3:0 victories, the final match between the two favourites from Luxembourg and Cyprus was the only fight with more than three sets, as expected in advance.
In the first match, Cyprus, Luxembourg’s main competitor for the gold medal, played Ireland off the court. Only in the third set Ireland was able to reach the ten-point barrier. Afterwards, same procedure for the team from Malta, who got caught flat-footed by Liechtenstein. 20 points in total was the dissatisfying result for the Maltese girls.
The final between Luxembourg and Cyprus, who had to play twice that day, started emotionally. From the beginning on, both teams fought for every point. Even though the host team had difficulties to block and defend the effective attacks of Cypriot captain Emanouella Constantinou, Cyprus in contrary was not able to deal with the Luxembourgish services. After the first technical timeout, Luxembourg was leading 8:3. However, Cyprus started to quickly catch up thanks to too many self-caused mistakes on the Luxembourgish side. Short before the technical timeout, Luxembourg was again able to extend its lead until 16:9, above all due to a convincing Nathalie Braas in her service and defence. In the end, the result of 25:12 in favour of Luxembourg spoke volumes.
The second set started more balanced. Luxembourg, however, was always able to keep up a small two-point lead until the first technical timeout at 8:6. At the score of 12:12 and again at 14:14 Cyprus was able to balance due to a noticeable instability in the Luxembourgish defence. Additionally, the Luxembourgish block was not stable at all, leaving the Cypriote outside hitters Evely Stefanoy and Emanouella Constantinou enough space to score. Even though the host team could enter the twenty-point barrier first, Cyprus could again equalise the score at 21:21. A block by Analena Mach finally brought Luxembourg the set ball. Cyprus was able to balance at 24:24, when Betty Hoffmann illegitimately passed the line. The neck-and-neck-race finally ended at 27:25 in favour of Cyprus after a technical fault by Luxembourg.
In the third set the opponent from Cyprus worked itself up into a freezy. A spectacular defence and fighting spirit put the Cypriot girls into lead at 8:5 at the first technical timeout. Luxembourg, however, did not give up and could balance at 8:8. The neck-and-neck-race started again. Luxembourg could take the lead over at 13:12 and could enter the second technical timeout at 16:13. The host team regained its self-confidence and build up a small lead of four points at 20:16. Afterwards the lion became unstoppable and Luxembourg could decide the set at 25:20.
In the fourth set, Luxembourg convinced with a good start, but due to failure in service and some miscommunication, Cyprus was able to catch up at 7:7. Thereafter, Luxembourg scored three points in a row, entering the two-digit area first and leading six points at the second technical timeout. The now totally concentrated playing Luxembourgish team could further extend its lead until the Cypriot timeout at 19:11. Nevertheless, Luxembourg did not want to give away anymore the gold medal and could finally win the decisive fourth set to 15.
Despite the gold, the host team could also win the most Individual Awards: Michèle Breuer as Best Setter, Liz Alliaume as Best Spiker, Betty Hoffmann as Best Blocker and Nathalie Braas as Most Valuable Player.
2nd Day - Host team dominates second day
Luxembourg and Cyprus still undefeated
During the second day of the 2010 Junior Women European Championships, it became clear that the real final would also be the last match on Saturday between the favourites from Luxembourg and Cyprus.
First match of the day - second clear 3:0 victory for the 2008 gold medal winner from Luxembourg. The less experienced team from Ireland left the court with only 23 points in total. Three hours later it was Cyprus’ turn. Even though Malta was able to get more points than Ireland against Luxembourg, the superior team from Cyprus was never in danger of loosing a set.
In the third match, Liechtenstein was able to clearly win against Ireland.
In its second match against Malta, the host team from Luxembourg started with effective services. Even though Malta fought well, the team from Southern Europe had huge difficulties with its reception. Luxembourg quickly extended a solid lead and could win the first set at 25:4. In the second set, Luxembourg played less concentrated, but Malta was still not able to block the successful attacks from Betty Hoffmann and captain Nathalie Braas, loosing the second set to 15 and the third set to 9.
1st Day - Starting shot for “Mission Gold”
First victories for Luxembourg, Cyprus and Malta
The first day of the 2010 CEV European Championships Junior Women of the small countries division started well for the host team from Luxembourg.
The main rival from Cyprus opened the tournament with a clear 3:0 victory against Liechtenstein. Malta followed by dominating the match against Ireland.
In the third match of the day the Luxembourgish junior national team made its first step to defend the gold medal, which the team around coach Andrej Gorbachev could win two years ago in Liechtenstein.
After a poor start and a four-point deficit, the team around captain Nathalie Braas was able to come into play by increasing the pressure on service. When the referee whistled for the first timeout, Luxembourg was leading 8:6, then 16:9 at the second technical timeout.
A service run from Liz Alliaume extended the lead even further. Coach Gorbachev constantly changed his two liberos Kim Godart and Claude Bichel, usually middle blocker. In the end, Luxembourg closed the set at 25:13. Second set, same procedure. In the beginning, Luxembourg lost several points in a row, having difficulties to block middle blocker Corina Schmuck from Liechtenstein. After passing the ten point barrier Luxembourg was still not able to fully break away, but could eke out a three-point advance at 16:13. The second technical timeout then broke the spell and the host team could also decide the second set in its favour. In the decisive third set, Luxembourg constantly extended point by point the lead. Setter Michèle Breuer continued to cleverly distribute the balls, enabling her attackers to use the holes in the block of Liechtenstein. At the score of 25:8, Luxembourg defeated Liechtenstein 3:0.
Liechtenstein – Cyprus 0:3 (22:25, 17:25, 21:25)
Ireland – Malta 0:3 (15:25, 22:25, 22:25)
Luxembourg – Liechtenstein 3:0 (25:13, 25:16, 25:8)
Ireland – Luxembourg 0:3 (6:25, 9:25, 8:25)
Malta – Cyprus 0:3 (7:25, 12:25, 12:25)
Liechtenstein – Ireland 3:0 (25:11, 25:1, 25:14)
Luxembourg – Malta 3:0 (25:4, 25:15, 25:9)
Cyprus – Ireland 3:0 (25:8, 25:8, 25:10)
Malta – Liechtenstein 0:3 (7:25, 8:25, 5:25)
Cyprus – Luxembourg 1:3 (12:25, 27:25, 20:25, 15:25)
Best Server: Alejandra Maldonado (Liechtenstein)
Best Receiver: Alejandra Maldonado (Liechtenstein)
Best Setter: Michèle Breuer (Luxembourg)
Best Spiker: Liz Alliaume (Luxembourg)
Best Blocker: Betty Hoffmann (Luxembourg)
Best Libero: Ioanna Lapa (Cyprus)
Best Scorer: Manolina Constantinou (Cyprus)
Most Valuable Player: Nathalie Braas (Luxembourg)