Sweden and Estonia off to flying start at EuroVolley qualifier in Tallinn !
On Friday hosts Estonia and Sweden started their 2017 EuroVolley adventure by edging underdogs Luxembourg and Denmark by 3-0 and 3-1 respectively to set their sights on a spot in the second stage of the qualification process which is due to follow later this year. On Saturday the competition resumes with Sweden playing Luxembourg and the Danes hunting their first victory in the first-round qualifier Pool 1 in Tallinn when taking on hosts Estonia.
Estonia vs. Luxembourg 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-12)
By edging Luxembourg in three sets hosts Estonia recorded their first victory by this score at European level since a matchup with Norway they had contested back in 2008.
In front of their home crowd Estonia sprinted to an 8-2 lead in the opening set and controlled the game with ease after that. “The most important is that we won the game but there is certainly room for improvement. We made too many mistakes in attack and we can do better in reception as well,” said Estonia head coach Marko Mett.
Though it was Polina Bratuhhina-Pitou who scored most of the points (12) for the home side, all eyes were on Anna Kajalina. Only two weeks ago she claimed France’s national league with SAINT-RAPHAËL Var VB and on Friday the 205cm tall opposite represented Estonia for the first time in senior competitions. The 25-year-old spiker played for two and a half sets, recording eight points.
For Luxembourg it was also an important game. Their previous participations in the European Championship happened ‘only’ in the Small Countries Division but this year they are back on the ‘big stage’ for the first time since 2010.
“I am happy for the girls. At the beginning they were very nervous but it was gone after a few rallies. In the first two sets we did stick to our game plan and played good Volleyball. In the third set we lost control in reception and that was the reason why we lost so badly,” said their mentor Detlev Schönberg. “Hopefully we can make a few steps more and play even better against Sweden tomorrow. It won’t be easy because in my opinion Sweden and Estonia are the two strongest teams in this group,” he added.
Denmark vs Sweden 1-3 (10-25; 25-19; 25-27; 16-25)