Italy and hosts Spain to lock horns for gold at inaugural WEVZA U16 Girls’ Championship
News from the Zonal Associations
Valladolid, Spain, July 18, 2015. The pre-favourites in the WEVZA U16 Girls’ Championship extended their winning streak also into the fourth day of competition in the Spanish city of Valladolid. Italy and Spain claimed their respective matches and will fight in the last game of the tournament for the much coveted title. Belgium defeated The Netherlands to sit in third place in the current standing of the tournament.
Italy routed Portugal in three quick sets. The Italians left their mark already on the first set where their excellent serve made the difference on the way to a massive 25-9. Portugal could not find any real answer to the superb performance of their opponents and the second set finished in a similar way. The Portuguese girls slightly improved the quality of their play in the third set but this could not prevent the Azzurrine from claiming the third set to enter the final day of competition in Valladolid with an immaculate record of four wins in as many matches.
Italy’s coach Pasquale D’Aniello said: “Tomorrow we will play the most important match in this tournament. It will be a big test for my team. This will be a special match, like a final. This match against a great rival, Spain, will help us to grow and further continue with our development.”
Spain also claimed their fourth victory in the competition coming back from one set down to edge Switzerland by 3:1 (24-26, 25-21, 25-14, 25-23). The teams fought bravely in what was a balanced start of the match; the hosts looked a bit nervous and Switzerland exploited this to claim a narrow margin and hold on to it to take the first set home. Spain needed to turn the tide and improved their performance thereby drawing level in the match at the end of the second set. The third set was by far the best one for the home heroines. Spain dominated the scene to claim set 3 by a landslide 25-14 and after that extended their supremacy also to the fourth set, leading there by 20:16. Switzerland reacted hoping to reach the tie-break but Spain got back on track to finish the match at 25-23.
Spain’s coach Fortunato Sánchez said: “The only positive thing today was the victory. Today we played bad, we were very nervous, and felt a lot of pressure. We couldn’t play as we had planned making many mistakes, something we did not have to deal with since the start of the tournament.”
Belgium beat their neighbours from the Netherlands in three sets (25-15, 25-22, 25-18) in a match where the young ‘Yellow Tigers’ showed much resilience to overcome the defeat they had suffered to Spain the day before. Belgium dominated the first period through their attacks and good defence. Belgium maintained a small lead also throughout the second set where the Dutch girls stepped up their efforts and improved their overall performance. The Netherlands tried to come back but too many mistakes in reception finished their options, thus facilitating the journey to victory for the Belgian team.
Belgium’s mentor Robin De Bont said: “We played just a little bit better than yesterday. Today we showed that we can do the work as we had planned. When we play our best, we can beat any opponent. Really, we made a good job today, had a very good game plan and the preparation for the match was good too. My team simply did an excellent job.”
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