Estonian women ready to cause sensation, men vie for fourth Final Round appearance
2017 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men & Women
Tallinn, Estonia, September 15, 2016. It was eight years ago when the Estonian women’s national team last competed in the second round of qualifications to the CEV Volleyball European Championship. Now after winning a nail-biting 2017 EuroVolley first-round qualifier where in the last match they defeated Sweden by 3-2 (16-25, 17-25, 25-16, 25-17, 18-16) in front of their home crowd, the Estonians are back and ready to surprise everyone. In the second round they will play against Poland, Hungary and Finland.
“Already the qualification to the second round was a big achievement for us, so I am not giving out any big promises but it is true that all of us have secret dreams. Every set or game we manage to win will be a big bonus for us,” said Estonia coach Marko Mett.
Comparing to earlier this year, there will be some changes in the roster. The experienced Mari-Liis Graumann and injured Polina Bratuhhina-Pitou will not be playing this time. Also defending French champion with SAINT-RAPHAËL Var VB, Anna Kajalina – who is 205cm tall – is not with the team for the tournaments coming up in Hungary and Poland.
“Yes, the team is not as experienced as it was in May but I am certain that the younger members of the national team will do just as fine,” Mett commented. The first match will be against Hungary on Friday evening.
If the women’s national team is going for a sensation, the men are vying for their fourth trip to the Final Round of the CEV Volleyball European Championship. The gold medallists from this year’s CEV Volleyball European League have spent the last month preparing in Lubin, Poland.
“We are definitely ready. Six games in a relatively short time, a lot of travelling – it will be tough but we have done it before. We know our opponents and our goal is clear: to get to the Final Round to be held in Poland next year,” team captain Kert Toobal said.
Estonia’s men start their campaign on Thursday already playing the Czech Republic, before matches with Romania and the Former Y.R. of Macedonia follow on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Estonia women’s national team roster
Setters: Kaisa Bahmatsev, Julija Mõnnakmäe
Libero: Kristi Nõlvak
Middle Blockers: Eliise Hollas, Liis Kullerkann, Eliisa Peit
Outside Hitters: Anu Ennok, Nette Peit, Kaisa Õunpuu
Opposites: Kertu Laak, Kristiine Miilen
Estonia men’s national team roster
Setters: Andres Toobal, Kert Toobal
Liberos: Denis Losnikov, Rait Rikberg
Middle Blockers: Andri Aganits, Ardo Kreek, Henri Treial, Timo Tammemaa
Outside Hitters: Karli Allik, Keith Pupart, Rauno Tamme, Robert Täht
Opposites: Renee Teppan, Oliver Venno