Slovakia want to extend #EuroVolley success story
2017 CEV Volleyball European Championship - Men
Poprad, Slovakia, September 15, 2016. The eastern Slovakian city of Poprad will play the role of the country’s Volleyball capital for the next three days. All eyes will be on the Slovakian men’s national team that is hosting Israel, Latvia and Croatia for the first of two round robin tournaments on schedule for the second round of qualifications to the 2017 CEV Volleyball European Championship. Slovakia will try to secure their sixth consecutive appearance in the Final Round.
“We are ready and we are looking forward to the start of this qualification tournament. We will miss outside spiker Stefan Chrtiansky, because of injury, but all other players are ready to play,” said the coach of the Slovakian national team, Miroslav Palgut.
Slovakia played six matches during the preparation phase, three in The Netherlands and another three against Finland in Poprad. “We played better and better with each match and our form has a rising trend. I hope that we will show good Volleyball in Poprad and the fans will be satisfied with our performance. Every game is extremely important, because each team has only six matches to play over two tournaments. We will do everything to achieve the best possible result at home and we want to be in the best possible position before the second tournament in Croatia,” added Palgut who will serve as national team head coach for the first time in a European qualification. “It is true, it will be my first experience as a coach in this type of competition, but I know very well these situations from the times when I was assistant coach in the national team,” added Palgut.
Slovakia will start their campaign on Friday against Israel. On the next day they will play Latvia and finally Croatia. “We respect all teams and we know that it will be tough. Israel has an experienced spiker in Alexander Shafranovich, the Latvian team is led by opposite Hermans Egleskalns and Croatia has two very good players - Igor Omrcen and Marko Sedlacek - on their roster. We are the favourites on paper, but we have to remain focussed on every single match,” added the captain of the Slovakian national team, Emanuel Kohut (pictured). “Every player wants to win each match, so I will be satisfied with three wins and nine points after the first tournament,” added the experienced middle blocker.
The Slovakian men’s national team has participated eight times in the Final Round of the CEV Volleyball European Championship and is one of the most successful across all team sports in the country. They debuted in 1997, then qualified for the EuroVolley Finals in 2001, 2003 and five straight times from 2007 to 2015. Their best result came in 2011 when they finished fifth at the championship co-hosted by Austria and Czech Republic. “We want to extend this great series and advance to the Final Round for the sixth time in a row,” Palgut concluded.
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