Lithuanian coach picks Poland as the big favourites in Kaunas
2017 CEV U18 Volleyball European Championship - Women
Kaunas, Lithuania, January 11, 2017. Lithuania and more specifically the city of Kaunas will be playing host this weekend to one of eight qualification tournaments on schedule for the 2017 CEV U18 Volleyball European Championship – Women. The competition will be taking place at the legendary Kaunas Sports Hall (pictured) with Lithuania playing Poland, the Czech Republic and Estonia for a spot in the Final Round scheduled for early April and taking place in the Dutch city of Arnhem.
Poland are the clear favourites of the tournament, especially after they finished second at the EEVZA Championship in late 2016 and last weekend played two friendly matches against a strong German team.
Saulius Matikonis, Lithuania coach said: “The level of the Polish team is really high. We played them in an EEVZA tournament and had a very difficult match. Taking the Lithuanian clubs as a benchmark, I think their level is the same is that of KAUNAS-ASU, the current leaders of the Baltic women’s championship. They have many strong clubs that are very professionally organised back in their home country whereas we do not have any strong opponents in Lithuania.”
Lithuania finished in sixth place at the EEVZA tournament held in Poland: “Our game and results got better since December,” Matikonis added.
The Czech Republic were the runners-up in the last two editions of the MEVZA championship, and lost the final to Slovenia in late 2016. “We know very little about the Czech Republic, but this country has a long Volleyball history too,” Matikonis said.
As for Estonia, they play at the same level as Lithuania. At the end of 2016, Lithuania lost 1-3 to Estonia in a tournament held in Latvia but came out on top by 3-0 at the Baltic Cup.
Click here for more info including a detailed match programme