Euro League Rookies Ukraine, Finland Advance to Women’s Final

  0 Braden Keith | July 02nd, 2017 | European volleyball, International Volleyball, News

2017 European Volleyball League – Women’s

European Volleyball League debutants Finland and Ukraine have advanced to the final of the 2017 edition in their first ever European League appearances. The second-tier European tournament began in early June with pool play and advanced this weekend in a two-leg semi-finals.

The winners will now play a two-league final: once in Finland on July 5th and once in Ukraine on July 9th. The team with the highest aggregate score will be crowned the champion for the first time in event history.

Finland def. Slovakia 3-0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-21)

After a 3-2 win in the first leg, a young Finnish team upset Slovakia 3-0 to advance to next week’s final.

The time we have spent together as a team produced today’s result,” said Finland head coach Tapio Kangasniemi. “We have always focussed on that one single ball and rally, not about the previous or the next one. We are confident that the way we do our things will eventually work fine. I will not say that this is the best performance we can deliver, but today we were good enough to win this important game. Qualifying to the finals is a sweet feeling for each single player and for the whole team as well. We feel ready to take on Ukraine in the next stage of the competition.”

In the match, which was broadcast nationally in Finland, the Scandanavians used 7 aces (to just 2 for Slovakia), and 10 blocks (to just 3 for Slovakia) to handle their Slovakian opponents. In both of those areas, Finland showed significant improvements from their 3-2 win int he first leg.

That included 5 aces from Piia Korhonen and 4 blocks from Laura Philajamaki. Korhoren is the tournament’s leading scorer with 138 points in 26 sets (5.31/set) and second-leading server (14 aces).

Spain def. Ukraine 3-2 (22-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 15-5)

After a 3-1 win in leg 1, Ukraine needed only to take 2 sets to ensure their spot in the final. They took the first and 3rd sets, and once they had their spot sealed, they reached deep into their bench. That shift allowed Spain to ultimately win the match, but it was ultimately too late to save their season.

The two highest scorers in the match  both came from Spain – Jessica Rivero scored 18 (17 kills, 1 ace) and Maria Segura scored 19 (18 kills, 1 ace). Ukraine, meanwhile, had 4 players in double-figures, led by Nadia Kodola, who had 16 (13 kills, 3 aces) in just 3 sets of play. She was one of the team’s stars who found the bench to celebrate after the spot in the final was sealed.

“It was an honour to be here playing the European League semi-finals. We knew that Ukraine would be a very difficult opponent, but at times, we played at a great level. We just missed that little something to be able to earn the qualification to the final. We were just so close,” said Spanish captain Helia Gonzalez.

Also on Sunday, the Ukraine men won the European League gold in their first-ever appearance in the tournament as well.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Braden's first foray into sports journalism came in 2010, when he launched a swimming website called The Swimmers' Circle. Two years later, he joined as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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