2018 FIVB World Championship – Women’s European Qualifier
- May 23 to June 4
Germany moved to 4-0 in Pool F with a sweep of Finland, while Slovenia sits in second place at 3-1 after a sweep of Portugal. Estonia leveled its record at 2-2 with a five-set thriller against France.
Germany 3, Finland 0
Despite the close scores in the first two sets, Germany was in control for much of the 25-23, 25-23, 25-14 win over Finland.
The Germans led 21-16 in Set 1 and 21-17 in Set 2, but survived late surges from the Finnish side. Despite falling behind 8-6 in Set 3, there was little doubt in Set 3 as Germany turned it around to go up 16-9 and cruise to the 25-14 win.
“We started off quite badly because we had problems to deal with their service,” Germany’s Louisa Lippmann said. “Nevertheless, in the third set we showed what we are capable of and we got closer to our real level. When we play as a team, our chances to win increase significantly.”
Lippmann scored a match-best 17 points, including 16 kills, while Jennifer Geerties put up 14 points, with 10 kills, two blocks and two aces. Marie Schoelzel (12) and Jennifer Pettke (10) also put up double-digit point totals.
Piia Korhonen managed 14 points for Finland, with 11 kills and a match-high three aces.
Slovenia 3, Portugal 0
It was a near start-to-finish win for Slovenia as the team trailed just briefly in each stanza of the 25-18, 25-19, 25-22 win.
Slovenia managed eight blocks and seven aces and hit at a 46 percent clip in the victory. Portugal also aided the Slovenian cause with 23 errors.
“We did it,” Slovenian coach Alessandro Chiappini said. “We have virtually made it to the third round, which has been our goal since we lost badly to Germany earlier this week in a match where unfortunately we couldn’t reach our best level. I am very pleased because after losing to Germany, we have played three almost perfect matches. It wasn’t easy, since we have been playing under a lot of pressure following that first match. There are some things we can improve, but I could not ask more from these players, who have been working really hard and giving their best for the past four weeks.”
Iza Mlakar paced Slovenia with 16 points, including 13 kills and two blocks. Sasa Planinsec and Tina Grudina each added nine points.
Marta Hurst scored a match-high 17 points, with 16 kills, while Julia Kavalenka chipped in 15 points, with 11 kills and four aces.
Estonia 3, France 2
In a match decided by just two points (103-101), France won the blocking battle 10-8 and served up nine aces to Estonia’s five, but Estonia came through with a 47 percent hitting effort and rallied from down four in the final set to claim the 16-14 victory and the match.
The team which led at the midway point of each set won the stanza, with the exception of the finale. France led 16-15 in Set 1 and carried on to the 25-22 win. Estonia boasted a 16-13 edge in Set 2 en route to victory. A 16-12 lead set up the French in Set 3, while a 16-5 edge gave Estonia the upper hand in Set 4.
Kertu Laak led all scorers with 19 points for Estonia, including 16 kills. Nette Peit added 15 points, with 12 kills and two aces, and Raili Kont-Kontson followed with 10 points.
Odette Ndoye and Marie-France Garreau Dje each tallied 14 points to lead the French effort. Garreau Dje put up seven of France’s 10 blocks. Juliette Fidon (13) and Christina Bauer (11) also scored in double-digits.
“It will be a difficult match tomorrow that will thrill the home crowd that will be supporting Portugal,” Estonia’s Andrei Ojamets said. “We don’t have many solutions on the bench and we use almost always the same seven players, but Portugal hasn’t had an easy tournament, with 13 sets played in only 4 days so we will try to defend third place”.