CEV U17 European Championships
- Konya, Turkey
- July 10, 2017
Semifinal 1: Belgium def. Bulgaria 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-18)
Semifinal 2: Italy def. Turkey 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-21)
Belgium and Italy will meet with the U17 European Championship on the line on Tuesday after each won via sweep in Monday’s semifinals.
For Belgium, the win was a nice way to bounce back after dropping its final pool play match. Italy saddened the Turkish home crowd of more than 2,100, stealing away a Set 2 victory in a sweep riddled with miscues.
The championship match is a rematch of Saturday’s Pool II finale, which Italy won via sweep (25-17, 25-22, 25-16)
Belgium 3, Bulgaria 0
Belgium trailed 3-1 early in Set 1, but turned it into a six point lead en route to a 25-22 win. Set 2 was a back and forth affair, with Bulgaria boasting a 16-14 advantage midway through, only to see Belgium rally for the 25-21 victory. Belgium led by as many as seven in the final set of the sweep.
“I’m very satisfied but our scout did well and Bulgaria could not play their attacking game,” Belgian coach Wim De Boeck said. “The team did what I asked and now we have a great chance. The gameplan was perfect and the players executed it. There are moments these players open up as you can see when they celebrate but there are moments when they focus and that’s important.”
Belgium registered a 43 percent kills percentage, while holding Bulgaria to a 34 percent effort. The Belgians also won the block (9-6) and from the service line (3-2).
Joost Peeters led all scorers with a match-high 17 points for Belgium, including 14 kills and three blocks. Lennert Van Elsen added 11 points, with 10 kills and a block. Romain Vanhelmont chipped in nine points with four kills, three blocks and a team-best two aces, while Seppe Rotty managed nine points, including eight kills.
Samuil Valchinov and Petar Petrov paced Bulgaria with 11 points apiece. Valchinov downed 11 kills, while Petrov added seven kills, three blocks and an ace.
Italy 3, Turkey 0
Turkey managed 44 kills, including a 43 percent efficiency, but could not overcome 27 errors and a strong Italian serve in the match. Italy posted just 31 kills, but committed just 10 errors, while outdoing its foes 7-5 on the block and 10-3 in aces.
Italy blazed through Set 1, came back from a late three-point deficit in Set 2 and lead from start to finish in the final stanza of the sweep.
“Before the tournament there was no way I thought we could win as we had so little time to prepare,” Italian coach Bruno Morganti said. “My team had a lot of ability but we were handicapped slightly because we didn’t have the time to prepare. It was ready, set, go but I knew we had the potential to progress as the tournament went on and I’m delighted we’re in the final. Belgium has an excellent setter and they move the ball very quickly. It will be important for us to serve well and try and keep the setter as far away from the net as possible. We will try to stop them moving the ball quickly. Our celebrations are done for tonight but we’re already thinking about tomorrow’s final. The lads are calm. The final is essential and they know that the match is going to be decisive.”
Piervito Disabato recorded a match-high 14 points, with 12 kills and two aces, to lead Italy. Alessandro Gianotti added 13 points, with seven kills, four blocks and two aces. Leonardo Ferrato chipped in a team-best three aces.
A trio of Turkish players posted double-digit point tallies, led by Kaan Gurbuz’s 13-point effort. Gurbuz managed 12 kills and a block, while Ahmet Tumer (12) and Mirza Lagumdzija (10) followed. Tumer put down 10 kills, while Lagumdzija added nine.