Russia was able to outlast Italy 3-2, (18-25, 25-16, 26-24, 21-25, 15-10) to defend their European Girls’ U18 title for their third overall gold in the history of the competition.
Italy came out strong in the match to take the early 1-0 lead, but Russia spouted back with a 25-16 second set win to tie the match at 1-1. Italy had the chance to go up 2-1 in the match, coming back from 15-21 down to lead 22-21 late. Russia put a stop to their seven point run to take the set in extra points 26-24.
The fourth set got away from the Russians, to force the match into a fifth and deciding set. In the fifth, the Russians were able to hold onto a lead throughout the set to take down the Italians 15-10.
To lead Russia, Valeriya Shevchuk scored 15 points while Tatiana Kodochkina added 13 and Viktoriya Pushina and Olga Zvereva put down another 11 points each for the team. A young Italian led all scorers with 26 points in 16-year-old Terry Ruth Enweonwu.
Italy committed double the unforced errors as Russia did with 34 to 17, with Russia completing a flawless fifth set.
Belarus was able to snatch the bronze medal away from Serbia in a five set match 3-2, (17-25, 29-27, 25-17, 22-25, 15-13). Carrying Belarus to their third place finish were Hanna Hryshkevich with 24 points and Vera Kastsiuchyk with 21 – helping the team to their first podium appearance in 16 years.
The top six teams qualified for the 2017 FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship in Rosario and Santa Fe, Argentina from August 18-27.
Already qualified for the event are:
- Asia: Japan, China, Thailand
- South America: Argentina (hosts), Brazil, Peru, Colombia
- NORCECA: Dominican Republic, USA, Cuba, Mexico
The final rankings of the European Girls’ U18 tournament are:
- The Netherlands
MVP: Terry Ruth Enweonwu (ITA)
Setter: Rachele Morello (ITA)
Opposite: Terry Ruth Enweonwu (ITA)
Outside hitters: Elena Pietrini (ITA) & Valeriya Shevchuk (RUS)
Middle blockers: Viktoriya Pushina (RUS) & Yuliya Kisliuk (BLR)
Libero: Mila Kocic (SRB)