Serbia played a very hard match to qualify for the semifinal of the 2019 CEV European Volleyball Championship.
Not many expected such resistance of Ukraine to unbeaten Serbia but the heavy favorites struggled a lot in the match that was held in Antwerp – Belgium in order to secure a place in the semifinals: 3-2 (21:25, 25:23, 25:22, 19:25, 15:9).
Prior to the match, Serbia lost only one set in all six matches so far, but Ukraine, who claimed a ticket to the eliminations as the third-placed team in Pool D with a 3-2 score, were ready to play another five-setter, (beat Belgium in the 1/8 finals by a 3.2). And, so it was.
Serbia underperformed in reception in the first, for most of the second set, and even in the fourth. After taking a 1-0 lead in sets, Ukraine were four points ahead in the second set (21:17) when Serbia, led by a hard serves of Aleksandar Atanasijević, made a 5-0 run and later tied later at 1-1. However, in the tie-break, the experience of Serbia emerged, while Ukraine had to settle for making a historical success of qualifying to the eight, finals and then of getting through to quarterfinals.
Atanasijević scored 24 points for Serbia while Ian Iereshchenko scored 18 points for Ukraine, including 4 aces. Oleh Plotnytskyi made 76% reception (25 digs, 56% excellent).
Srecko Lisinac – Middle blocker of Serbia:
“As we expected after the game against Belgium, Ukraine was a very tough opponent. They started the game with really powerful serves and lot of variations from the setter. We managed to come back in set two and took over the game. We reached our best level in set five and that was decisive to take the win and move to Paris.”
Ugis Krastins – Coach of Ukraine:
“I am very proud of my team. In seven games, we played six on a high level. We are sad we lost the quarterfinal. After not being at a European Championship for a long time, this is a very big step for Ukrainian Volleyball. We missed the semis by only a few points. But I am sure we showed Europe our fighting spirit on the court.”
2019 CEV European Volleyball Championship – quarter-finals:
Source: CEV. Photo: randomvolley