At the U18 Men’s MEVZA Tournament, it is already known which teams will advance to the semi-finals before the last pool games. These match will now only decide the final classifications within each group.
The tournament in Maribor is not only the Middle European Championships, like the U20 one right after Christmas, this time it is also the qualification for the U18 European Championship. And only the first place qualifies. Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Israel will compete for it, but after two defeats today, there will be no Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia in the elimination battles.
There are only three teams in Group A, the best will be given with today’s game between Austria and Slovenia. The first convincingly defeated Hungary in the morning match yesterday. Even though Austria lost the second set, mainly due to poor serve-reception, they did not allow a surprise. In the other two sets, they outplayed their eastern neighbors in all volleyball elements. Mihael Czerwinski stood out not only within his own team, the national team of Austria, but was also the best player on the floor, scoring 20 points, six of them in counter-attacks. Hungary lost for second time in the evening game against Slovenia, where they lost in straight sets. Slovenia’s Rok Bracko displayed his talent in this match, scoring 20 points, half coming from “break-point” situations. “It is important that we won the first match. Of course, we don’t want to stop with just one win, our goal is to qualify for the European Championships, “Bracko said after the end of the match.
After his boys collected two wins, the Czech national team coach Jan Svoboda said: “We have already reached the semifinals with these two victories, but we also want to end as first in the group, which requires us to win also against Israel. We definitely want to win the tournament, which would qualify us for the European Championship. ” The Czech Republic was relentless against Croatia in Group B’s first game. Croatia’s players scored the most points in the second set, and that only 16. The Czechs were likely to sweep the Slovaks as well, especially after first set when Slovakia managed to collect only ten points. They resisted better in the second and even won the third set. However, with good service pressure in the fourth, the Czechs completely took over again, allowing them only eleven points. Thus, on the second day of the tournament, they will face Israel, who beat Slovakia as well as Croatia with 3-1. Israel’s top scorer against Slovakia was Alon Haas with 18 points and in the first game against Croatia Boaz Serson with 19 points.
Photo Credit: Draš Center