Russia will play Italy and Poland will take on Slovenia in the semis of #EuroVolleyU17M coming up this Saturday in Tirana, Albania.
Russia were the sole team to finish pool play with an impeccable record of five wins in as many matches. They completed a clean sweep of their games with a shutout of hosts Albania in 56 minutes only, with the home team scoring 31 points across three sets. Gleb Stefanovich and Vasily Kapranov added another 18 and 13 points to their personal tally in the tournament.
Slovenia looked obviously fatigued following Wednesday’s 2-3 loss at the hands of Russia and they ended up losing 1-3 to #EuroVolleyU17M rookies Latvia. Despite this setback, Slovenia finished second in the pool to progress to the semis. Kristians Fokerots delivered another impressive performance for the Latvians, putting 28 points to his name in a winning effort that sends Latvia to the classification matches 5-8. This is where Belgium will feature as well, following their 3-0 victory over Turkey, powered by the 26 points scored by Eliot De Vleeschhauwer.
In Pool II, as many as four teams were still in contention for a spot in the semis. Italy and Poland eventually claimed those tickets – also courtesy of the setback (0-3) suffered by the real sensation of the tournament, Team Austria, in the early match with the Czech Republic. Italy beat Serbia 3-1 with Lorenzo Magliano scoring 26 times before Poland sealed their fourth win and first place in the pool after dispatching Bulgaria 3-0. The young Lions and Serbia will contest the matches 5-8, with Austria agonisingly finishing in sixth place in the pool, despite their sensational victories over Serbia and Italy.
The competition in Tirana will resume on Saturday after a rest day – as Europe’s rising Volleyball stars continue to battle for the first major accolade in their still young careers.