Slovenia leads the way going into the Semifinals at the U19 and U20 Middle European Championships

Draš Center in Maribor, Slovenia is currently hosting the U19 (born ’04 or later) Women’s and U20 (born ’03 or later) Men’s Middle European Championships. Ten teams from four countries are competing for the title and after the first day and a half of competition the semifinal pairings are now known.

In both competitions the semifinal pairs are the same. At 16:30 today Slovenia will play against Hungary and at 18:30 Austria and Croatia will face each other. Bronze medal matches will be tomorrow at 8:30am, while the finals are scheduled for 10:30am. All matches can be seen through the host club’s Nova KBM Branik YouTube channel.

Day 1 results from the women’s U19 championships.

Slovenia U19 Women are entering the semifinal as the #1 seed, after going undefeated in the pool play. With a 3-0 wins against Austria and Hungary and 2-1 against the second, younger Slovenian team (U17, born ’06 or later) and Croatia, the defending Champions remain the only undefeated team entering the semifinals. Their opponent will be Hungary, who will look to surprise the tournament favourites in what will be a back-to-back game for Hungary, as just before they are playing the younger Slovenians in the last, however non-decisive pool play match.

The second semifinal between Croatia and Austria will be the rematch of today’s earlier game, when Croatia was able to win in straight sets.

Day 1 results from the men’s U20 championships.

On the men’s side it is also Slovenia’s U20 team that enters the semifinal as the #1 seed, despite having dropped a match against their younger countrymen, also the reigning U18 European Champions (born ’05 or later) in a nail-biting finish of the decisive third set with 34-22. Slovenia’s U20 could not count on two of their starters, the outside hitter Rok Bracko and middle blocker Janez Janz Krzic, who had to sit the game out due to club responsibilities with OK Merkur Maribor, the current second placed team of the MEVZA League and Slovenian National Championships. Earlier today Slovenia already beat their semifinal opponents Hungary with an impressive 3-0, however Hungary is looking to use their second chance against Slovenia.

Also the second semifinal between Croatia and Austria will be the second time these two teams encounter each other today. A tight match that Croatia was able to decide in their favour with a 2-1 win promises an entertaining semifinal. Despite having committed nine more serving errors (14-5) than Austria, Croatia also out-blocked their opponents with 15 kill-blocks to 5.

Schedule and Results:
Women’s U19
Men’s U20