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Foto: Jakob Birgersson

Sweden complete clean sweep to move on to second qualifying stage of #EuroVolleyU18W

30 OKT 2016 23:02
On Sunday the home starlets of Sweden completed a clean sweep of their matches on schedule for the first-round qualifier to the 2017 CEV U18 Volleyball European Championship – Women as they routed Georgia in three sets.
  • Uppdaterad: 30 OKT 2016 23:15

Sweden did not drop a set throughout the entire weekend and as a result emerged as the eventual winners of the single round robin tournament contested in Falköping to progress to the second stage of the qualification process scheduled for early January 2017 where they will be taking on the national teams of Slovenia, France and Turkey in Pool C.

Earlier in the afternoon, as the local fans impatiently waited for the third and last match to be contested by hosts Sweden at the #EuroVolleyU18W qualifier, Kosovo’s rising stars added another milestone to what has already been a historic weekend for the Volleyball family of the Balkan country. As they made this week at Frejahallen their first international appearance in this age group, Kosovo stormed to a 3-0 victory in their matchup with Iceland to finish their campaign on a 2-1 win-loss record.  

Sweden vs. Georgia 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-21) 

There was some drama for the home team and the local fans as well even before the much anticipated matchup with Georgia started as Swedish outside spiker Ulrika Blomgren suffered an injury during the warm-up. The injury was to keep the youngster out for the whole game.

However, her teammates managed to re-focus and performed well in the early stages of the match, scoring five straight points to take the lead at 5-0. After the slow start, Georgia woke up and replied by scoring six (!) straight points to turn the tables around. At that point, Robert Söderberg, coach of Sweden, decided to take a time-out. And it soon showed to be a smart move as the Swedish players got back into the drivers’ seat. The hosts stepped up their efforts and raced on towards an impressive 25-17 win in the first set.

The Georgians were off to a perfect start in the second set, grabbing a 4-0 lead, much thanks to great serving from their talented setter Ana Diasamidze. But Sweden was to turn things around. All of a sudden the Swedes had levelled the score and added another four straight points to take an 8-4 lead. The Swedish players took full advantage of their momentum and surged towards another set win by 25-17. By that time Sweden had secured a ticket to the second round of qualifications of the #EuroVolleyU18W as any chances for Georgia to finish first in the group had vanished. 

The third set, which eventually became the last, also ended up in Sweden’s favour. The hosts put on a show and delivered another stellar performance on the way to the team’s third victory in as many days and matches. After the game the Swedes celebrated this outstanding result together with the ever cheering home crowd in Frejahallen.

Robert Söderberg, head coach of Sweden: “We were off to a great start which was really important for us. We did well and played with great composure out there. During these weeks we have steadily grown as a group and developed into a team that is really hard to beat. We are looking forward to taking on Turkey, France and Slovenia in the next stage of the European Championship!” 

Kosovo vs. Iceland 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-22) 

Kosovo were fired up after Saturday’s heavy loss to hosts Sweden and determined to finish the weekend they spent in Falköping on a high note – which meant with a win against Iceland.

The Kosovars won the first point of the match and continued to keep a high pace all the way through to the end of the first set, slowly but surely claiming a comfortable lead. Iceland made an effort to close the gap but never came really close and Kosovo went on to deservedly win the first set 25-15.

Iceland improved the quality of their game in the second set and played their best Volleyball yet at this week’s #EuroVolleyU18W qualifier. Captained by hard-hitting outside spiker Matthildur Einarsdottir, the team rallied and put pressure on their opponents on the other side of the net. However, the Kosovars did a great job holding on to their early lead and got their spirits lifted by a big number of supporters who had come to Falköping to see the team play. With a strong finish Kosovo eventually cruised to a 25-22 set win.

However, Iceland were able to raise their head again. The Nordic team improved their performance and eventually took the lead (9-6) early in the third set. Kosovo responded by scoring three straight points to tie the game. Iceland’s determination brought them back to another four-point lead at 14-10, but Kosovo fought back once again and overtook the lead at 22-21. From then on the Kosovars were not to be challenged anymore as they cruised to a well-deserved 3-0 win to celebrate their second victory in three days.

Lorenzo Ciancio, head coach of Iceland: “It was a good tournament for us. We wanted to improve as the competition progressed and we succeeded in doing so. This was just what we needed - really good for our experience. Hopefully we can step up our level even more after this weekend.”

Valon Nikqi, assistant coach of Kosovo: “We were disappointed with our game against Sweden and were really motivated to do better against Iceland. This win was very important for this generation. I definitely think that these players will participate in [the Final Round of] a European Championship in future.” 

The game was live streamed and gathered approximately 70,000 (!) viewers in Kosovo.

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the matches!

Date: 28 – 30 october 2016
Venue: Frejahallen, Falköping
Host City: Falköping (SWE)
Airport: Gothenburg (Landvetter)
Distance from airport to venue: 118 km
Participating Teams: 4 women's teams: Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Sweden
More info: CEV official website!

Useful links

Schedule, Statistics, Livescore, News and Photos are available here!
Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1067322376696345/
Official website CEVhttp://www.cev.lu/Competition-Area/competition.aspx?ID=975&PID=1518 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/svenskvolleyboll/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SvVolleyboll
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/svevolleyboll
SVBF's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/svenskvolleyboll/?ref=bookmarks

Team Roster - Sweden

Evelina Granberg, IKSU
Filippa Brink, Engelholms VS
Catarina Cooper, KFUM Malmö Volley
Sofia Andersson, Norsjö VBK
Nike Fjätström, Engelholms VS
Tyra Areskoug, Lidingö SK
Ulrika Blomgren, Sollentuna VK
Hanna Hellvig, Lidingö SK
Tilde Thun, Engelholms VS
Wilma Calmfors, Värnamo VBA
Matilda Klarin Ekholm, Engelholms VS
Sandra Abrahamsson, IK Ymer

Coach: Robert Söderberg
Assisterande coach: Josefine Tivefälth
Scout: Theo Biström


Skribent: Herman Sewelén
E-post: Adressen Gömd
















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