Illustration photo – Match of the 3rd round of Group B of the European Women's Volleyball League: Czech Republic – Romania, June 3, 2023, Ostrava. From left, Michaela Mlejnková from the Czech Republic, Magdalena Bukovská from the Czech Republic, Kateřina Pelikánová from the Czech Republic, Elen Jedličková from the Czech Republic and Monika Brancuská from the Czech Republic.
Nitra – The Czech women's volleyball players have advanced to the semifinals of the European Gold League, where they are defending their silver medal. They secured first place in Group B with a 3-0 straight sets win in Slovakia. It was their third win in four matches. They have nine points in the three-member group, the Slovaks and Romanians are on three before the final mutual match.
Coach Jannis Athanasopulos had to do without the injured first setter Kateřina Valková. Only eighteen-year-old Kateřina Pelikánová joined the starting line-up. In the first set, the home team in Nitra searched in vain for a rhythm. The Czechs attacked and blocked excellently, when Magdaléna Jehlářová served, they jumped to 16:5. After an overwhelming start, they conceded easily, but still won the set with a ten-point difference of 25:15.
Also in the second set of the federal derby, the Slovaks helped their opponents with their own hesitations. The visiting players jumped to 11:5, and even though the domestic volleyball players gradually improved in defense, the Czech team won with a score of 25:20.
The third set was the most dramatic. Slovakian all-rounder Karin Šunderlíková, who is returning from injury, played gradually. On the contrary, the Czech attack faltered and the Slovaks led by three points roughly halfway through the set. Then the Greek coach of the Czech national team sent Květa Grabovská on the pitch, who calmed down the game and helped to turn things around. With her serve, the Czech Republic jumped to a four-point difference in the end and eventually won 25:19. The match was symbolically ended by a block to the head of Šunderlík.
The block was a very strong activity of the Czech team, whose members recorded 18 point blocks. Due to this, the most productive player was the unusually blocker Jehlářová, who scored 13 points. “Today's match was much harder than it looks. The result is 3:0, but we worked hard for it. We are very happy that we managed it with three points and in three sets,” said Jehlářová in a recording for the media.< /p>
Coach Athanasopulos appreciated that even the young Czech team was able to win. “In the third set, the Slovaks pushed us, but at the end we were very concentrated and very aggressive. I think we won deservedly,” he noted.
Unlike the men's European Gold League, there is no Final Four. The semi-finals are scheduled to take place on June 24. The women's national team will now have a few days off and will meet again on Sunday.
European Women's Volleyball League in Nitra:
Slovakia – Czech Republic 0:3 ( -15, -20, -19)
Referee: Jovčev (Bulgaria), Tiršel (SR). Time: 82 min. Spectators: 600.
Composition and points Czech Republic: Mlejnková 9, Koulisiani 9, Orvošová 10, Bukovská 11, Jehlářová 13, Pelikánová 2, libero Digrinová – Brancuská 1, Grabovská, Kalhousová. Coach: Athanasopulos.
Most points for Slovakia: Šepeľová 11, K. Fričová and Šunderlíková 6 each.