The quarterfinal match-ups at the women’s 2021 CEV Volleyball European Championship were set after three days of hard-fought battles in Plovdiv and Belgrade, where only one of the eight round-of-16 games was decided in straight sets. The Netherlands against Sweden, Turkey against Poland, France against Serbia and Italy against Russia are the fixtures that will decide the EuroVolley 2021 semifinalists.
Hard-fought battles shape up EuroVolley quarterfinals
Only one in eight matches decided in straight sets
Published 08:50, 31 Aug 2021
With Anne Buijs hammering out 28 points and Nika Daalderop adding another 22, the Netherlands produced a 3-1 (25-22, 23-25, 25-19, 25-23) win over Germany on Saturday to emerge as the first quarterfinalist of the tournament. On Tuesday in Plovdiv, the Dutch will take on Sweden, who delivered the biggest sensation of the eighthfinals by upsetting hosts Bulgaria in a tight five-setter. Isabelle Haak contributed 26 points to Sweden’s 3-2 (12-25, 25-21, 25-22, 14-25, 19-17) victory. The Swedish opposite continues to lead the EuroVolley scorers ranking on a total of 157 points, 28 clear of next best Tijana Boskovic of Serbia.
16 kill blocks helped Turkey overcome the resistance of Czechia on the way to a 3-1 (25-13, 22-25, 25-14, 25-14) win on Sunday. Three of those were authored by Hande Baladin, who led the match scorers on a total of 19 points, followed by Tugba Senoglu on 16. The 23-year-old outside also delivered three stuffs, but mostly impressed with her five aces. Tuesday’s second quarterfinal in Plovdiv will set Turkey against Poland, whose middle Zuzanna Efimienko-Mlotkowska produced nine kill blocks towards the match high of 17 points in the 3-1 (21-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-17) comeback victory over Ukraine.
Also on Sunday, but over in Belgrade, France edged past Croatia in a five-set battle, 3-2 (16-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-22, 15-12). Opposite Lucille Gicquel was the winners’ most prolific player with 25 points to her name. Tuesday’s quarterfinal programme in the Serbian capital will close with a game between France and the hosts, who achieved the only shutout of the eighthfinals. The defending European titleholders and reigning world champions mastered a 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-17) clean slate over Hungary, with 19 points from Tijana Boskovic.
The last battles for quarterfinal spots on Monday in Belgrade propelled Italy and Russia to the best eight of the tournament and set them against each other for advancement further into the semis. Paola Egonu hammered out 27 points towards Italy’s 3-1 (25-14, 23-25, 25-17, 25-12) win over Belgium. Rising Russian star, 17-year-old Arina Fedorovtseva, tallied five aces within her match-high 20 points to help her squad overcome Belarus’s resistance and claim a 3-1 (27-25, 25-20, 19-25, 25-23) victory. Fedorovtseva is by far the best server of EuroVolley so far. She has now piled up 33 aces, almost double the 17 aces on the record of next best Egonu.