Lausanne, Switzerland, April 29, 2017 – The Czech Republic reached the final of the 2017 CEV U19 Volleyball European Championship – Men on Saturday when they beat the previously undefeated Russia in Gyor, Hungary.
The Czech defeated Russia 3-2 (16-25, 25-22, 18-25, 25-23, 15-10) to set up a final on Sunday against Italy, who beat Turkey 3-2 (18-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-21, 15-9).
All four teams had already qualified for the FIVB Volleyball U19 Boy’s World Championship that will take place in Bahrain from August 18-27, along with France and defending U19 world champions Poland, who are set to contest the fifth and sixth places on Sunday.
Poland defeated Finland 3-1 (17-25, 27-25, 25-16, 25-21), while France beat Belgium 3-1 (21-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-23).
Russia started strongly and hit three serve aces on their way to winning the first set. The Czech’s reception and offence improved markedly to win the second set, but Russia setter Egor Krechetov and opposite Gleb Radchenko led Russia’s attack to good effect in the third set.
Czech captain Ondrej Piskacek led their comeback in the fourth and they maintained their form to dominate the tie-break, helped greatly by Marek Sotola, who led scoring with 25 points.
“This is a huge thing for us,” Czech captain Piskacek said. “Russia are a very strong team, but today we were a bit better. I am proud of my teammates - we played very well.”