Greece put up good fight against powerful Italian side
EUROVOLLEY - POOL A (MATCHDAY 2)
Greece were handed their second loss in as many games at the CEV EuroVolley Championships, falling to Italy 3-1 set.
After falling to Bulgaria in game one of CEV EuroVolley group play, Greece matchup against a very difficult Italian side in matchday two. The Italians were the clear favorites heading into the encounter and were coming off of a dominating 3-0 set win over Portugal in their Pool A opener.
Greece got off to an ideal start and never fell behind in the first set. The Greeks took an early 12-6 lead with the Italians only coming within three points at 17-14. Greece were in control and quickly regained a comfortable lead at 20-15, which increased to 23-17. With two fantastic aces from Theodoros Voulkidis, Greece won the first set with an emphatic 25-17 scoreline.
The Italians bounced back in the second set and managed to go ahead early on from 6-9, to 9-14. Italy held their five-point advantage at 17-22 before Greece recorded three consecutive points to pull back within two (20-22). With the score at 21-23, Rafail Koumentakis’ back-to-back aces brought Greece level at 23-23. Unfortunately for the Greeks, the overpowering Italians put an end to the Greek comeback and leveled the match at 1-1 by winning the set 23-25.
The third set was well-balanced early on as the two nations were level at 11-11. A string of four consecutive points for Italy put them ahead at 11-15 and from that point on, they never looked back. The Italians held on to comfortably win the set 19-25 and take a 2-1 lead.
It was a similar story in the fourth and final set as the two teams were even early on before the Italians gained a comfortable advantage at 6-14. Greece fought back to cut the deficit to four, 11-15, however, Italy powered back to take a 17-22 lead and eventually won the set 18-25 and the match 3-1.
Despite the loss, Greece are still very much alive in the competition, as the top four (out of six) teams in each group will advance to the knockout phase. Greece return to action tomorrow against another volleyball powerhouse, France. The French, who won the competition in 2015, got off to a perfect start, sweeping Romania 3-0 on day one. In the group’s other match on Friday, Bulgaria easily defeated Romania 3-0.
Greece’s key matchups will be against Romania and Portugal, two opponents that will fight with Greece for the fourth and final spot to the knockout stages, assuming Italy, Bulgaria, and France finish in Group A’s top-three.
GROUP A STANDINGS:
1. Italy - 6 points
2. Bulgaria - 6 points
3. France - 3 points (from one match)
4. GREECE - 0 points
5. Romania - 0 points
6. Portugal - 0 points (from one match)
*Match won 3–0 or 3–1: 3 points for the winner, 0 points for the loser
*Match won 3–2: 2 points for the winner, 1 point for the loser