2021 Women

Serbia and Italy advance to EuroVolley final

Story of the day

Article Fri, Sep 3 2021
Author: Nikolay Markov
Nikolay Markov

Serbia booked the first spot in Saturday’s gold medal match at the women’s CEV EuroVolley 2021 after a spectacular hard-fought 3-1 (32-34, 28-26, 25-23, 25-13) victory over Turkey. This will be the team’s third consecutive and fifth overall final in the history of the competition. In the last step towards what would be their third continental title in a row, the hosts at Belgrade’s Stark Arena will be challenged by Italy, for whom it will also be the fifth EuroVolley final. In Friday’s late semifinal, the Italians snatched a 3-1 (25-19, 25-17, 16-25, 25-18) win over the Netherlands.

Serbia’s Boskovic spikes over the block of Turkey’s Baladin and Gunes

About 7,300 fans waving numerous Serbian and Turkish flags on the stands at the Stark Arena cheered on as the teams of Turkey and hosts Serbia engaged in a fierce battle for every rally. The first set went deep into overtime. Tijana Boskovic’s 15 (!) points did not suffice to win the set, as her counterpart Ebrar Karakurt finally closed it off at 34-32 Turkey’s way. A hard-fought set two also went into overtime until a kill block by Milena Rasic presented Serbia the winner for 28-26.

The third set was finished at the 25th point on a successful hit by Serbia’s Katarina Lazovic, but again by the narrowest of margins, 25-23. To heat the atmosphere on the court even further, Turkey’s coach Giovanni Guidetti received a red card. Set four was a different story. Stepping up the blocking efforts, especially towards the end of the set, the home side had total control on the court to cruise to a 25-13 win and a 3-1 victory.

Boskovic was the true hero of the day for Serbia, tallying a fantastic 39-point match high towards the important victory. On the other side of the net, Karakurt delivered “only” 23 points.

“It’s an incredible feeling to play third EuroVolley final in a row! I am really proud of everything we did so far. Today’s game was crazy. In the first and the second sets, we were fighting for every point. Team Turkey was a great opponent, but I am happy about how we did not give up after they won the first set, and how we finished this game.”

Tijana Boskovic
Opposite of Serbia
Netherlands’ Bongaerts and Italy’s Chirichella in a duel over the net

After 10-10 in the first set of the second semifinal, the Italians broke away with a five-point run and never looked back until Paola Egonu spiked the set winner for 25-19. Coach Davide Mazzanti’s players stepped up their blocking efforts to stay in control throughout the second set and double their lead after a 25-17 win. But it was too soon for the Dutch to give up. In set three, they produced a 25-16 blowout to stay alive in the match. Not for much longer… In the next set, the southern Europeans regained control and cruised to a 25-18 close, shaped up by Elena Pietrini’s hit for the winning point.

Egonu lived up to the expectations and once again topped the scorers’ chart of the match, producing 24 points towards Italy’s semifinal success.

“We played a good match in side-out. We got in trouble only in the third set, but we improved our break point in the fourth set, we pushed a lot in serving… I am very happy for our side-out. It went very well all match. I think tomorrow’s match will be a great challenge at a great stadium and I can’t wait to play…”

Davide Mazzanti
Head coach of Italy