Russia went undefeated at the 2016 Women’s Volleyball European Qualification Tournament. The eight team tournament was split into two pools of four where the top two advance to the semi-finals. The winner of the tournament qualified to the Olympics. The Women’s Volleyball European Qualification Tournament was held in Ankara, Turkey from January 4th to January 9th 2015.
Pool A began with a close match between Netherlands and Germany. Both nations traded wins forcing a fifth deciding set. The two nations would essentially trade points until the second half where Germany pulled away to win the set 15-11 and the match 3-2. In another match, Germany and Turkey went even as they traded the first two sets before Turkey went on to take over the match by easily winning the next two sets to win the match 3-1. It looked likely that Turkey and Germany would advance from the group, however a very strong performance by the Netherlands against Turkey saw them sweep the match to a 3-0 victory which gave the Netherlands the most points to finish top of the pool due to the one point it won in its 3-2 loss against Germany. That match also left Germany eliminated.
Pool B began with Poland taking a 2-0 lead over Russia. However, two set wins from Russia forced a fifth set in which Russia would go on to win 15-10. Russia would go on to win the group with 3-1 and 3-0 wins over Italy and Belgium respectively. Poland would ultimately finish winless as they lost 3-1 to Belgium and while they came back 2-0 down to tie Italy they were unable to win the fifth set. The match between Belgium and Italy was very close and forced a fifth and deciding set. Even in the fifth set the match extended past 15 points. Italy would grab the second win and advance out of the pool by a score of 17-15.
The first semi-final between the Netherlands and Italy was close but the Netherlands almost always held an advantage over Italy as they went on to sweep the match 3-0. In the other match Turkey was able to win the first set 25-21 over Russia, but Russia would take over the match to easily win the next three sets and advanced to the finals with a score of 3-1.
Russia and the Netherlands would split the first two sets of the final before Russia would go to win the next two sets to win the tournament and a spot at the Olympics 3-1. Italy finished in third after they won in a five set thriller.
This will be the Russian women’s volleyball team’s sixth Olympics as an independent nation and 13th overall, missing only the boycotted 1984 Olympics. They will be looking to win their first medal since 2004. Netherlands and Italy will get one more chance to qualify to the Olympics as they have now qualified to the World Qualification Tournament to be held later this year.
- CEV. 2016 European Olympic Qualification – Women Results. Access on January 10 2016.