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Slovenia rallies to beat Turkey

slovenia-topVienna, Austria, September 12, 2011. Slovenia nearly gave away a 2-0 lead against Turkey on Monday in Vienna’s Stadthalle, but rallied in the fifth set to secure the second spot in group A. Still the Turkish team, that also moves up to the play off stage, has made a lot of new fans with it’s mental toughness ans aspiring play.

Like in their previous two games the Slovenians proved that they were tactically well prepared. By consequently picking out the weakest Turkish receivers and with good percentages in reception they pulled away early and never looked back, winning the first set 25-18.

The Turks improved in the second set especially in reception, but still came up short 23-25. A big factor in the Slovenian game was again Alen Sket who at this point had already scored 13 points, many of them in vital moments.

The course of the game took an unexpected turn when Turkey jumped to a 16-9-lead in the third set. Propelled by Batur and Dünge the attack worked almost perfectly, while Slovenian team seemed to have lost it’s confidence.

That continued in the fourth set as Batur and Co. overcame a tight initial phase to take a 16-9-lead again at the second technical time out. With terrific defensive plays the Turks frustrated the Slovenians and forced a decisive fifth set.

With the second place in  group A at stake the Slovenians returned to their impressive form of the first two sets. Alen Sket recorded another six points to finish with 25 to lead all scorers. For Turkey Coskun had 29 while Batur added 18.

“We started well, but we lost our concentration from the second set. In attack we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities and made the wrong decisions. We came back in the fifth and made the big points. I think we are good enough, to win another game here”, said Slovenian star Tine Urnaut.

“Our goal was to reach the second spot in group A and we achieved that. We performed well in all games, except for the first set against Serbia. No matter who we play next we will have to improve again”, added Slovenian head coach Veselin Vukovic

Even though his team came up short, Turkishhead coach Veljko Basic saw a lot of positives in the game. „I know the Slovenian team very well, but they played very well in the first two sets with their good service and without many mistakes. We started to come to our own in the second set, serving better and also our block defense started to work. Even if when we fell behind 0-2 we didn’t lose our composure. In the fifth set both teams were really tired and my team started very badly so victory was out of reach for us. We are still progressing and that’s the most important thing for me.“