Luxembourg, May 27, 2018. Ukraine secured their first victory in the 2018 CEV Golden Volleyball European League, after defeating Portugal in straight sets. After a balanced first set, Ukraine held the momentum to win the opening act and controlled the rest of the match in Povoa de Varzim. Ukraine remain third in Pool A with three points, while Portugal are yet to secure any points in this edition of #EuroLeagueW.
Portugal vs. Ukraine 0-3 (22-25, 14-25, 13-25)
- Ukraine won their first match in this year’s European League.
- The match started with both teams showing some anxiety, with Ukraine balancing some failed spikes and services with ace serves. Portugal knew how to respond and tried to put to work their block (20-20), but was unable to sustain the better game of the Ukrainian team, who ultimately won the set 25-22.
- Julia Kavalenka (POR) and Nadiia Kodola (UKR) who were top scorers in the match (16 and 17 points respectively) began to dominate the scene. In the second set, Ukraine didn’t have many difficulties in unsettling the Portuguese team, creating a comfortable advantage on the scoreboard. Four services from Anna Stepaniuk sealed the set win at 25-14.
- Ukraine kept control of the game at the net and the better efficacy of their service was enough to close the third set in their favour too (25-13) and consequently win their first match in the 2018 European League.
Manuel Almeida, coach of Portugal: “We wanted to play a balanced and even match, but in the end of the first set we made a series of errors in attack. Afterwards Ukraine grew and we lacked some of the capacity in what regards to our service. It’s complicated to face great teams of the European volleyball scene, but we are trying to gain consistency and competitive rhythm and the Golden European League and the Mediterranean Games have to serve as a preparation for our main goal, which is the qualification for the 2019 European Championship.”
Nadiia Kodola, captain of Ukraine: “We knew that this wasn’t going to be easy since we have come from two defeats and we were obliged to win. We are very pleased to conquer a win that we have chased since the beginning and thus we can continue to believe in the qualification for the Final Four.”