Baku, May 31, AZERTAC
Azerbaijan complete the 16 teams that will participate in the Final Round of this year’s CEV Volleyball European Championship – Women following their golden set victory over Slovakia on Saturday. The hosts of Slovakia had stormed back from their straight-set loss from last week in Baku claiming the return match in Levice by 3:0 (26-24, 25-19, 25-18) but they ended up losing the golden set that followed by 6-15. Azerbaijan will start their European campaign on September 26 joining Pool B in Antwerp which also includes the national teams of Belgium, Turkey and Hungary.
The hosts of Slovakia started the match in a perfect way and supported by the home fans in Levice they cruised to a 22:18 lead in the opening set. Azerbaijan stormed back to level the score at 23 all but Slovakia eventually finished it off at 26-24. Slovakia set the pace of the game also in the second and third sets where they controlled the match from start to end as their opponents struggled to put on some real resistance to the hosts’ outstanding performance. As the local heroines swept set 2 and 3 by 25-19 and 25-18, a golden set was to be played to determine the team that would take the highly coveted ticket to the Final Round of the European Championship.
Azerbaijan’s players were off to a flying start there helped by their Slovak-born player Jana Matiasovska-Aghayeva who hit two aces in a row and made it 6:2 for the visitors. Azerbaijan eventually won the golden set by 15-6 and this way secured their qualification for the final round that will take place in the Netherlands and Belgium from September 26 through October 4.