National volleyball team gives up lead and loses to Switzerland

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Estonian women's national volleyball team playing against Switzerland. Source: CEV

The Estonian women's national volleyball team endured its second loss at the ongoing European Volleyball Championship qualification in Minsk on Tuesday, losing 3:2 to Switzerland.

After losing 3:0 to Belarus in the opening game of the qualifying tournament in Minsk, Estonia went up against the more beatable Switzerland. Estonia took a convincing opening set win at 25:18, but gave up momentum after the first set. Switzerland rattled off two consecutive games, 25:19 and 25:15, after which Estonia was able to equalize the match on sets 25:23. In the fifth and final set, Switzerland ended up taking a 16:14 victory, coming back from 13:8 down in the decider.

National team middle blocker Liis Kullerkann compared the match to a rollercoaster. "In the first game, we came on with such a boost, felt like everyone was ready and wanted it. In the second game, at times... I can't even say, perhaps we felt too much anxiety," she said.

"We had a good lead at the end and could not finish. That was the only issue. We reached the correct sport, but as Lorenzo (Micelli, national team coach - ed) said, we just could not finish the match," Kullerkann added.

Estonia is now last in the three-team group of Belarus and Switzerland. The two best teams of the group qualify for the final European championships tournament, but it is all but sure that one of the spots will go to the strong Belarus. Estonia has played two matches while the other two teams have not yet played each other. A Switzerland loss to Belarus on Wednesday would again open the door for Estonia to advance from the group.

Kullerkann said the national team must learn from its two losses. "We did not have any video of them before, now the difference is that we can look at our own match and [Belarus'] match against Switzerland. We can make corrections to our strategy. We are trying to win games any way. Hope is not gone yet."

Estonia will play Belarus on Thursday and Switzerland on Friday. Belarus and Switzerland will play on Wednesday and Saturday.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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