Italy and Spain stand at the top of the charts at the WEVZA U16 Girls’ Championship following completion of the second day of competition. The Italians and the hosts from Spain boast a perfect record and on Thursday confirmed their intention to shine in the inaugural edition of the tournament. The programme started with the first victory for Belgium over the team of Portugal. At the same time, Italy achieved their second win in the competition edging Switzerland by 3:1 and hosts Spain closed the day with a convincing victory over the Netherlands (3:1).

Italy claimed their second victory at the WEVZA U16 Championship beating Switzerland by 3:1 (25-13, 25-15, 17-25, 25-17). The girls trained by Pasquale D’Aniello were always a few steps ahead in the first set. The Swiss players wanted to come back but Italy was simply the better side. In the second set, Italy caught another good start and led by four-five points during the entire set. Switzerland improved their performance and put their opponents under pressure eventually claiming set 3. Once the game resumed the Azzurrine reduced their number of mistakes and with good spikes and a solid overall performance they claimed their second triumph at the tournament being held in Valladolid.

“We played very well in the first set. We had prepared the match very carefully and the team stuck to the game plan we had agreed upon. However, after winning the first and second sets we relaxed a bit too much as we lowered the intensity of our play whilst Switzerland, on the other hand, played really well. At that stage of the match they really put us in troubles. In the fourth set we did not play our best but we reduced the number of mistakes and this was enough to win the set and the match. I’m very happy with my team, as this is our second victory in the tournament. We hope to continue in the same way also tomorrow,” said Pasquale D’Aniello, coach of Italy.

His Swiss counterpart Johannes Nowotny said: “Italy won the game clearly. We had the chance to win a set and we used it.”

Belgium upset Portugal in straight sets (25-12, 25-20, 25-13) to celebrate their first victory at the WEVZA U16 Girls’ Championship. The Belgian went straight for the win with a terrific start and their supremacy in the game became more and more evident. The efficiency showed by the Belgian players from the service line made the difference. Portugal responded in the second set playing with a lot of determination and high spirits, but Belgium remained calm and relaxed to claim a close final rush. In set 3, Belgium’s lead was widened slowly but surely and this way the young ‘Yellow Tigers’ could celebrate their first win in Valladolid.

“Today I’m very happy with my team. We played tactically very well and we were much disciplined. Today our performance was good but yesterday it wasn’t the same. That’s normal in this age group where you have many ups and downs,” said Belgium’s mentor Robin De Bondt.

Portugal’s coach Fernando Sousa commented: “Today I’m not happy with my team. We have been performing much better in our trainings than we do now during our matches here. There is a problem with young players and more generally with young people in our society: they wait for somebody else to solve their problems. They must learn to take initiative and search for solutions on their own.”

Spain continued its winning streak on home soil cruising to a 3:1 win over the Netherlands. The local heroines delivered a great performance, playing with a lot of spirit, intensity and working hard for the final result. These factors combined together determined an easy run for Spain in the first set. However, the hosts lost focus in the second and this way their opponents responded soon thereby drawing level in the match. Spain then fought back and playing very well at blocking and attacking they swept set 3 and 4 to claim their second victory in the tournament.

Spain’s mentor Fortunato Sánchez said: “We played as we had planned. We prepared the match focussing on our block and so we did. We lost the second set by making too many mistakes but we know how to recover and we showed that tonight.”

Click here for all the results of the competition.

Click here for the gallery of the tournament.