The first set was totally controlled by Serbia with Ana Lazarevic contributing some hard time for Hungary’s defense line. Zsanett Miklai tried to respond for Hungary as the audience created just a great atmosphere in the sports hall but the home heroines could not stop the march of the Serbian express.
Hungary played bravely in set 2 with Serbia going up only by 2 points at the first technical time-out (6:8); Ana Bjelica scored an ace for the 7:11 and local head coach Zoltan Jokay was forced into a break. Serbia went up by 7 at the second technical time-out and even the support of the fans could not help much the local favorites who lost that section of the game with the score of 14-25.
Trailing 7:11 in set 3, Hungary played with glowing hearts to close the gap (11:12) and flip the charts around (13:12). The home ladies were leading by 4 only a few moments later (16:12) and that magic was extended by the serving turn of Rita Liliom who opened the gap to 20:13, before the audience could celebrate a fantastic 25-16 against the reigning European champions.
However, Serbia re-asserted its supremacy in set 4 (3:8, 10:16) and head coach Jokay decided to try Maria Szivos, yesterday’s best scorer, who is living, studying and playing in the US at the University of Tennessee. Even though Hungary could stabilize its play, still this was not enough to avoid a honorable defeat to the winners of the past three editions of the European League. “We cannot complain as we took the match even though we could have played better, while our opponents fought harder than we expected them to do” said Serbian head coach Ratko Pavlicevic.
“We played good only in the third set and this immediately resulted into a positive outcome for us. We have to maintain that same level also in the future and throughout a complete match” singled out the home mentor Zoltan Jokay.