2018 CEV U18 European Championship

  • The Czech Republic and Slovakia will host the finals of the U18 ECH this year. Over the weekend we've had the qualifiers and the complete list of participants.


    Greece, Turkey, Italy, Belarus, Bulgaria, Russia, and Belgium qualified as group winners, whereas France and Germany advanced as best runner-ups. Despite the straight-set defeat to Bulgaria, France got the best points ratio (beating both the Netherlands and Sweden 3-0) among the runner-ups. Germany were lucky to have won a set at home versus the strong Belgians and thus qualified actually as the best second-placed team overall.


    It might seem weird at first that Serbia and Poland, two brilliant volleyball schools, won't make it to the finals. However, they seem to have weaker teams in that generation. Serbia were a bit unlucky during this gen's inaugural U17 ECH last year in Turkey and now, although a bit surprisingly, lost 0-3 to Belarus in Romania. Still, Belarus is no weak team, having finished 6th (above Serbia) at the tournament in Turkey. Poland, on the other side, failed to qualify for the finals last year and did the same this year. Belgium knocked them out in 2017 in a qualifier played in Belgium, the hosts Russia prevailed this time versus the Poles. I haven't had the chance to watch this Polish team, maybe they are really unlucky with the qualifying draws and that could be a reason for the missed finals.

  • Turkey has three very promising players from this generation: Opposite Kaan Gürbüz (MVP of last year's U17), Setter Berkün Eber Üstündağ and MB Ahmet Tümer (He is already playing as starter in Turkish league with Beşiktaş). Curious if they will manage to beat other favourites Italy and Belgium this year :box:

  • Semifinals (14th April):


    17.30 CET Italy vs. Czech Republic
    20.00 CET Germany vs. Russia


    Matches will be streamed on Laola TV.


    Regarding the performances of the german team, coming in first of the group is of course a great thing. I only watched a set here and there, so i can't really say something in depth. Judging by stats and my limited impressions, i would say that the strength of the team lays in the good level of the wing spikers. First to name would probably be opposite Filip John.
    Room for improvement seems to be in block/defence, individually and in organization.


    Generally saying, the way Italy and Russia beat Belgium, a team against Germany lost during qualifications, makes them favourites for reaching the final.

  • Congrats to the german boys :thumbup:


    The way they crushed Russia yesterday and the Czech team in todays final was very impressive :obey: . The czech team wasn't exactly up to the task and really didn't play well. They probably let too much energy in yesterdays surprising win over Italy. But credit where credit is due, the german team just didn't allow much today.


    Filip John (opposite) was elected MVP of the tournament. My personal MVP vote would have gone to Simon Pfretzschener (OH). Great stats in yesterdays semis and also today he led the german team in offense and defence. With his 16 years, an already very intelligent player who is also atletically and motorically highly skilled. You can only hope that he can still put some centimeters upon his 1,89......


    Italy won the bronce medal against the russian team.

  • I watched today's and yesterday's matches of German team. I was very impressed with Jason Lieb (S), he did a very good job in distribution and his 2nd ball attacks are really strong :super: Overall it seems to be a very promising generation.

  • Congratulations to the German team, first of all! I didn't watch much of the last two days and I can't say whether the MVP was a deserved one, although the German opposite John played his role throughout the tournament, but I kind of feel happy for Simon Pfretzschner (don't try to pronounce his last name). Not because of the stats, don't get me wrong. He is a member of ASV Dachau, perhaps the oldest serious and most decorated club in south-eastern Germany and especially in Bavaria. He was part of Dachau's junior team (listed as Dachau III or IV, whatever) two years ago when I had the chance to play against them in a local Munich division. Back then I was still playing or at least trying to get back in shape :) He wasn't the brightest or most spectacular player on court for them, yet it is remarkable how far he has gone to carrying Germany to an U18 European title! And he must be the only one from Dachau's generation who is an indoor NT member. Even if some of the rest are now part of Dachau's first team (3rd league) or represented Germany at age-group Beach Volleyball World Champs.


    The final between Germany and the Czech Rep. seems to have come out of nowhere. However, the Germans, although not present at the finals of last year's U17 ECH, kind of stood up. I expected Pool B with Italy, Belgium (the two finalists from the 2017 U17 ECH), and Russia to be stronger, but it didn't really look that way when the two pools crossed ways in the knock-out stage. All 4 teams that came from Pool B lost their matches. Germany did a huge favour to the hosts Czech Rep. by not fielding their entire team in the last match of Pool A, probably also not playing at absolutely 100%, a right they had gained as an early group winner, and thus helped the Czechs advance at the expence of Bulgaria. The latter were truly a bit unlucky with that outcome, but also have to feel sorry that they started the tournament badly against a motivated German team. Bulgaria also lost twice to Belarus, which we outlined as a very good team earlier this year (check my previous post at the top), so they didn't quite underperform with their 6th-place finish. After all, all top 6 teams earned berths to next year's U19 WCH. Pity that Belgium, one of the talented generations here, won't make it to the WCH.

  • He is a member of ASV Dachau, perhaps the oldest serious and most decorated club in south-eastern Germany and especially in Bavaria. He was part of Dachau's junior team (listed as Dachau III or IV, whatever) two years ago when I had the chance to play against them in a local Munich division. Back then I was still playing or at least trying to get back in shape :) He wasn't the brightest or most spectacular player on court for them, yet it is remarkable how far he has gone to carrying Germany to an U18 European title! And he must be the only one from Dachau's generation who is an indoor NT member. Even if some of the rest are now part of Dachau's first team (3rd league) or represented Germany at age-group Beach Volleyball World Champs.


    Yes, like many other clubs, Dachau had to give up on professional volleyball a while ago. But unlike others, they obviously managed to keep on doing good work on youth level.
    Regarding the bolded part, i think in the NT age group above Pfretzschner's, there is still Benedict Sagstetter who is the setter of that team. Last year they failed dramatically to qualify for ECH/WCH by being short of 2 or 3 ballpoints. Otherwise, i am sure, they could have played a good role in these tournaments too. But the line between qualification and complete failure is very thin un european youth level. Lets remember that the crowned champion almost did not qualify too....


    Maybe you know it already but anyway, i have a good read about ASV Dachau, which was written after last season's first round cup match against Lüneburg:


    http://www.sueddeutsche.de/mue…sternen-greifen-1.3740674


    Btw, SZ has good journalists/coverage on volleyball. Some articles are behind pay wall but still......

  • One observation from recent U18 and U20 European Championships is the excellent performance of the Czech teams, winning silver in both tournaments. This probably means they recently have invested more in the preparation for these teams: good thing for Czech and European volleyball overall.


    I watched last nights WEVZA-final (U18 - former 8 Nations tournament) between Italy and Belgium:

    Italian team won easily in 3 straight sets (-15,-20,-20):

    http://wevza.com/2018-wevza-u18-boys-belgium/


    Boy, what a great team, this Italian U18:

    • Stefani: scoring machine, definitely future opposite of Italian team.
    • Catania: excellent libero, very athletic, spectacular in defense.
    • Porro: great setter, excellent setting technique, great serve.
    • Michieletto: left-handed, tall, wing spiker.

    A lot of individual talent, but also very mature, intelligent as a team.


    This selection lost semi final against Czech team in the last U18 EC, so that makes me curious about this Czech team.