Ruse, Bulgaria, May 22, 2019 – Belgium got its first win in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Wednesday in Ruse. In a battle of the youngest teams in this year’s competition, the Belgians came from two sets down to beat host Bulgaria 3-2 (19-25, 15-25, 25-22, 25-16, 15-13).
Ivan Petkov, head coach of Bulgaria: “We weren’t able to react in the third set when they broke our reception. Maybe it was a question of fatigue. I tried to change the flow of the match with substitutions but to no avail. We knew the Belgians have a strong serve but we weren’t able to compensate those six aces in the third set. Without reception there were no more easy balls for the setter and the attack crumbled. We knew before the start of the competition that the first two weeks are more a question of will than anything else. We need time to get used to such turnarounds like yesterday against Japan and today against Belgium. And luck wasn’t on our side too.”
Nasya Dimitrova, player of Bulgaria: “We missed a little character and a little more cohesion. You can’t relax and underestimate your opponent. Leading 2-0 we thought that throwing away the third set we could still be able to win in four. We were too impulsive, didn’t play with clear heads in the important moments and let them back into the match.”
Gert Vande Broek, head coach of Belgium: “It was an amazing comeback. I want to congratulate my team for the resilience and for the way they kept fighting after losing the first two sets. Actually we played better than yesterday even in the beginning, we received better but Bulgaria was really strong in block-defence and they didn’t let us to score easily. The third set was close as well but then something happened, we started to serve better and Bulgaria had some problems with receiving and because of that we managed to stop them scoring from each position like in the beginning. We had very bad preparation for this tournament, we played just two friendly matches but against a weak opponent so our main goal here is to improve ourselves in every game.”
Ilka Van De Vyver, captain of Belgium: “We started really weak in the first two sets and the atmosphere was quite bad. But then in the third one something changed, we found each other and started fighting as a team. I think that was the key to the win. We expect a completely different game tomorrow because we face an Asian team with shorter players. So we have to put a lot of pressure in our serve in order to complicate their quick style and combinations.”