NJIT opposite brings Spain to brink of U20 European Championship Finals berth

Photo courtesy of NJIT athletics

NJIT opposite Alvaro Gimeno has brought Spain within one match of qualifying for the final round of the European Championship.

Gimeno had a team-high 16 kills as Spain swept Israel 25-14, 25-20, 25-16 on Saturday in Poland during the CEV U20 European Championship third round.

With this victory, Spain remains in first place in its pool and joins Poland as the only undefeated teams in the four-team pool. Spain and Poland will conclude the third round playing each other on Sunday in a de facto pool championship match with the winner earning the final spot to the 12-team finals.

“For us the game with the hosts of this tournament will be like a small final before the finals of European Championship,” Gimeno said in a postmatch interview with the CEV. “Poland play in their home so it will be an extremely hard battle for us. However, we have our supporters here, including our families, and this always gives us positive vibes. We will fight to secure our qualification to the finals.”

The win against Israel was the second consecutive match that Gimeno finished among the Spanish offensive leaders. The 2018 EIVA Newcomer of the Year had a match-high three aces and added nine kills to help Spain sweep Latvia on Friday in its third-round opener.

Gimeno enters the final day of pool play second among all players from the eight third-round teams with a 4.17 kills per average.

Gimeno joined the Spanish Junior National Team after earning First-Team All-EIVA honors in his first season with NJIT. Gimeno ended the 2018 season sixth in the EIVA averaging 3.29 kills per game and was third in the conference with 45 aces.

The U20 European Championship Finals will begin July 14 in the Netherlands and Belgium. The top two teams in the finals will qualify for the 2019 FIVB U21 World Championship.