Azerbaijan celebrate after the victory against Puerto Rico
Bari, Italy, September 25, 2014 – After a very balanced match, Azerbaijan beat Puerto Rico 3-2 on the third day of the FIVB Women's Volleyball World Championship at PalaFlorio in Bari. The match was decided by the thrilling tiebreak (25-20, 24-26, 26-24, 15-26, 17-15). Key points:· Azerbaijan won their only previous World Championship meeting with Puerto Rico (3-0 in 2006).· Puerto Rico are winless in all previous 13 meetings with CEV sides at the World Championship, taking only one set.· Azerbaijan won on tiebreak against Japan in the first match on Tuesday.· Aurea Cruz of Puerto Rico played in Italy for Joggins Altamura, an Apulian team on 2006-07.· There were two opponent sisters' couples in the match: Oksana and Yelena Parkomenko for Azerbaijan, Sheila and Karina Ocasio for Puerto Rico.
Azerbaijan started aggressively to lead 7-3 thanks to efficient spikes from Bayramova, who scored 4 points in the first set for her team. Puerto Rico quickly came back with a spike from Morales to pull within 8-7. Again the Caucasian team enlarged the gap to 17-12 through two blocks of Ayshan Abdulazimova (12-7). After second TTO (10-16), The Carabeens tried to recover (13-16), but Gurbanova's services proved to be a constant danger for Puerto Rico (13-21) and she converted on the set point to clinch the first set for Azerbaijan at 25-20.
The second set was hotly contested. Chervyakov's team had an tiny advantage at the first technical timeout after a serving error by opponents. At the second TTO, Puerto Rico stayed within 16-15. The teams were back level at 24-all before Aurea Cruz earned a set-point at 25-24 and a block of Karina duly handed it to them 26-24.
Puerto Rico maintained the rhythm at the beginning of the third set till Azerbaijan came back with their proper blocking (7-3) and started to discipline their backline defence to advance to the first TTO 8-4. The Caribbean team came back with a block of Cruz (6-8) but the Caucasians scored successive points to reach 13-9. When Lynda Morales served, Azerbaijan had more difficulties and Puerto Rican team overtook the lead at STT (16-15). Kovalenko earned a set point with an ace 25-24 and Kurt's block ended the set (26-24). Rahimova scored eight points in this set.
Puerto Rico opened the fourth set in strong fashion (8-5) and increased the led at 11-6. Some attack errors forced coach Chervyakov to call timeout (17-10) but the Azerbaijanis had no answers to the solid game of their opponents (22-13). Cruz forced the match into a tie-break (25-16).The Caucasians made terrific blocks on Puerto Rican spikers (4-1) at the beginning of the fifth set and increased their lead at the first TTO (8-4). But Puerto Rico did not give up (10-11) and earned a match-point with an error of Rahimova (15-14). But a brave Azerbaijan tied the score and won through thanks to a missed attack of Puerto Rico (17-15).Polina Rahimova was the top scorer of the match (31 points), followed by Karina Ocasio (21) and Yarimar Rosa (20).