First round concludes with thrilling matches across Italy


United States celebrated their fifth straight victory, snapping Russia's win streak and finishing Pool A with a 5-0 record and maximum 15 points

Lausanne, Switzerland, September 28, 2014 – The FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014 confirmed the last four spots into the 16-team second round on Sunday with 12 matches in Rome (Pool A), Trieste (Pool B), Verona (Pool C) and Bari (Pool D).

Of the dozen matches that concluded the first round, three pushed to the full five sets providing exciting action in matches that helped determine seedings for the second round. In total, 10 of the 60 first round matches reached five sets and only Pool C did not have five-setters.

Four teams finished the five-match first-round round robin with a single loss. The United States was the only team to obtain the maximum 15 points in the first round and lost just two sets along the way in Pool C. Brazil won Pool B with 14 points and a 5-0 record, while China captured Pool D with a 5-0 record and 14 points. While Dominican Republic won all five of their matches in Pool A, they finished second to Italy (4-1) due to being extended to five sets on three occasions to reduce their standings points to 12, one shy of Italy.

“The Championship has just began,” USA coach Karch Kiraly said. “Now we've to get ready for the other matches, because we will face strong teams such as Brazil and Serbia.”

The top four teams in each of the four six-team pools advance to the second round crossovers. The second round Pool E has Pool A teams facing Pool D teams in crossover action, while Pool F has Pools B and C meeting. Records against teams which have advanced from the first round carry over to the second round.

Pool E:

1. China (3-0, 8 points)

2. Italy (2-1, 7 points)

3. Dominican Republic (3-0, 6 points)

4. Japan (1-2, 5 points)

5. Belgium (1-2, 3 points)

6. Croatia (1-2, 3 points)

7. Azerbaijan (1-2, 2 points)

8. Germany (0-3, 2 points)

Pool F:

1. United States (3-0, 9 points)

2. Brazil (3-0, 8 points)

3. Russia (2-1, 6 points)

4. Serbia (2-1, 5 points)

5. Netherlands (1-2, 3 points)

6. Bulgaria (1-2, 3 points)

7. Turkey (0-3, 2 points)

8. Kazakhstan (0-3, 0 points)

Pool A

Argentina end World Championship win over Tunisia - Argentina shut out Tunisia 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-21) on the final day of the first round Pool A in Rome. Argentina finished with a 1-4 record, while Tunisia concluded the tournament with a 0-5 record. Argentina captain Paula Yamila Nizetich was the top scorer of the match with 14 points, Rahma Agrebi and Mariem Brik were Tunisia’s best scorer with 8 points. Julieta Constanza Lazcano added 13 points in the victory. This was the first meeting between these two countries at the World Championship. They did meet once at a major tournament: Argentina won in straight sets at the 1999 World Cup. For Tunisia, this was the first time that met a South American team at the World Championship. Argentina, with this match, won three of their last 16 World Championship matches, all against African nations. At 23-15 in the second set Castiglione left the match with an an apparent ankle accident. Argentina won the first match in this FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014.

Croatia battle to five-set win over Germany - Croatia concluded Pool A with their third victory, a 3-2 (17-25, 25-23, 9-25, 25-21, 15-11) win over Germany. The last day of the first round saw Germany and Croatia fighting for the third place in the pool, both seven points in the tournament entering the match. Croatia advances with a 3-2 record and nine points, while Germany moves on to the second round with eight points and 2-3 record. Croatia are on three wins at this World Championship, overcoming their number of victories from their previous participation (2010) and one victory shy of their only other appearance (4 in 1998). Germany lost for the second time in a row for the first time since the 2006 World Championship. In their only World Championship meeting in 2010, Germany defeated Croatia in straight sets. Germany collected five blocks in the first set, three of which scored by Christiane Furst. After scoring its tournament-worst points in a set with nine in the third set, Croatia fired back to win the match. The top scorer of the match was Maren Brinker with 20 points, immediately followed by her teammate Christine Furst at 19. Croatia had its best scorers well divided between Sanja Popovic (18 points), Maja Poljak and Senna Usic (16 points each).

Dominican Republic edge Italy, but finish second in Pool A behind hosts - Dominican Republic won another tiebreak to conclude the first round against hosts Italy with a 3-2 (25-15, 16-25, 25-21, 16-25, 15-8) victory in front of 8,640 fans in Rome. The victory was Dominican Republic's third five-set win in Pool A and second in two days, the second in two days after yesterday’s one with Croatia. Despite the loss, Italy ended the pool in first place with 13 points and a 4-1 record. Dominican Republic ended the first round with 12 points and a 5-0 record. The top scorer of the match was Dominican Republic's Bethania De La Cruz with a high score of 27 points, followed by teammate Prisilla Rivera with 16 points. For Italy Nadia Centoni totaled 15 points and Valentina Diouf at 14 points. This is the second World Championship meeting between Italy and Dominican Republic. In 1978 Dominican Republic defeated Italy 3-2. Italy have won seven of their last 10 World Championship matches against NORCECA nations, losing only against Cuba in this span (3 defeats). Dominican Republic have won their last three World Championship matches in a row against CEV nations for the first time ever. Italy had their six-match winning streak at World Championships snapped, their longest run since winning eight in 2006. In each of their last matches against CEV nations (since 1978) Dominican Republic have at least won two sets and so did today.

Pool B

Turkey gain momentum into second round, defeat Cameroon – Even though Turkey rested many players on Sunday morning, including Gözde Sonsirma and Gizem Karadayi, the Europeans won the match 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-12) against Cameroon in Pool B at Trieste. The victory guarantee Turkey’s inclusion in the second round next week. This was the first meeting between the two teams at the World Championship. It was also their first meeting at a major tournament. Cameroon have played 10 matches at World Championships with only one set won, that coming in the third set in a 3-1 defeat against Canada in their first match of this year’s tournament. Having won the first two sets, Turkey became the 24th nation with 50 sets won in the competition. Turkey’s Polen Uslupehlivan was today’s top scorer with 14 points and only another Turkish player reached double figures was Meliha Ismailoglu with 10 points.

Bulgaria cruises by Canada going into second round – Bulgaria fluently beat Canada 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-18) on the last day of the first day of Pool B in Trieste. Bulgaria closed out the first round with nine points, in Pool B’s third position right after Serbia and Brazil. This was the fourth meeting between Bulgaria and Canada in FIVB World Championship. Bulgaria has won three straight World Championship matches for the first time since 2002. Canada won their first meeting in 1974 after trailing two sets. Bulgaria was victorious in 1982 (also after trailing two sets), in 1986 (3-1) and tonight (3-0). No other team has a longer losing streak against CEV teams as Canada. They were winless in their last 17 World Championship matches against European sides. In their first appearance at the World Championship since 2002, Elitsa Vasileva confirmed to be one of the best scorers of the World Championship first phase with 75 points. Top scorer for Bulgaria was Nikolova Emiliya with 13 points, then Rabadzhieva Dobriana with 12 points. Charuk Lucille contributed 10 points for Canada and Marcelle Shanice nine points.

Brazil overcomes slow start to defeat Serbia, win Pool B – Brazil defeated Serbia 3-1 (24-26, 25-21, 25-19, 25-23) in the last match of Pool B in Trieste to claim the top spot with a 5-0 record and 14 points. Serbia rank second in Pool B with 11 points. They have won the first four matches of Round 1 (3-2 against Bulgaria). In the past Brazil and Serbia met in the semifinal of the 2006 World Championship, their only meeting in the competition before Sunday. Brazil won the match 3-1 as well. Brazil remain unbeaten in their meetings with Serbia at major tournaments. They beat Serbia at the 2012 and 2013 World Grand Prix, the 2007 and 2011 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Brazil have lost only two of their last 28 matches at World Championships. Both were finals against Russia (in 2006 and 2010). Best scorer was Serbia’s 17-year old left-handed Tijana Boskovic with 24 points, followed in her team by Brankica Mihajlovic with 15. Brazil’s Thaisa and Jaqueline scored 16 points each; among them Jaque had seven blocks.

Pool C

Netherlands shifts into high gear against Mexico after slow start – The Netherlands confirmed third place in Pool C and advanced to the second round of the competition beating Mexico in straight sets (32-30, 25-17, 25-17) in Verona. Manon Flier was the best scorer for the Netherlands with 15 points, followed by Lonneke Sloetjes with 13. Mexico's best scorers were Lizbeth Sainz with 11 points and Claudia Rios with 10. Mexico played their last match at the FIVB Women’s World Championship Italy 2014 having places sixth in the pool. The Netherlands have beaten Mexico for the first time at a World Championship. Mexico had won the first meetings 3-0 in 1970 and 3-2 in 1978. The Europeans have now equaled their record of achieving three victories in their first five World Championship matches as they did in the previous four occasions. For Netherlands, five of their last World Championships matches ended in straight sets, with a total of four wins and one loss. The only exception was their 3-1 defeat against Russia on Saturday. Mexico have now lost all five matches in Pool C, only winning one set against USA on Tuesday. In 2006 they won none, in 2002 two sets. Mexico are now on a nine-match losing streak against European teams at the World Championship, and a 16-match losing streak at the World Championship.Kazakhstan move on to second round after sweep of Thailand – A focused and aggressive Kazakhstan secured a second round spot for the first time in their history after defeating Thailand in straight sets (25-15, 25-22, 25-20) in Verona. With this victory, Kazakhstan, who had lost three matches and previously won only one against Mexico, placed fourth in Pool C. Kazakhstan will proceed to the next round with no points, due to the fact their victories came only against eliminated sides. Thailand, who lost four matches and only defeated Mexico in straight sets, placed fifth in Pool C and are eliminated. Thailand and Kazakhstan only met twice at World Championships. Thailand defeated Kazakhstan 3-1 in 2010. Kazakhstan never made the second round of competition at the World Championship and are guaranteed to finish at least 16th place or higher. Their best previous result was 17th position. The two teams met twice at the World Grand Prix in 2008 and 2011. Kazakhstan won 3-2 the first time, while Thailand prevailed 3-0 on the second occasion. Kazakhstan have now recorded back-to-back victories after they interrupted a nine-match losing streak in World Championship competition by beating Mexico 3-0 on Saturday. Kazakhstan have now played seven World Championship matches that ended in straight sets (2 wins, 5 losses). Mudritskaya was the best scorer on the Kazakhstan team with 20 points, while Ajcharaporn Kongyot topped the performances on the Thailand side with 15 points.

USA snaps Russia's streak to win Pool C - USA overcame defending champion Russia 3-1 (34-32, 25-19, 29-31, 26-24) to triumph at the top of Pool C in Verona. USA have lost no matches at this championship, conceding only one set to Mexico during their debut match on Tuesday. USA is the only team that finished with the maximum 15 points to end the first round. Russia, who won four matches and only lost one set to the Netherlands on Thursday, placed second with a 4-1 record and 12 points. This is the first defeat Russia suffered, interrupting a winning streak of 17 World Championships matches. It was the longest streak since Russia started to compete as a separate nation. USA have now won four of a total of 10 meetings played against Russia, after losing the last three in a row. USA scored a record 114 points against Russia with their previous best being 112 points against Netherlands in 2006. The two teams had recently met at the World Grand Prix twice. Russia won the first match and USA the second. Both matches ended in four sets. USA have won their first five matches for the third time in the last four World Championships. They failed to do so only in 2006, when they won four of the first five meetings. Jordan Larson-Burbach and Kelly Murphy were the best scorer on the USA team with 20 points. Best contributors to Russia’s performance were Tatiana Kosheleva with 31 points and Ekaterina Gamova with 20 points.

Pool D

Azerbaijan versus Cuba – Azerbaijan qualified to the second round after defeating Cuba 3-1 (25-20, 25-27, 25-20, 25-22) on the last day Pool D in Bari. Azerbaijan ended the first round with a 3-2 record and seven points and in fourth place. Cuba, 0-5, won their first set of the World Championship 2014. Azerbaijan is 5-1 against NORCECA teams in World Championship history, but the one loss was to Cuba in 1994 in the only previous head-to-head meetings between the two countries at the World Championship. Six of Azerbaijan’s seven victories at the World Championship this century have come against NORCECA nations. The victory was Azerbaijan’s first in the 2014 World Championship that did not go five sets. Cuba took their seventh consecutive World Championship loss, which now has the dubious distinction of breaking their previous most losses in a row of six set in 1970. Azerbaijan’s Polina Rahimova was the top scorer of the match (27 points), followed by Cuban Alena Rojas (18) and Regia Gracia (16). Azerbaijan put 12 block points in the match, two more than Cuba. Cuba served 11 aces in the match.

China rally past Japan in thrilling five sets - China rallied past Japan in a five-set thriller (25-16, 18-25, 25-27, 25-17, 15-11) for their fifth straight win in Pool D at Bari. The Chinese women, who lost a set for the first time in this year’s competition, finished on top of the group with 14 points heading into the second round. Zhu Ting was the top scorer of the match (29 points), one more than Japanese Kimura Saori. China avenged on their 3-0 loss to their Asian arch-rivals at the World Grand Prix Finals in Tokyo last month. China now have won five of eight meetings with Japan in World Championship competition. China reaped 19 points from blocking, compared to 2 for Japan. Despite the loss snapping a three-match win streak, Japan finished second in pool D with three wins against two losses.

Belgium versus Puerto Rico - Belgium qualified for the second round after defeating Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-19) in their last pool D match in Bari. Making their first appearance in the World Championship in 36 years, the Belgian team finished third in pool D behind China and Japan with nine points from three wins and two losses. Belgium had seven service points to Puerto Rico’s one. Puerto Rico played their 45th match of the World Championship. Belgium’s Lise Van Hecke was the top scorer in the match with 17 points.


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