Leaders maintain edge after second round opens


The court produced eight exciting matches and the start of video challenges for the 2014 Women's World Championship

Lausanne, Switzerland, October 1, 2014 – After a two-day break from competition for travel and rest, the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship resumed with the second round commencing with intense action in Bari, Modena, Trieste and Verona.

Pool E gifted fans with two exciting five-set matches with Dominican Republic coming away with their fourth such victory in this World Championship, this time over Belgium. Likewise, Croatia kept in the race for the Final Round with a five-set win over Japan. Italy needed four sets to hold back Azerbaijan, while China were the only team in Pool E to win in straight sets to start the second round.

In Pool F in Modena, front-runners United States and Russia both needed four sets to defeat Turkey and Bulgaria, respectively. In Verona, both matches were concluded in straight sets with Brazil maintaining second place with a win over Kazakhstan and Serbia had a hard-fought battle against Netherlands.

Pool E Standings
1. China (4-0, 11 points); 2. Italy (3-1, 10 points); 3. Dominican Republic (4-0, 8 points); 4. Japan (1-3, 6 points); 5. Croatia (2-2, 5 points); 6. Belgium (1-3, 4 points); 7. Azerbaijan (1-3, 2 points); 8. Germany (0-4, 2 points)

Pool F Standings
1. United States (4-0, 12 points); 2. Brazil (4-0, 11 points); 3. Russia (3-1, 9 points); 4. Serbia (3-1, 8 points); 5. Netherlands (1-3, 3 points); 6. Bulgaria (1-3, 3 points); 7. Turkey (0-4, 2 points); 8. Kazakhstan (0-4, 0 points) 

Pool E
Dominican Republic win fourth five-set match in edging Belgium - Dominican Republic (4-0, 8 points) held off a strong late surge from Belgium (1-3, 4 points) to claim a full set victory (25-17, 25-22, 22-25, 22-25, 15-6) in Bari. Lise Van Hecke of Belgium and Bethania De La Cruz from Dominican Republic scored 30 points each in the marathon match that lasted two hours and eight minutes. Of Dominican Republic’s six victories in 2014, four have come in five sets. Dominican Republic became the first team in world championship history to win four five-sets matches at a single edition. After only three points (1-2), Belgium called the first “video challenge” of this World Championship and it was successful. This was the first meeting between the two teams at the World Championship. Dominican Republic have won their last seven World Championship matches, as well as all four World Championship meetings with teams representing Europe. Belgium had their two-match win streak snapped as they were trying for three in a row for the first time since 1956.

Croatia take down Japan in five thrilling sets - Croatia (2-2, 5 points) opened their second round on the right foot after they beat Japan (1-3, 6 points) in a thrilling 3-2 (18-25, 25-23, 25-27, 25-20, 15-8) victory in Pool E in front of a passionate crowd at Trieste. Yukiko Ebata topped the winners’ scoring with 22 points, followed by Saori Kimura, 18 points. Croatia’s top scorer was Maja Poljak with 18 points, then came Senna Usic with 17 points. Croatia and Japan met for the second time at the World Championship.  Croatia have won their last three matches at this World Championship and won a record-equalling third in a row for the first time since 1998. Back then, their third straight win came against Japan. Japan have lost three of their first six matches in this year’s tournament, and all three losses have been five sets. In 2010, they remained unbeaten in the first five, while losing only one in 2006. After this match Croatia have five points in Pool E, Japan have six.

Italy back on the winning side, defeat Azerbaijan - Italy (3-1, 10 points) opened the second phase by beating Azerbaijan (1-3, 2 points) in four sets (25-19, 25-21, 21-25, 25-23) in Bari. Marco Bonitta's team struggled in the third set, but recovered soon enough to secure three points. It was the first meeting of the two teams at the World Championship. Azerbaijan's Polina Rahimova was the best scorer of the match with 28 points, but Italy had a more balanced offence with Valentina Diouf, Antonella Del Core, Valentina Arrighetti and Cristina Chirichella all scoring in double digits. The Azeri have just managed to win one set in their last four matches against CEV sides. Italy out-blocked Azerbaijan 13-8. Italy won 3-1 against Azerbaijan, despite handing 28 points (of 88 total) to Azerbaijan through errors. Italy are unbeaten in their last six world championship matches against fellow European sides.

China earn three points against Germany – China (4-0, 11 points) kept the upper hand over Germany (0-4, 2 points) with a sweep (25-16, 25-23, 25-23) on the first day of the second round at Trieste to retain their top position in the standings of Pool E, one point ahead of Italy. The top scorer of tonight’s match was China’s Ting Zhu with 19 points, followed by her teammate Yunli Xu with 9 and Xiaotong Liu with 8 points for China. Margareta Kozuch scored 15 and Maren Brinker 10 points for Germany. This was 10th time Germany and China met at the World Championship with China winning seven of those. Before today, last time meeting at a major tournament came at the 2011 World Cup with China beating Germany in straight sets as well. This was the first time since 2006 that Germany lost three match in a row in a World Championship. Germany lost their record to win at least one set in each of their last eight world championship matches.  Ting Zhu confirmed her position as top-three-ranked spiker of the tournament. China has won six matches at the 2014 worlds, and five of these wins came by 3-0 scores.

Pool F
Serbia stops Netherlands in a close three set battle - Serbia (3-1, 8 pionts) beat an inconsistent Netherlands (1-3, 3 points) in three sets (25-22, 25-23, 25-23) in the first match of the second round of the FIVB Women’s World Championship in Verona on Wednesday. Serbia’s Tijana Boskovic was the best scorer of the match with 18 points, followed by Celeste Plak with 16 points for the Netherlands team. Serbia beat Netherlands the two times they met at the World Championship. Serbia as Yugoslavia defeated the Netherlands 3-1 in 1978. Serbia claim their 13th straight-sets win at the world championships and the first against a European side since a 3-0 win against Italy in 2006.Serbia only lost one match at the FIVB Women’s World Championship against Brazil 3-1 on Sunday. The Netherlands have now lost three of their six matches at this championship. They lost the previous two against USA (3-0) and Russia (3-1). The Netherlands lost the last five matches against fellow CEV teams. The last time this happened was in 1962-1974, when they lost seven straight. Six of the last seven World Championship matches played by the Netherlands ended in straight sets. 

United States overcome slow start versus Turkey to hold max points - The United States (4-0, 12 points) came away with a big 3-1 (27-29, 25-19, 25-23, 25-15) win over Turkey (1-3, 2 points) on Wednesday in the Palapanini Hall in Modena to start the second round. Kimberly Hill and Kelly Murphy each scored 19 points to lead the USA, while Gozda Sonsirma led Turkey with 22 points. USA out-blocked Turkey 14-7 and committed 13 fewer errors (27-14). United States started a World Championship with six victories for the fourth time, after 1982 (6), 2002 (10) and 2010 (6). The last and only time these two teams met at the World Championship was in 2006, when United States proved too strong (3:1). Turkey and United States also met at the 2014 World Grand Prix when Turkey beat United States in five sets. USA have won nine of their last 11 matches against teams from Europe, including all three in 2014 (vs. Netherlands, Russia, Turkey). Turkey coach Massimo Barbolini is Modena’s own, and was welcomed inside the arena PalaPanini with a standing ovation (which included his own parents…). USA’s Christa Dietzen Harmotto and Alisha Glass played for Modena’s Italian Superleague team, Liu:Jo, in 2012.

Brazil secure three set win over Kazakhstan to stay second - Brazil (4-0, 11 points) secured their first win in the second round of competition beating a fighting Kazakhstan (0-4, 0 points) in straight sets (25-22, 25-22, 25-18) at Verona.  Thaisa Menezes was Brazil's best weapon with a total score of 14 points, immediately followed by Jaqueline Pereira with 12 points. On Kazakhstan's side, Radmila Beresneva scored the most points, nine, while Alena Omelchenko and Lyudmila Issayeva scored seven points each. Brazil defeated Kazakhstan in three sets the two times they played at a World Championship. They also beat Kazakhstan 3-0 in their last meeting at the World Grand Prix in 2013. Brazil have lost only two of their last 29 World Championship matches, against Russia in 2006 and 2010. They lost no match against Asian teams in the last four World Championships. Kazakhstan advanced to the second round of the World Championship for the first time in any Olympic sport. With this loss Kazakhstan interrupted their World Championship back-to-back victories record (against Mexico and Thailand in straight sets)

Russia pushed to four by Bulgaria – Russia (3-1, 9 points) held six match points at 24-18 over Bulgaria (1-3, 3 points) in the third, but was pushed to a fourth set in a 3-1 win (25-23, 25-15, 26-28, 25-19) retaining the third place in Pool F. Russia’s Tatiana Kosheleva was the leading scorer with 26 points. Ekaterina Gamova provided 18 points in the win. Aces had a big role in Russia’s win (8 in the whole match) as well as in Bulgaria’s third set comeback (6). Bulgaria was led by Elitsa Vasileva's 16 points and Dobriana Rabadzhieva added 13 points. Russia maintained an 18-9 block advantage. Russia restarted what they hope to be another long win streak. Last Sunday, Russia’s 17-match winning streak came to an end as they lost 3-1 against United States. It was their first defeat in the competition since 12 November 2006, when they lost 3-1 against Brazil. Russia have never lost back-to-back matches at the World Championship since the dissolution of Soviet Union. Soviet Union most recently lost two straight in 1986, against East Germany and China. The reigning champions are unbeaten against CEV sides since competing as “Russia” (since 1994) at the World Championship. They won all 16 matches including nine in straight sets. Russia have now their last 19 matches against European teams at the world championships.


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