Trieste, Italy, September 24, 2014 – After a long five sets battle, Serbia claimed a 3-2 (25-19, 23-25, 25-19, 18-25, 15-12) victory over Bulgaria in the last game of the second day in Pool B of the Women’s World Championship.
• It is the first win for Serbia over Bulgaria as it was the first time the teams met at a World Championship.
• It was the first match in Pool B to go to tiebreak.
• Time for revenge: the last time the two teams met, at the 2013 European Championship, Bulgaria beat Serbia in five sets.
Serbia’s Brankica Mihajlovic topped all scorers with an extraordinary result, 31 points, followed by Tijana Boskovic with 26 points; Milena Rasic reached double digits with 10 points as well.
Elitsa Vasileva was Bulgaria’s top scorer with 23 points, three other players reached double figures, Dobriana Rabadzhieva and Strashimira Filipova with 13 points and Elena Koleva with 11 points.
There was a very warm atmosphere at the beginning of the match. After Emiliya Nikolova’s superb ace Bulgaria took a lead by four points at 6-2. Shortly after Serbia, thanks to Bulgaria errors, draw level at 7-7. Bulgaria struck back, scoring three quick points in succession, with Brankica Mihajlovic firing a scorching kill to the back of the court (13-14). The match appeared very tight. Play continued on a point-by-point basis until 18-18.The seventeen-year-old Tijana Boskovic, the new rising star of team Serbia, proved her worth skillfully and technically helping Serbia to take the lead and to win the set 25-19.
In the second set Bulgaria seemed very confused on court and Serbia took an early lead 8-2. Bulgaria struggled to break through at the net. Every time they rose for a kill, either Natasa Krsmanovic or Mihajlovic made the block. At the second technical timeout, Serbia kept a solid lead of six points. As Bulgaria continued to commit mistakes, Serbia advanced their lead to 20-14. After trying hard to get back into the match, Bulgaria reached 23-all and they played for their first set point, which arrived straight away, 23-25.
In the third set, after a few errors at service on both sides, an ace from Tsvetelina Zarkova helped Bulgaria gain confidence and took a two-point lead. Serbia’s comeback started with a Mihajlovic’s spike for the 13-11. At 19-15 Bulgarian coach Vladimir Kuzyutkin called a timeout but Serbia, with an ace from Natasa Krsmanovic, arrived at 22-18. At 24-18, a good defence helped the spirited Serbians to take the set point at 25-19.
As in the third set, in the fourth one Bulgaria took an early lead 6-3 and they arrived at the technical timeout always ahead. Krsmanovic fired one into the net to give Bulgaria a 10-9 lead. Continuing point-to-point score reached 12-12. A long rally at 12-13 then gave a two-point lead to Bulgaria. This set became as exciting as the last. A net ball and a Serbia mistake in attack took Bulgaria onto 14-21. Serving a set point Bulgaria gained their second set of the tournament and reopened the match at the result 18-25.
Another point-to-point start in the tiebreak. Both teams dropped points through poor serves, with Rabadzhieva firing a third long. Mihajlovic was at it again. A reverse, overhead set popped the ball up in the air that she smashed home with a muscular kill. Serbia took the lead at the technical timeout 8-5. Fighting for every point Serbia took the advantage thanks to a kill block 13-11. Bulgaria responded with a vicious spike but Serbia rolled on to win the set 15-12, and the match 3-2, in front of 2.500 noisy spectators.