Bari, Italy, September 28, 2014 – Azerbaijan qualified for the second round of the 2014 FIVB Women's Volleyball World Championship after beating Cuba 3-1 (25-20, 25-27, 25-20, 25-22) Sunday morning in their last pool D match at Palaflorio.With China playing Japan and Belgium taking on Puerto Rico later on Sunday, Azerbaijan have already secured a top four finish in pool D with seven points from three wins and two losses.Key points:· Cuba won their first set of the World Championship 2014.· Polina Rahimova was the top scorer of the match (27 points), followed by Cuban Orta Alena Rojas (18) and Gonzalez Regla Gracia (16).· Azerbaijan scored 12 block-points in the match, two more than Cuba.
Azerbaijan scored five straight points to reach 5-0. They improved the lead at 17-10 before three errors of Polina Rahimova narrowed the gap to 17-14. Ayshan Abdulazimova closed the set (25-20).
Cuba opened the second set in strong fashion (3-0) and held the lead at the second TTO thanks to an ace of their young star Melissa Vargas (16-11). Blocking Vargas' attacks, the Caucasians tied the scores at 21-all. Then the two sides traded point by point before a fast of Alena Rojas Ortas pulled one set back for Cuba at 27-25. This was the first set won by Cuba in five matches at the World Championship 2014.
Azerbaigian came back strongly at the start of the third set (3-0) but Cuba replied with their spikers to overtake the lead at 6-4. The battle continued to be intense in the middle part of the second set. After the second TTO, Azerbaijan produced lots of severe attacks to pull away at 22-17 and enlarged it to 24-17. Cuba withstood three set points, but Bayramova converted on the fourth to claim the set at 25-20.
The fourth set was also hotly contested. Gala's women started with far more intensity than the last (3-0). Cuba stretched their lead to six points (12-6) before Azerbaijan recovered to pull within 18-17. Three consecutive block-points brought Caucasians ahead at 21-20 and Bayramova finished things off (25-22).