Belarus Upsets Team USA in Day 3 of Girls’ U18 Worlds

  0 Liam Smith | August 20th, 2017 | African Volleyball, Asian Volleyball, European volleyball, International Volleyball, News, NORCECA volleyball, South American Volleyball, U.S. Women's Volleyball


Who doesn’t love the makings of a Cinderella story? After upsetting Brazil on their debut, Belarus beat Team USA, current silver medalists, making a strong case for its dominance not being mere beginners’ luck. Argentina and Japan also kept their spotless performance, while Italy, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Colombia and Slovenia were also winners on Day 3 action. Here are the full pools and recaps from the day’s games in Argentina.

Pool A

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  Argentina 3 0 9 9 2 4.500 271 211 1.284
2  Slovenia 2 1 6 7 3 2.333 235 215 1.093
3  Germany 1 1 2 4 5 0.800 184 202 0.911
4  Cuba 0 2 1 2 6 0.333 153 178 0.860
5  South Korea 0 2 0 0 6 0.000 104 151 0.689

Pool B

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  Belarus 3 0 9 9 1 9.000 247 187 1.321
2  Russia 2 0 6 6 0 MAX 150 101 1.485
3  Brazil 1 1 3 3 3 1.000 131 128 1.023
4  United States 0 2 0 1 6 0.167 134 171 0.784
5  Mexico 0 3 0 0 9 0.000 150 225 0.667

Pool C

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  Poland 2 1 7 8 4 2.000 273 239 1.142
2  Italy 2 0 5 6 2 3.000 185 149 1.242
3  Serbia 1 1 3 3 3 1.000 128 122 1.049
4  Colombia 1 1 3 3 3 1.000 130 130 1.000
5  Thailand 0 3 0 1 9 0.111 174 250 0.696

Pool D

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  Japan 3 0 9 9 0 MAX 226 152 1.487
2  Turkey 2 0 6 6 1 6.000 168 111 1.514
3  Dominican Republic 1 2 3 4 7 0.571 214 256 0.836
4  Peru 0 2 0 1 6 0.167 153 167 0.916
5  China 0 2 0 0 6 0.000 75 150 0.500

FIVB Recaps

Belarus x USA

Belarus kept their perfect march to remain undefeated in Pool B after a 3-1 win over the United States by scores of 25-20, 25-13, 21-25 and 25-20. The European team coached by Natallia Melianuk recovered from a 16-20 deficit to score nine units in a row and showed a solid defense that stopped a possible tie-break by the Americans.

Hanna Hryshkevich scored 20 points for Belarus, the same quantity registered by Logan Eggleston for the USA, that also had Horin Madison with double digit. Madison converted 10, including five blocks in a match that lasted 1 hour and 38 minutes.

Eggleston aced three times for the States with a resilient performance in the third to win their first set in the competition. Previously, the Americans had surrendered 19 units against only 9 by Belarus in sets 1 and 2. However the blocking game gave Jim Stone’s team the opportunity to keep fighting by gaining a 5-0 advantage at the time. After three sets, both teams’ services were equally effective with Eggleston and Miniuk on each side. Hryshkevich’s attacks gave enough confidence to Belarus to close the deal. Belarus gave up only 22 points, but achieved 38 from their rivals.

Here are the post match reactions:

Alina Egorowa, Player of Belarus: “It was a very difficult match and we tried not to play the fifth set, fortunately we managed to avoid it and could come back in the fourth. We watched videos, statistics and now we will prepare for the following game. I felt so good and I’m so happy for this victory”.

Natallia Melianiuk, Head Coach of Belarus: “Every match we play, we do it with the wish to win it, so we prepared for this one a lot and we believed we could do it. This team is so young but they’re doing it very well so we’re happy for the triumph”.

Logan Eggleston, Player of USA: “I think we messed up in some plays but we were picking up entirely for every ball in the second, third and fourth set. We fought for every single point till the end. We realized today how well we can play together and I think we’re going to take our good game and just bring it tomorrow to win”.

Jim Stone, Head Coach of USA: “We’re a very unexperienced group but hopefully in the last two sets we started to figure out how to compete against the best teams. I think is something that the younger players need to learn, some of them never played international volleyball before and is useful for them. I hope we get the last two sets and build on that for the next matches.”

Argentina x Korea

Argentina had no problem to get their third win in a row. Estanislao Vachino’s pupils won in straight sets against Korea by scores of 25-21, 25-15 and 25-10 in 1 hour and 15 minutes of game time and remain undefeated in Pool A.

Sofia Meinardi had another double digit night with 13 tallies for Argentina whose service game marked a huge difference with a 12-3 balance on their side of the net thanks to a good performance by Victoria Mayer, who registered 5 aces. Hyemin Park , who aced twice, tallied 11 points for Korea that fought hard in the first set but in the end gave up 17 points by error. Argentina also had a good blocking strategy prevailing 10-2 over the Asians with Yuliana Pacheco converting three points.

Here are the post match reactions:

Estanislao Vachino, Head Coach of Argentina: “The team did a very good match. We knew Korea would be the less problematic of the teams in the Pool, but we talked about that and we knew we have to play and stay focus no matter who’s in front. We needed to win to give a step further to the qualification; we worked well and we got the victory.”

Yuliana Pacheco, Player of Argentina: “I’m so happy and excited. At first I was a bit nervous, I wanted to do everything fine and win to reach our objective of being among the best eight. Luckily we will do it and we’re really happy. It’s amazing to play in front of a full stadium, it gives us a lot of energy and we feel honestly proud of having Argentina here cheering for us.”

Park Hyemin, Player of Korea: “I’m sad because we couldn’t show what we can do and our abilities. I hope we can improve for tomorrow’s game, for sure we will try our best.”

Cho Wanki, Head Coach of Korea: “This competition is the first one for Korea and for most of our players, and today we couldn’t show what we can do. We want to congratulate Argentina because we have prepared a lot of things, but we couldn’t do them. Tomorrow we will try to improve and get a victory.”

Japan x China

Once again with an excellent all-around game, Japan netted their third success over the tournament, this time over China 3-0 (25-13, 25-11, 25-16) to continue leading Pool D. Japan’s Haruna Soga finished as best scorer of the game with 11 points, although the Asian champions gave room to all players and each one of them could contribute to the total of the team. On China, Che Wenhan and Fang Jingyi were the most active players, but they were far from their rivals.

Another versatile performance of Japan caused the 25-13 of the first set, with China unable to defend as well as their rivals. The advantage made Japan to speed up the pace and stomped over China 16-3 and 25-11 a while later, using some reserve players without altering the plot. Third set was there only to complete the Japanese domination and the victory by 25-16.

Here are the post match reactions:

Daichi Saegusa, Japan coach: “We keep improving and we’re playing with calm. We received well and could display our attack combinations because of that. But against Turkey we must improve so much more – we have to serve well to compensate the lower attacking and blocking reach we have, and also defend well against them. The match tomorrow will be decisive and after that we’ll see where we land, but we will play with the strength of all our 12 players.”

Rena Mizusugi, Japan libero: “I don’t feel that I played well today, but the team did and we could win; that’s the most important aspect of our game. Now we will face Turkey, they have a very high and neat block; we know that and we will try to give our best in the defending and serving phase to beat them.”

Xu Jiande, China coach: “Japan was technically a lot stronger than China today. They played perfectly and didn’t give us a chance to recover during the game. Now we need to clear our heads and prepare for the next match.”

Brazil x Mexico

After a day off Brazil grabbed their first win in the FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship. The South Americans recovered from an adverse debut and defeated Mexico 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-19) in their second match of the tournament in Pool B.

Julia Isabelle Bergmann scored 17 points, including 3 aces, for Brazil, as best scorer. She was followed by Daniela Nunes who tallied 12. For Mexico Uxu Amaya Guereca Parra, who also aced in three occasions like Bergmann, topped with 13.With a 10-4 final balance, service was Brazil’s best weapon.The team coached by Mauricio Thomas, also led in blocks 8-5 and achieved 21 points by opponent error.

Mexico gave a good fight in the first points of every set, specially with Guereca, but after technical time-outs Brazil began to put pressure on.The South Americans gained a 7 points advantage in the second set that paved the way to their first win and tied their record to 1-1 in pool phase.

Here are the post match reactions:

Mauricio Thomas, Head Coach of Brazil: “We needed to make up our minds and get confidence because most of our players are giving their first steps at international level. In the first game we were really nervous, we tried to calm the team down, but it wasn’t possible. It’s important for the continuity of the tournament to renew our confidence and compete better. I’m happy because my players have worked a lot to make a good championship and now we’re on that way. Today we attacked better even we didn’t receive well and we made a lot of difference from service.”

Julia IsabelleBergmann, Player of Brazil: “After a difficult start of the tournament we played very well today and is important to look ahead and keep growing. We did it very good in attack, we were more relaxed and we’re happy we’re growing on the tournament.”

Ricardo de Jesús Naranjo, Head Coach of Mexico: “We need to see things as they are. Brazil is a team with a lot of history and we played as equals, but when things got complicated, they have better tools to solve the situation that we still didn’t develop. We’re still immature and is not an excuse, we know we can play much better than we did today, but our girls are making experience. Despite the defeat, we leave the court with the tranquility that the girls are growing playing with high level teams and that’s so important for Mexico.”

Uxu Amaya Guereca Parra, Player of Mexico: “It was a very good match for us, we played and fight till the end, even in the last set we were so close to reach them, but we committed some mistakes and the game was gone. Is important for us because it’s the first time we play with teams like Brazil or Russia, is an amazing experience for us. We know we have to keep working.”

Dominican Republic x Peru

In a duel of teams looking forward to celebrate a win for the first time in the tournament, Dominican Republic outlasted Peru 3-1 (25-18, 16-25, 25-22, 25-23) with 22 points of their super-scorer Madeline Guillen. Captain Natalia Martinez joined Guillen on this victory quest with 13 points, while Mesalina Severino added 10 of her own. On the still winless side of Peru, Kiara Montes rose above all scorers with 12 caps and Thaisa McLeod completed 10.

Guillen already showed her might from the opening set, driving Dominican Republic to a 25-18 score, but Peru clawed their way back into the game 25-16 via Aixa Vigil and left-handed McLeod. Wing-spiker Montes pushed Peru next to 16-13, but Dominican captain Martinez and also Severino served well and redirected the set to a Caribbean 25-22. It looked like Peru found their momentum once again towards the tie-breaker, but a couple of errors and Guillen’s efforts resulted in a final 25-23 for Dominican Republic.

Here are the post game reactions:

Natalia Martinez, Dominican Republic captain: “It wasn’t a good game in spite of the result. We won, but we still have a long way to go. This is not the Dominican Republic team one may be used to watch, but today things worked out for us even with that. We have to improve in almost every element of the game; we need to give more of ourselves. Anyway, it was an obligation to win and we did it.”

Alexandre Ceccato, Dominican Republic coach: “It was a really tough match where big part of the qualification to the next round was to be decided; that’s why both teams were nervous. We are used to face each other, we played against them a few weeks ago and we won in a tight tie-breaker. Girls this age have trouble taking decisions and that made the match so unstable.”

Marco Queiroga, Peru coach: “I think the first set showed the nervousness of both teams. We didn’t play well, they took it fairly and built their game from there. Dominican Republic have more experienced girls, while for our girls this is their first World Championship. So, in a crucial and decisive moment, they have been there, they know what to do. Now it’s time to rest, to move on and prepare for the next challenge.”

Kiara Montes, Peru player: “A bit of anger is the feeling right now. They prepared for this competition in Peru, we faced them and lost 3-2 so today was kind of a rematch for us, but we couldn’t do it. We have to keep going, this is not over. This team has a lot to prove yet and we have to get closer to our full potential on next matches.”

Slovenia x Cuba

Slovenia defeated Cuba in straight sets by scores of 25-12, 25-17 and 25-22 claiming their second victory of the tournament. Tali Lekse and Alja Jerala scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, to finish as best scorers for the Slovenians that improved their record to 2-1 in Pool A. For Cuba, Ailama Cese Montalvo tallied 8 points.

Slovenia dominated in services 14-6, with 4 aces by Jerala, while Cuba´s Elizabeth Vicet converted 3. The Europeans also prevailed in blocks 5-3. Cubans have not registered a win in this tournament yet, in their debut lost against Germany in five sets.

Here are the post match reactions:

Joze Casar, Head Coach of Slovenia: “The score makes it seem it was an easy game, but it wasn’t at all. We talked about our yesterday’s game and fortunately we played better on service. We controlled our reception, block and attack, and got benefits of their mistakes. I would like to thank my assistants because they’re working a lot from behind and doing a great job. Our next step is to defeat Germany tomorrow. They know us and it will be an European derby, but we want to finish as high as possible in the group, so we want another win tomorrow.”

Tali Lekse, Player of Slovenia: “I’m really proud of my team because we gave the best of us and we got an important victory against Cuba, a great squad. We were really well prepared for today’s game; we have better reception than yesterday and we made less mistakes. We’re really enjoying Argentina, it’s an amazing country and people is very nice too.”

Tomas Fernandez Arte, Head Coach of Cuba: “Slovenia stole us the initiative on the service, they damaged us and didn’t let us receive. We couldn’t play our game and the girls were not nervous today, the one who was nervous was me. Slovenia didn’t let us play. I’m worried about my team, we need to play despite who is in front of us.”

Ailama Cese Montalvo, Player of Cuba: “Slovenia hurt us with their service and we committed too many mistakes in reception. The game was gone also in attack, we weren’t efficient there neither in the service. For the following games we have to work with our service and block and commit less errors. I hope we can improve for our next game.”

Italy x Poland

At the most fascinating game in Rosario so far, Poland and current champions Italy played a nail-biting five-setter and the latter emerged as winners 3-2 (22-25, 25-16, 25-20, 23-25, 15-12) thanks to a superb production of their wing-spiker Elena Pietrini.

Pietrini showed once again her talents as she uncorked an amazing 34 points, being 5 blocks, 5 aces and 24 successful spikes. Terry Enweonwu chipped in with 16 and both Marina Lubian and captain Alessia Populini helped with 12. Poland had in Zuzanna Gorecka and Oliwia Baluk their best scorers, with 13 tallies each.

While the stands of Newell’s Old Boys Stadium kept filling, Poland rapidly escaped 5-0 in the first set and resisted the Italian attempts to bag it 25-22. Italy wasted no time as Pietrini built a comfortable 25-16, Enweonwu then joined to push her side forward 25-20 and that opened the way to a thrilling fourth set, won by Poland 25-23 after a nice final track from Italy. Keeping the emotions high, Pietrini completed her amazing game towards a final score of 15-12.

Here are the post game reactions:

Marco Mencarelli, Italy coach: “We weren’t humble today. We felt the ‘ear tug’ by a very organised and well-oiled Polish team who put us in real trouble. They merited everything they did well, and deserve the point they got. We were good in the 2nd and 3rd set, gaining confidence and continuity in our game, and I’m naturally happy for that; for us it was very important to win, but we need to learn the lesson and play the other matches of this World Championship since the beginning.”

Alessia Populini, Italy captain: “It was a hard game since the beginning, we faced some difficult moments throughout it but as the game went on we could find solutions to those situations. We are focused on thinking game by game, day after day. We still haven’t gave shape to our final goal, we are living the moment and this new experience is very exciting for us.”

Rafal Gasior, Poland coach: “We are happy for having played such a good game against a very strong opponent like Italy. It was a good match from both teams, we are happy that the audience witnessed a nice volleyball show. Italy served very well in some moments, and when they didn’t we could make the difference.”

Zuzanna Gorecka, Poland player: “It was a hard game, but it wasn’t what we expected, we didn’t play well. I’m really looking forward to facing them again. The audience was great, they gave us energy; we have never played with such a beautiful ambience before.”

Colombia x Thailand

After a rest day, Colombia came back in an enhanced version to achieve their first victory at the tournament, a 3-0 win (25-14, 25-17, 25-22) over Thailand with Emelys Martinez and Ana Karina Olaya playing key roles. Martinez had a superb night from the service line with 6 aces and a total harvest of 15 points, while Olaya trailed her just one point behind. Captain Valerin Carabali also reached double digits with 10 caps. On the other hand, Thailand could display their multiple digs but on the scoring department the highest number was 8 points from Piyarat Buddawong.

Colombia cruised in the opening set with Emelys Martinez and Ana Karina Olaya on the front line, creating a 25-14 score. Nothing changed when the play resumed and the team in yellow dominated 25-17, this time with captain Carabali partnering with Olaya. Although the defensive moves from Thailand were still there, Colombian girls were persistent enough to keep scoring and survive a final scare to take the match home 25-22.

Here are the post game reactions:

Antonio Rizola, Colombia coach: “It’s the first time for Colombia at a World Championship for this age-group and these players have only played a handful of international matches. Our goal here is to give the girls this kind of experience – against Poland it was the first time they played against European team and today it was the same with an Asian team. The key today was how we prepared the match, we leveled them on defense and there we could make a difference with our more powerful attack.”

Ana Karina Olaya, Colombia player: “We were very static in our first match, we couldn’t get loose and play like we know. Today we were more relaxed and that allowed us to win 3-0. Personally, I could receive and serve better so I’m happy about my performance as well.”

Jarun Niemtuptim, Thailand coach: “Before the game we believed we could win and that maybe put some extra pressure on our players. I think that’s why they didn’t play so well. Despite the defeat, the girls showed a very nice attitude and enjoyed playing, that is a characteristic of our people; we are happy with the crowd, they show us a lot of affection, but unluckily we need to focus on our game.”

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