2017 FIVB VOLLEYBALL WORLD GRAND PRIX
- Group 1
- July 7th – August 6th
- FIVB World Grand Prix Round 3
- Pool I1
- Cuiaba, Brazil
Both Brazil and the Netherlands needed a win on Sunday to to ensure advancement to the FIVB Final 6. While the Dutch made it dicey, needing a 5th-set tie-breaker to beat winless Belgium, both teams got the wins they needed to eliminate Japan and advance.
Brazil’s win came over the United States (who were already clinched to the final 6), and gave them a perfect 9-point, 3-0 weekend. That results in an $80,000 payday for winning the pool.
Final Pool I1 Standings Below:
Note: while prize money is awarded for pool winners, all results from 3 weeks of play are put into one giant, 12-team, Group 1 table to determine the 6 teams that advance.
Brazil def. Unnited States 3-1 (25-20, 25-13, 18-25, 25-18)
The Americans, in spite of having their spot in the Final 6 sealed, by-and-large used their standard rotation in Saturday’s finisher against Brazil. The two exceptions to that were that reigning VolleyMob NCAA Player of the Year Sarah Wilhite started the last two sets while the team’s #2 scorer Madison Kingdon sat them out; and Megan Courtney started all 4 sets in places of the touranment’s leading server coming into the match Michelle Bartsch-Hackley.
So Brazil beat an almost full-force, if undermotivated, American squad pretty comfortably, and they did it with the same formula that they’ve used throughout the tournament: few errors (only 13 points given up), a dominant block (24 total), and a high hitting percentage (45%).
The Americans, meanwhile, had a big blocking game of their own – 15, including 5 from setter Carly Lloyd – but were mistake-prone. Tey had 22 hitting errors and 9 service errors in the match.
Brazil was led by 19 points from Natalia Pereira (15 kills, 3 blocks, and an ace), and got an additional 18 from Adenizia Da Silva (12 kills, 5 blocks, 1 ace). Da Silva ended preliminary play with the highest blocks-per-set average of any player in Group 1 (36 blocks, 33 sets, 1.09/set).
Courtney, in place of Bartsch-Hackley, scored 12 points on 10 kills and 2 blocks. She also had 6 hitting and 2 service aces, however, with a respectable 41% success rate but just a .167 efficiency rate.
Netherlands def. Belgium 3-2 (29-27, 18-25, 25-12, 22-25, 15-8)
The Netherlands’ final match was a microcosm of their tournament so far. At points, like the 25-12 win in the 3rd set, the Dutch were absolutely dominant and performed the way they were supposed to. At other points, they were sloppy and almost gave the match away.
But in the end, they had just enough to beat the Belgians – who were one bad rotation away from pulling the upset and ending the Dutch’s tournament after a promising 5-1 start.
For their effort, Belgium picked up 1 point – their 2nd point of a winless tournament. The Netherlands got the 6th win they needed to hold of Japan for a spot in the Final 6.
The Netherlands were led offensively by Anne Buijs, who had 23 points on 18 kills and 4 blocks (she led the Dutch in both categories), plus an ace. It took her 59 swings to get those 18 kills, however, making under a 31% success rate. Buijs, the Netherlands’ second-leading scorer in the tournament, so far, has been a big part of the Dutch difference. Through the team’s first 6 games, she was hitting at a 42.2% success rate (74 kills on 175 swings). In the last 3, she’s hitting nearly 10 points lower at 33.0% (42 kills in 127 swings).
As the Dutch have fed her the ball more, she’s struggled to remain as efficient on the outside.
Belgium out-blocked the Netherlands 13-11, out-served them 11-5, but also gave up 28 points on errors – to just 18 given away by the Netherlands. That’s one spot where the Netherlands played well, keeping their errors relatively low, but that won’t be enough in the Final 6.
Belgium was led by 20 points from Charlotte Leys and 16 from Kaja Grobelna. They also had 5 players with a pair of aces each (including Leys and Grobelna).