Bulgaria fights from 3-0 to beat Cuba. Women’s U23 Worlds Day 3 Recap

  0 Liam Smith | September 12th, 2017 | 2017 U23 World Championships, Asian Volleyball, Brazilian Volleyball, European volleyball, International Volleyball, News, NORCECA volleyball, South American Volleyball


Bulgaria’s thrilling 4-3 comeback win over Cuba to close Day 3 of the 2017 FIVB Women’s U23 World Championship here had the victors ecstatic . More so, because it added a lot of fuel to pool B’s classification race, as favorites Turkey now stand on third place.

On Pool A, hosts Slovenia continue its Cinderella story, beating China. They remain undefeated in the tournament, having lost one set. To put things into context, Slovenia’s adult team is ranked 115th in the world, while China’s are ranked number one and just won FIVB’s Grand Champions Cup. On FIVB’s U23 rankings, they rank dead last, while China is ranked 4th. Will it continue?

Below, you’ll find updated pools and FIVB recaps from all of the day’s action.

Pool A

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  Slovenia 3 0 9 12 1 12.000 195 138 1.413
2  China 2 1 6 8 6 1.333 178 165 1.079
3  Dominican Republic 2 1 5 9 9 1.000 270 256 1.055
4  Egypt 1 2 3 8 10 0.800 217 241 0.900
5  Thailand 1 2 3 6 10 0.600 192 204 0.941
6  Argentina 0 3 1 5 12 0.417 212 260 0.815

Pool B

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  Brazil 3 0 9 12 1 12.000 198 138 1.435
2  Bulgaria 2 0 6 8 2 4.000 144 102 1.412
3  Turkey 2 1 6 8 4 2.000 168 145 1.159
4  Japan 1 2 3 7 8 0.875 204 204 1.000
5  Cuba 0 2 0 0 8 0.000 93 123 0.756
6  Kenya 0 3 0 0 12 0.000 85 180 0.472

Bulgaria x Cuba

Bulgaria staged a remarkable comeback from three sets down to edge Cuba 4-3 (10-15, 12-15, 11-15, 15-10, 15-10, 15-11, 15-6) in an hour and 36 minutes to remain undefeated and stay on track in the race for a ticket to the semifinals. Cuba remains winless after three matches.

Cuba put up an impenetrable block to stop Bulgaria for three sets, but Mirela Shahpazova got her spot in the starting lineup in the fourth set and the Balkan side somehow found their way around, applied pressure from the service line, defended extraordinarily and tied the game at 3-3. The seventh was a walkover, as Bulgaria flew to a 5-0 lead and extended the lead to 8-2 as the teams switched courts. Silvana Chausheva with 18 points and Miroslava Paskova with 16 led the Bulgarian onslaught.

Here are the post match reactions:

Bulgaria coach, Antonina Zetova: “I think the girls were very tense at the beginning as they wanted so much to win this game. That is why they didn’t play very well. These fast games do not give you any chance to turn around. We didn’t even realise it when we were trailing Cuba by three sets. I believe my second setter changed the game today. I am very happy to have two competitive setters who can win the game with their sets. I know that Cuba is a very strong team. They played very well at the beginning with good receives, smashes, and blocks. They did not leave us a chance to play our game. When we managed to tie the result that they started to make more mistakes, and we started playing more relaxed. It’s the final result that matters as this match was very important for us. We are happy to bring it home.”

Bulgaria captain, Gergana Dimitrova: “We played against a team we are not used to play with in Europe. I am very happy that we managed to come back after being three sets behind. We are very happy to win today. It was a very tough match. It’s unbelievable that we managed to come back into the match like that and win it at the end. If you are leading 3-0 in the game and only need one more set to win and the opposite team returns to game, you just fall apart.”

Cuba coach, Wilfredo Robinson: “We played very well in the first three sets. We started playing differently in the fourth set. It is very important for us that our team played so well at the beginning. Sadly, our attitude changed in the fourth and after that we could not recover. We had some problems in offence, in attacking. Bulgaria came back and we could not keep the pace.”

Cuba captain, Diaris Perez: “To win the fourth set after leading by three was very important to us. But, we made too many errors. We think that our attitude in the game changed and we could not regain our spirit.”

Brazil x Japan

Brazil dropped their first set at the 2017 FIVB Women’s U23 today, but overcame Japan 4-1 (14-16, 15-13, 15-11, 15-10) to remain undefeated after three rounds of play. Mayany Souza with a tournament high of eight blocks and captain Drussyla Costa with a total of 12 points led Brazil, who found the patience to keep replying to some brilliant defending of the Japanese, though at times they struggled in reception. However, it was Misaki Yamauchi and Nanami Hirose with 13 points each for Japan who were top scorers of the game.

Brazil had the chance to take lead when they went 14-13 up in the first, but Japan rallied for three straight points, including an ace by Haruka Kanamori for set point to finish the set. Japan tried to react in the fourth when they took a 6-10 lead before Brazil closed in to tie the score for the first time at 12-12 and then took the set on their fourth set point.

Here are the post math reactions:

Brazil coach, Wagner Coppini: “The match was quite difficult because when we play against the Asian school it’s always hard. All their players are technically very good. We lost one set today but the most important thing is that we won. Tomorrow is the day off but we intend to practice, practice, practice.”

Brazil captain, Drussyla Costa: “It’s quite difficult at this stage of the championships. When we play against a team from Asia it’s quite complicated because they play very good defence and it is very hard to play. But, when we play with good reception it becomes easier to attack.”

Japan coach, Kiyoshi Abo: “I am very disappointed and sad that we lost today against Brazil. All our players played well and I have no bad word for them. We will try to improve our attacking and receiving. We need to be more focused. We will give our best in the matches to come.”

Japan captain, Misaki Yamauchi: “In the first set that we won, we served well and in this case it’s easy to score points. But in the other sets, which were all very close, towards the end of the sets our attacking was blocked by Brazilian blockers. I hope that our play will improve for the next matches as well as the results.”

Slovenia x China

Host Slovenia continued their magnificent performance to cruise past China in straight sets (15-11, 15-12, 15-5, 15-8) in a match that kept the spectators on their toes for the entirety of its 54 minutes. Slovenia remain unbeaten while China have dropped to a 2-1 win-loss record. Slovenia’s Iza Mlakar led the match scorers with eleven points, while Yunlu Wang contributed eight points for the loser side.

Iza Mlakar and Saša Planinšec had a scoring showdown, leading their sides to a well-deserved first set encounter. The Asians did their best to resist but experienced huge difficulties with the sharp Slovenian serves. The hosts continued their winning streak in the following sets, offering China no room for improvement. Mlakar ended the party with a blistering winner from the right side to secure Slovenia their third consecutive win her in Ljubljana.

Here are the post match reactions:

Slovenia coach Alessandro Chiappini: “I think today we might have delivered the best performance so far since I have taken over this team. We pushed strong with service and played good in defense. Although China is an extremely strong team, with our performance we did not allow them to shine. Now, we first need to rest our minds as playing three consecutive matches was quite difficult.”

Slovenia’s Sasa Planinsec: “We felt great energy on the court today. We tried to make the most out of every ball. So far, it worked out very well for us. We managed to follow our gameplan from A to Z. We feel very happy right now.”

China coach Wu Sheng: “First I would like to congratulate the Slovenians for their win. Slovenia served well today and we committed many mistakes from the serving line. I think this was what made the difference.”

China captain Cheng Long: “We didn’t play well today, we made too many mistakes on serve and in defence. We also were not blocking as we should. The Slovenian team was just playing better. I hope we will improve in our next matches.”

Dominican Republic x Argentina

After a sluggish start, the Dominican Republic bounced back courageously to book a hard-earned 4-3 (21-23, 12-15, 15-12, 17-15, 16-14, 20-22, 15-5) win over Argentina. Thus, the Dominicans have improved their records to 2-1 wins while Argentina are still waiting for their first victory. It was the first seven-set match so far in the competition, lasting 2 hours and 3 minutes. Dominican Republic’s Madeline Guillen and Argentina’s Sol Piccolo booked 22 points apiece for their squads while Daniela Bulaich added another 20 kills for the South Americans.

The Dominicans started nervous, lacking determination and freshness in the early stages of the match. On the other side, Argentina displayed a strong offense with 16 successful attacks and 4 block winners in the opening set. It turned out to be the longest (24 minutes) and highest scoring set (23-21) so far in the tournament. The South Americans kept the upper hand in the second set (15-12) but could not stop the Dominican power in the third period (15-12). Jineiry Martinez ended it with a scorching spike through the middle. It was the turning point of the match. The “Queens of the Caribbean” continued their run in the fourth (17-15), fifth (16-14) and seventh (15-5) set, eventually adding a hard-earned 4-3 win to their scorebook.

Here are the post match reactions:

Dominican coach Wagner Pacheco: “Argentina played well and I think that they really did a great job when it came to the most important points at the end of each set. However, we had the chance to win this match more easily.”

Dominican captain Yokaty Perez: “Argentina is a team which plays well. They do not make many mistakes. We did many of them today, especially in the end of the sets, when we were not able to conclude. But luckily we still won.”

Argentina coach Martin Lopez: “It was our best game so far. However, the Dominicans stayed calm in the deciding set.”

Argentina’s Irene Verasio: “I think that we have improved our game comparing to the first matches. The game was tied; both teams had the chance to win today. We know each other well as we played many times against each other – the result could have easily been different. The Dominicans have been more determined in the net actions today.

Turkey x Kenya

Turkey disposed of Kenya 4-0 (15-6, 15-5, 15-12, 15-11) in just 49 minutes. They still have a good a shot at making the semifinals. The result leaves Kenya winless after three matches. Turkey coach Ataman Guneyligil brought on several of his subs after the first set, but the match remained one-sided even in the third when Kenya kept the pressure on until the very end. Hande Baladin, one of only three players to start in all four sets, led the scoring for Turkey with 13 points, while Ebrar Karakurt, who only played in the first two, scored nine.

Here are the post match reactions:

Turkey coach, Ataman Guneyligil: “We made too many easy mistakes. I advised my team to be more focused and not do so many errors, but we did so many of them today. Tomorrow is a free day and we have to focus now on our next two opponents, Japan and Bulgaria. We have not yet shown our style of play. I do not understand this. But we will solve it.”

Turkey captain, Çagla Akin: “We are still not playing our game, we make too many mistakes and we have to solve this. We have to concentrate, do less mistakes and play our game.”

Kenya coach, Catherine Mabwi: “My team was okay today. Fighting spirit was a bit better than the last match yesterday. The players were able to score quite a number of good points and you could see good plays from them. The only problem that has cost us at this match is that we lost quite a lot of our serves. We lost so many serves. We were able to play well in attacking today.”

Kenya captain, Shyrine Jepkemboi: “These are our first international games. In the third set we saw that we can fight Turkey. We played better than yesterday, but we made too many mistakes with our serves and some in reception.”

Egypt x Thailand

Egypt became the first African team to win a match in the history of the FIVB Women’s U23 World Championship. The team coached by Maged Mohamed overcame Thailand in a marathon match 4-2 (15-9, 7-15, 15-11, 9-15, 16-14, 15-4). Egypt’s Aya Elshamy had an all-around game with 17 attacks, four blocks and one ace to lead the Egyptian double-digit scorers. Aya Ahmed added eleven winners. Wipawee Srithong contributed 17 points for the loser side.

The two teams exchanged lead in the first four sets with no side gaining a crucial advantage. The decisive moment of the match came in the end of the fifth set with Egypt showing more determination to conclude in extremis. The Asian side fought hard but could not come back in the sixth and last set.

Here are the post match reactions:

Egypt coach Maged Mohamed: “This win is even more important for us as we needed to replace our starting-six setter due to injury. We are happy to be back in the competition and I hope we will continue on this level.”

Egypt’s Mariam Ahmed: “Of course we are very happy. We have been waiting so long for this win. Tonight’s victory keeps our hopes alive for a quarterfinal spot.”

Thailand coach Chamnan Dokmai: “Some of my players are very young. We did not start well and missed some discipline. My players did not follow the gameplan.”

Thailand captain Tichaya Boonlert: “We could not stop Aya Elshamy, she played very well. However, now we will be even more motivated for the next matches.”


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