Despite hosting Pool 5, Bulgaria has already dropped the first pair of matches on the weekend. Though they were able to salvage a point in a 2-3 loss to Serbia on Friday, they were unable to finish late in any set in a 0-3 sweep at the hands of Australia. Bulgaria has fallen further away from qualification and are sitting in 10th place in the standings ahead of their match with Russia on Sunday. What is more damaging than the loss was the injury to their setter, Georgi Bratoev.
Bulgaria was looking to make a comeback after falling 0-2 in the match and were up 7-5 in Set 3. A jump-float serve by Trent O’Dea of Ausralia was passed by Teodor Salaparov. Bratoev gave the ball to Todor Skirmov on a pipe attack in the back row. The attack was dug by Lincoln Alexander Williams, but his play on the ball did not clear the height of the net. It went straight to Harrison Peacock who had to react quickly to bump set the ball. The ball travelled close to the net where Paul Sanderson jumped to engage in a joust at the net with Brataoev and Svetoslav Goetsev. Sanderson was able to tip the ball over the block and to the court. Upon returning to the court it appears Bratoev landed on the foot of Sanderson.
Bratoev fell to the court immediately and was tended to by the training staff. He had to leave the court on a stretcher. While the team has not released an official update on the status of his injury, media reports out of Bulgaria are suspecting his ankle is broken. This is a blow to the Bulgarian team for the rest of this competition and possibly the upcoming World Championships. This is compounded by the fact they will already be without Tsvetan Sokolov for the remainder of the summer. The opposite is recovering from knee surgery and is expected to miss 6 months.