2017 FIVB VOLLEYBALL WORLD GRAND PRIX – GROUP 3 CHAMPIONSHIP
- Group 3 Championship Match
- July 22nd
- Canberra, Australia
- FIVB World Grand Prix Group 3 Championship Match
Undefeated. A word that will be synonymous with Hungary’s debut in the World Grand Prix. They rolled through the competition, winning eight times in eight matches, including in the final over Australia 3-0. In fact, six of the wins came via sweep, with another lasting four sets – a prior win over Australia. The culmination was a gold medal and another dominant performance to end the tournament.
The team that Hungary dispatched in the semifinals – France – won third-place in the event, as Venezuela did not make it to the final four, causing another forfeit.
HUNGARY DEF. AUSTRALIA 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-20)
In a match for the Group 3 championship and a chance at promotion to Group 2, Hungary matched up with Australia for the top spot on the award stage.
After taking down then-unbeaten France 3-2 in the semifinals, Hungary was ready to face Australia, playing in front of their home fans. It was a different arrival for Australia, who made it to the semifinals as hosts after a 1-5 mark in pool play. Then, Venezuela never arrived, causing a forfeit and giving Australia the win, creating this match that would go to the European side in three sets.
Hungary didn’t dominate any of the stat categories, although they showed to be the better team in most fazes of the match. They totaled more kills (49-41), blocks (7-4), aces (4-3), digs (45-41) and had seven less team errors in what was a clean match for themselves.
“We knew Australia were going to play special from the beginning, especially that they are playing in front of their home crowd,” Hungarian head coach Alberto Salamoni told FIVB after the win. “I think we deserved to win this tournament because we were undefeated. I am proud of the team. For a foreign coach like me, this is such a fantastic achievement for a small country like Hungary.”
Australia put up a good fight behind the home crowd, as Rachel Rourke totaled 15 points with Eliza Hynes adding 14. As a team they threw down 41 kills on 106 swings. It wasn’t enough to overcome the Hungarian offense, that netted 49 kills on 99 swings, led by Greta Szakmary (19 kills on 34 attempts), Nikolett Soós (10 kills on 25 attempts) and Edina Dobi (seven kills on 11 attempts).
“We came here for the gold and that is exactly what we did today,” Szakmary, who led the match with 21 total points, said post-match to FIVB. “This makes me really happy right now.”
Hungary already became the first ever nation to win its first seven matches in World Grand Prix history, and now they tacked another on at eight. It was as good of a debut as you could ask for, as the European nation came out on top of Group 3 with a sweep of Australia that symbolized how strong they were during the course of the tournament.