Iran Fends Off Bulgaria, Poland Sweeps Puerto Rico in Pool D

  0 Wendy Mayer | September 13th, 2018 | European volleyball, International Volleyball, News, NORCECA volleyball, Previews & Recaps

2018 FIVB Men’s World Championships – Preliminary Pool D

  • Sept. 12-18, 2018
  • Palace of Culture and Sports; Varna, Italy
  • Pool D: No. 3 Poland, No. 8 Iran, No. 14 Bulgaria, No. 16 Cuba, No. 18 Finland, No. 29 Puerto Rico

Poland was dominant in all phases of the game against Puerto Rico, earning its second win of the World Championships. Iran also moved to 2-0 with a four-set win over co-hosts Bulgaria.

Poland def. Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-15)

“We played a controlled game, using a lot of players,” Polish coach Vital Heynen said. “We try to keep all of them ready to play on a good level further down the tournament but we still managed to win clearly. I think we dominated on serve. In general that was a good game for us. And again we felt a great atmosphere here and we would like to thank all of our supporters.”

The Poles picked up the win despite sitting Piotr Nowakowski, Bartosz Kurek and Artur Szalpuk for the entire match. Szalpuk (20) and Kurek (17) were the top scorers in Poland’s tournament opening win over Cuba on Wednesday, while Nowakowski chipped in nine points.

Stepping into the spotlight on Thursday were outside hitter Aleksander Silwka (13) and middle blockers Mateusz Bieniek (12) and Jakub Kochanowski (11), with each turning in double-digit scoring efforts. Silwka and Kochanowski put down nine kills apiece, while Bieniek added seven putaways. Silwka also led the team on the block with three stuffs, while Bienek served up three aces and added two stuffs.

Opposite Maurice Torres notched eight points, all on kills, while middle Jessie Colon added six points with five kills and a block. Thirteen players saw court time in the match, with seven scoring.

Poland served up 11 aces, while allowing none. The victors also outdid Puerto Rico in kills (39-24) and blocks (10-3).

Poland put together an 11-3 run midway through Set 1 to jump ahead 17-8 en route to a 25-14 win. In Set 2, the Poles used a 7-0 run to go up 14-7 before closing out a 25-12 victory.

The Polish side made good on 72 percent of its attacks in Set 3 and added in four aces to finish off the sweep.

Despite the crushing loss, Puerto Rico is not giving up the fight though.

“We could not keep up the high playing level of Poland’s team,” coach Oswald Antonetti said. “Competing in such a big tournament is something completely new for us and it influences our performance for sure. Despite that we are here to fight and we try to improve our game in every aspect.”

Iran def. Bulgaria 3-1 (25-22, 25-20, 22-25 25-19)

Iran boasted the advantage in all four sets, although the host Bulgarians rallied in each, pulling off a comeback in Set 3. Errors were the biggest factor in the match as Bulgaria gave away 36 points, while Iran committed just 20 miscues.

Iran notched one more kills (53-52), while Bulgaria served up six aces, while allowing just two. Both teams managed seven blocks.

Mohammadjavad Manavinezhad led a group of four Iranian players with double-digit scoring efforts. Manavinezhad notched 21 points with 19 kills, a block and an ace. Seyed Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi (11), Amir Ghafour (11) and Ali Shafiel (10) rounded out the top scorers. Shafiel put up four blocks, while Eraghi added two stuffs. Manavinezhad and Eraghi served up the team’s two aces.

Todor Skrimov was tops among the Bulgarians with 17 points (15 kills, 1 block, 1 ace). Nikolay Uchikov, Viktor Yosifov and Nikolay Penchev added 10 points apiece. Uchikov downed 10 kills, while Yosifov put up three blocks and served up two aces. Penchev notched seven kills, two aces and a block. Valentin Bratoev, who was the leading scorer in the team’s Sunday win over Finland scored just four points, all on kills, after starting the first set and returning as a substitute in Set 4.

Iran built a 13-8 lead in Set 1 and took advantage of Bulgarian miscues en route to a 25-22 win. Down 19-12, Bulgaria rallied to within two at 23-21, but the Iranians held on for the win.

Bulgaria boasted a slight 8-7 edge in Set 2, but a 7-2 run by Iran turned the tables and cruised to a 25-20 win.

The teams were tied at 18 late in Set 3 when video replay came to the home team’s aid. Coach Plamen Konstantinov was proven correct and the Bulgarians were awarded a 21-19 advantage. Viktor Yosifov came through after that with a block and a kill to extend the match with a 25-22 victory.

The teams played to a 12-all tie in Set 4 before Iran pulled ahead with 5-2 run. Bulgaria cut the margin to one twice, but could not break through as the Iranians closed out the match at 25-19.

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  Poland 2 0 6 6 1 6.000 171 117 1.462
2  Iran 2 0 6 6 1 6.000 172 137 1.255
3  Bulgaria 1 1 3 4 3 1.333 161 159 1.013
4  Cuba 0 1 0 1 3 0.333 76 96 0.792
5  Finland 0 1 0 0 3 0.000 62 75 0.827
6  Puerto Rico 0 2 0 0 6 0.000 92 150 0.613
Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
9 Sep 20:40 Bulgaria  3–0  Finland 25–21 25–19 25–22 75–62 P2 Report
12 Sep 17:00 Iran  3–0  Puerto Rico 25–19 25–14 25–18 75–51 P2 Report
12 Sep 20:30 Cuba  1–3  Poland 18–25 19–25 25–21 14–25 76–96 P2 Report
13 Sep 17:00 Puerto Rico  0–3  Poland 14–25 12–25 15–25 41–75 P2 Report
13 Sep 20:40 Iran  3–1  Bulgaria 25–22 25–20 22–25 25–19 97–86
14 Sep 17:00 Finland   Cuba 0–0
14 Sep 20:40 Bulgaria   Puerto Rico 0–0
15 Sep 17:00 Cuba   Iran 0–0
15 Sep 20:30 Poland   Finland 0–0
16 Sep 17:00 Puerto Rico   Finland 0–0
16 Sep 20:40 Cuba   Bulgaria 0–0
17 Sep 17:00 Cuba   Puerto Rico 0–0
17 Sep 20:30 Iran   Poland 0–0
18 Sep 17:00 Finland   Iran 0–0
18 Sep 20:40 Bulgaria   Poland 0–0


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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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