Italy will Defend its Title Against Dominicans. Girls’ U18 Worlds.

  0 Liam Smith | August 26th, 2017 | African Volleyball, Asian Volleyball, Brazilian Volleyball, European volleyball, International Volleyball, News, NORCECA volleyball, South American Volleyball, U.S. Women's Volleyball


Italy was the run away favorites to repeat as champions even before the beginning of the tournament. Up until now, with one game left, they have not disappointed. Behind Elena Pietrini‘s amazing play, they have dominated its competition masterfully. Now, only one more opponent stand on their way, up and coming NORCECA power Dominican Republic, who staged an upset against the Russian squad.

On a lighter note, and in the less glamorous 5th – 8th place Play-offs bracket, Team USA fell to Germany. Texas bound Logan Eggleston led the way for the American squad with 13 points.

For a full read up of today’s action, you will find updated game videos, brackets and FIVB recaps below:

Championship Bracket

Round of 16 Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
  Russia  3
  South Korea  1
  Russia  3
  Japan  0
  Japan  3
  Serbia  2
  Russia  0
  Dominican Republic  3
  Argentina  3
  Brazil  1
  Argentina  0
  Dominican Republic  3
  Poland  2
  Dominican Republic  3
  Dominican Republic
  Italy  3
  Peru  0
  Italy  3
  United States  0
  Slovenia  0
  United States  3
  Italy  3
  Turkey  1
  Turkey  3
  Colombia  0
  Turkey  3   Russia
  Germany  0   Turkey
  Belarus  2
  Germany  3


Italy x Turkey

In the most exciting match of the competition so far, Italy won their semifinal contest over Turkey 3-1 (25-20, 25-22, 27-29, 26-24) after a rollercoaster of emotions and changes on the board. Italy’s Elena Pietrini rose above all scorers with 19 points, while Terry Enweonwu was also a star with 5 aces out of 16 units and Marina Lubian, vital at the final comeback, charted 15. Turkey’s Ebrar Karakurt and Derya Cebecioglu were leveled at their side with 16 tallies apiece.

Turkey were able to lead by four on the first, but Italy rebounded to 23-20 led by Enweonwu and, with a block by Fahr and an ace by Morello, rounded up the 25-20. Turkey countered to 8-4 but Italy once again recovered, this time with aces by Enweonwu, Peruzzo and Tanase for a 22-18 score that turned into a 25-22. The third set was full of suspense – Italy were behind 20-16, climbed back to 21-20 with another Tanase ace and had a handful of match balls, but a monster-block of captain Aydin gave Turkey the 29-27. And if that wasn’t enough for the fans, in the fourth Turkey led 24-18, but Italy erased the entire disadvantage via Lubian and a fantastic block by Kone, to win it right after by 26-24.

Here are the post match reactions:

Marco Mencarelli, Italy coach: “We had match points in the third set and we didn’t take them; if we want to be a strong team mentally speaking, that is something we can’t allow. We played against a very strong team as Turkey; in the fourth set we made lots of mistakes but in the end we had that sequence with one of our more constant servers, which allowed us to go for it and close the game. Now we need to stay calm and retake our routine: recover our energies, get some rest, and study our next opponent.”

Marina Lubian, Italy player: “The confidence we have in each other, the team spirit and the hunger for glory are what pushed us forward today. It was a very difficult game against a great opponent who deserved to be at this match, the same way we deserved it. But we have done nothing yet, we must keep looking forward with our heads high. We have to leave this adrenaline aside and get some rest for a very demanding day.”

Sahin Catma, Turkey coach: “Of course, we are really sad, because it was an important game for us. It was the chance to be in the final, but we couldn’t resolve the game and that’s why we’re sad. Italy didn’t win because they are better than us, they won because we did a lot of simple mistakes. At the fourth set we started to receive and serve better, but with that amount of mistakes you lose the game.”

Dominican Republic x Russia

As in their wildest dreams, Dominican Republic pulled out a tremendous semifinal win over Russia 3-0 (25-17, 28-26, 25-21). Dominican star Madeline Guillen uncorked 22 points distributed among all elements of the game, while captain Natalia Martinez was also fantastic with 16 tallies. Russia had to deal with a low spiking ratio along the game and the only player above the overall numbers of the team was Valeriya Shevchuk, with 16 points.

The Dominican side was bursting with confidence as a very efficient Martinez showed the path to the opening 25-17. The second set was another fine display of Dominican Republic, with Guillen and Martinez relentless and Feliz lending a hand, to win it 28-26 despite a streak of serves from Russia’s Soboleva that temporarily tied the scores. Russia blocked better on the next set, but also increased their errors and the Caribbean girls took advantage to 16-13 and 22-19, using smart tips behind the Russian block. The medal dream came true by 25-21 with a rock-solid Guillen block.

Here are the post match reactions:

Alexandre Ceccato, Dominican Republic coach: “I am a bit surprised with how we play – we played better than them, the only 3-0 that I have thought was for Russia but we made few mistakes and took the victory. Tomorrow we will face the candidate, Italy is clearly the favorite. Now we will celebrate and after that we will start thinking on how to beat Italy.”

Natalia Martínez, Dominican Republic captain: “As a team we never dreamt with a victory like this; we knew that we needed to make a few mistakes and avoid their block. Nobody worked harder than us to get ready for this, we deserve this. Now we need to give our best and cheer each other to defeat Italy and to represent our country with pride.”

Madeline Guillen, Dominican Republic player: “We were waiting for a tie break, they are a strong team. We will try to do our best to beat Italy tomorrow. We know that our people in Dominican Republic are celebrating our moment and we want to bring them more joy.”

Mariela Jiménez, Dominican Republic player: “We knew it would be hard, as they are bigger and stronger than us. We never thought on being here after the first few matches; I have no words to describe how I feel.”

5th – 8th Play-offs

5th–8th semifinals 5th place match
  Argentina  0
  Japan  3
7th place match
  United States  1   Argentina
  Germany  3   United States

Germany x USA

After a sloppy start, Germany defeated USA 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-17). Lina Alsmeier placed atop of the lists with 19 points, well supported by captain Cyris with 16 and opposite Luisa Keller who charted 10. USA’s Holly Campbell and Madison Horin also collected 10 units, but the best scorer on the American side was Logan Eggleston with 13.

A higher error rate was the reason for Germany to trail in the first set, and Eggleston did the rest for the US team to an opening 25-20. The Europeans responded with Cyris and Alsmeier as leaders, but they had to wait for Luisa Keller’s serves on the final track to build the 25-22. The same German duo paved the way for the team in the third set, towards scores of 15-8 and 25-17 later on, and Alsmeier remained as the USA’s main headache with an eight-point total on the fourth set to stamp the definitive 25-17.

Here are the post match reactions:

Lina Alsmeier, Germany player: “We played very well today; our reception was a little bit broken sometimes, but we gave all we had and had a quite acceptable match in attack. Our mental strength and team union are our best attributes; we are not the best squad individually, but as a team is a different thing. We are training to get to the main team, we never play for the result; what’s important is our future in the first German NT”

Jens Tietbohl, Germany coach: “Our service and concentration were the keys for today’s win. Regardless of the result, what we aim is to give the players the experience of competing in a World Championship for their best evolution. We are a disciplined team, we are strong in block/defense; what we need to do is to have less respect for the other teams.”

Nicklin Hames, USA player: “We didn’t pass that well today; our ball control went down on this last couple of games. We just made way too many errors. The first game here we were clean, didn’t make a lot of errors, but these last ones we made a ton of them and that killed us. We’re trying to get better; we’re still young and it’s the first time internationally for many of us, so this has been a really good learning experience for us.”

Jim Stone, USA coach: “Germany served very well and we didn’t pass, which has been our Achilles’ heel the entire tournament. In the third and fourth we were always out of system, always giving four attacks back. They played better than we did. We are getting better, but we knew when coming in here that we were going to be chasing teams; we were hoping to improve as the tournament went on and we have, so to get to the final eight teams it’s a good thing for us. We’re not ready for Italy, we’re not ready for Germany yet and that’s OK, it’s part of the process.”

Argentina x Japan

Japan beat hosts Argentina 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-17) with an 18-point game from their main scorer Haruna Soga. The only other player within the double digits area was Japan’s Mao Ito who scored 10 times. Argentina used all of their available players during the match and the most prolific one was Sofia Meinardi with 8, one more than Candela Salinas.

It looked like it was going to be a smooth ride for Japan as they rushed to 8-0, but Argentina found their rhythm and started digging to compete. However, the damage was already done and Japan bagged the set 25-18. The local girls relied on Meinardi and Ligorria afterwards, but Soga was too much to handle and the second set was also Asian, 25-19. Salinas went back on court and tried to trigger the comeback, but Soga and Ito gave shape to a 16-10 that quickly transformed into the final 25-17.

Here are the post match reactions:

Victoria Mayer, Argentina player: “Japan put us in trouble with their fast game and we didn’t enter the court well. Things could have been a lot better. The best for us now is to quickly forget about this match and focus on having a good closure tomorrow. We had some very nice matches in Santa Fe; we were able to recover when we were down and that’s very positive. But anyway this World Championship has been an incredible experience, I have never seen such amazing volleyball level and to be playing it at home is a dream.”

Estanislao Vachino, Argentina coach: “I think Japan was the worst possible team to face after a match like the one we had yesterday. We struggled a lot on the first set and we again failed many times on the second one, of course a bit forced by their level. We will try tomorrow to finish this great World Championship with a victory.”

Tsukasa Nakagawa, Japan player: “We have been starting not so well in our matches, but today we did and that’s why we could build a nice margin of points. We were always ahead on each 1st TTO and we could play from that. Besides, the crowd wasn’t a pressure for us. For tomorrow, we have to play like today – concentrated from the beginning to the end.”

Daichi Saegusa, Japan coach: “Yesterday we had lost our chances of reaching the final or any medal, but anyway we tried to recover and go for the fifth place. For that we had to play with all of our strength on the next two games and we did that today. The girls discussed after the game what to do today – we analysed Argentina of course, but there’s also merit on them for the way they played. And I don’t know really why, but the fans didn’t create a pressure on us.”

9th – 12th Play-offs

9th–16th quarterfinals 9th–12th semifinals 9th place match
  South Korea  3
  Serbia  1
  South Korea  0
  Brazil  3
  Brazil  3
  Poland  1
  Slovenia  1
  Peru  3
  Peru  0
  Belarus  3
  Belarus  3   South Korea
  Colombia  0   Peru
13th–16th semifinals 13th place match
  Poland  1
  Serbia  3
15th place match
  Slovenia  2   Poland
  Colombia  3   Slovenia

Brazil x Korea

Brazil had no problem against Korea. The South American team defeated the Asian squad in straight sets by scores of 25-13, 25-13 and 25-15. Julia Bergman scored 13 points and aced five times for Brazil, while Daniela Seibt and Tainara Santos finished with 11 apiece. Brazilian service was too much superior against Korea’s (13-6). Along with Bergmann, Lanna Gomes converted three aces. However the Asians enthusiasm did not stop during the match. Jong Miyun scored 8 points in just two sets of action and converted two of seven service attempts. The Brazilian team capitalized 28 Korean errors in points and gave up only 15 to mark a big difference in their favor. Brazil will look for the ninth place to finish as best seeded in this round of the tournament.

Here are the post match reactions:

Mauricio Thomas, Head Coach of Brazil: “Korea played an amazing game yesterday against Serbia with volume of game and good service. We were worried about how our team would react, but I asked them to be patient and get concentrated on the defense. Today we played an excellent match, we served well and counterattacked. I really liked the way we defended.”

Maria Villarinho, Player of Brazil: “I’m happy because of the victory and because we wanted to reach the best possible position now. Tomorrow we have a great and hard game against Belarus so we can end happily. The team went through difficult situations, but now we have grown during the competition. We hope we can win tomorrow.”

Wink Cho, Coach of Korea: “I have no comments about this. This was a tough night and I’d rather talk with my players very closely about tonight’s match.”

Peru x Belarus

Belarus stopped a Peruvian reaction in the third set and secured a 3-0 victory by scores of 25-18, 25-17 and 25-23. Belarusians struggled but, in the end, could make some adjustments to get back on track against a South American team that took 27 points by mistakes made by the Europeans. However, the Belarus’ attack was solid with Vera Kastsiuchyk and Hanna Hryshkevich who finished with 13 and 11 points respectively, while Yuliya Kisliuk and Yuliya Miniuk scored 10 apiece.

For Peru, Kiara Montes tallied 10 units while Thaisa McLeod finished with 6. Kastsiuchyk aced three times and contributed to the 7-6 final lead for Belarus. Peru also had a good server in Yadira Anchante, also with three aces after starting in the third set. However, the Europeans converted 6 blocks (three of them by Miniuk) against 3 by their South American opponents.

Here are the post match reactions:

Yuliya Miniuk, Player of Belarus: “I felt this was my best match. It was a hard game so I’m happy that we won. We want to keep winning and improving not only for the World Championship, but also for our future as a team. We were a bit upset for not getting to quarter finals, but we have to focus on get as high as possible now.”

Agata Beksha, Player of Belarus: “It’s very nice to be in Argentina. The competition is really hard, we won three games in pools phase, but then couldn’t make it to go among the best eight. It was difficult to us to got adapted to the time.”

Marco Queiroga, Head Coach of Peru: “I think we came from less to more. We could have make it better to get one set, but at the beginning we had some problems in our system. We planned to play with our service to then get benefit of our counterattack, but we couldn’t finally do it. We were so anxious to score that we lost important chances, so even they were good in attack, we didn’t capitalized our opportunities. I liked our third set where we played as equals, that’s the way we need to play every match and set. I think we have a team that can face any other and if we improve in our definition, we can change a lot our position’.

13th – 16th Play-offs

Slovenia x Colombia

Ana Olaya scored 20 points as Colombia beat Slovenia 3-2 (22-25, 25-16, 18-25, 25-16, 15-10). Along with her, Emelys Martinez registered 15 points, Manuela Ibarguen scored 14 and Darlevis Mosquera 11, with 3 aces.

On the Slovenian side, Eva Zatkovic scored 18 points while Nika Cigale closed with 14, with 4 aces. Zana Sporer added 11, including 3 aces, and Manja Jerala, with 10 units. Slovenia finished 13-8 in services, but Colombia capitalized 34 points by errors of the Europeans. The South American team coached by Brazilian Antonio Rizola gave up only 20.

Here are te post match reactions:

Ana Olaya, Player of Colombia: “We started a bit insecure, but then we found our best shape and played very good. Thank God we got the victory. I felt pretty good today, gave everything on me, but hopefully, I can give always more to the team. Now we only think about winning the last game.”

Antonio Rizola, Head Coach of Colombia: “Slovenia was just a difficult rival with more experience than us, they played very well and changed some players from the team that played yesterday- That’s why we needed some time to adjust our game, but once we did it, we won. I think it’s normal to commit mistakes as we did because of the lack of experience we have. I really enjoy the game because we fight back and our attitude was excellent. We used the experience of the other games to win this one. Tomorrow we will fight for the 13th place, that means too much for Colombia on its first experience.”

Eva Zatkovic, Player of Slovenia: “I think the game wasn’t as good as it should be. We didn’t play very well because we didn’t have enough energy on our team. Some things were good, but we did too many mistakes and that was the result of the game. I’m happy because I played, but I think I didn’t play as I wanted so I feel a little bit sad at last.”

Joze Casar, Head Coach of Slovenia: “We gave the chance to some players that weren’t playing that much and they did it pretty well. Of course, we had things to improve, we committed mistakes, but it’s okay, they’re still so young so I’m satisfied. They’re developing for the next generation, so this experience is so important so they can make a spot in the future. We will have a tough game tomorrow, but we will do our best to end the tournament with a win.”

Poland x Serbia

Serbia defeated Poland in four sets by scores of 26-24, 23-25, 25-16 and 25-12. The team coached by Jovo Cakovic needed 1 hour and 35 minutes to clinch the victory with Sara Caric as top scorer with 16 points. Along with Caric, Jovana Mirosavljevic scored 14, while Milica Milunovic tallied 13 and Isidora Rodic 11. Julia Szczurowska scored 12 for Poland that came back in the second set after a tough battle. Serbian services were key to take the lead thanks to Rada Perovic who aced three times. Serbia prevailed 10-6 in collective aces. Despite Poland finished up in the blocking duel (6-5) Isidora Rodic led in individual blocks with 4 for Serbia.

Here are the post match reactions:

Sara Caric, Player of Serbia: “I wouldn’t say this was an easy match because we already played against Poland in the pools phase and they won. Hopefully today we played better, but I think they didn’t play at their best. I’m glad we won because we have faced them several times and today we could celebrate. Now we’re focused on winning our next game.”

Jovo Cakovic, Head Coach of Serbia: “We played against them last week and we lost. Poland has now problems with their first setter, but we played better today and Milica Milunovic had a great match too. Now we want to finish the World Championship with a victory; we have already faced Colombia and I think we’re stronger.”

17th – 20th Play-offs

Mexico x China

Mexican opposite Uxue Guereca rewrote the scoring record of the competition as she rocketed 38 points to help Mexico earn a 3-2 (25-22, 21-25, 25-13, 21-25, 15-13) over China. Guereca successfully converted 33 spikes out of 68 attempts and added four blocks and one ace to round up her numbers. Behind her was wing-spiker Grecia Castro, with 13 tallies for Mexico, while Liu Yu and Jiao Dian were the main providers for China, with 20 and 14 points respectively.

With some serious serving damage and Guereca already active, Mexico controlled the entire first set until a 25-22 score. The Mexican opposite added another 8 points to her count on the following set, but Jiao Dian helped China to reach the tie by 25-21. Then, they exchanged the lead once again – Mexico woke up and rushed to 8-1 and 16-5 leads to close it with Guereca 25-13, but China had an enriched Liu Yu next and another 25-21 created the tie-breaker. The Asian side extended the momentum and gave shape to an 11-8 on the board, but Guereca spiked and blocked to bounce back 13-12. A struggle at the net closed the 15-13 for Mexico.

Here are the post match reactions:

Uxue Guereca, Mexico player: “It was a good match. We could give everything in the fifth set as we had to recover from several points we lost, but we could make it through. We improved on everything compared to our last match – reception, serve, block, attack. Yesterday we didn’t play well and today we corrected things on all elements. I feel we played well here, especially in this final win.”

Ricardo Naranjo, Mexico coach: “We improved a lot our attitude to win. We had to battle because of our ups and downs, but we did the basics pretty well, such as receiving and serving. To be able to finish with a win is very positive for Mexican volleyball. The will to win sometimes acts against us – we want to do things so well that we fail on essential things. The girls want to play such a perfect volleyball that they make mistakes; maybe we should focus on a simpler style and reduce our errors. We ought to be less self-demanding.”

Xu Jiande, China coach: “This tournament is not really a parameter for us, because our best players couldn’t be here with the team. Anyway, it was a good scrimmage for this young group of girls, and they will have to keep working hard when we get back to China.”

Cuba x Thailand

After leaving the court in defeat six times, Cuba finally celebrated at win, even though it was at their final match, by 3-2 (25-20, 23-25, 18-25, 25-16, 16-14) over a feisty Thailand. Despite the result, Cuba landed on the last place of the standings, with 2 points in the Playoff 17-20. Thailand, with 7 units, topped the four-team pool and finished 17th.

Cuba enjoyed a whole set from Ailama Cese as she scored 25 times, followed by Ivy Vila with 20 tallies and captain Elizabeth Vicet with 17. On Thailand, Piyarat Buddawong collected 21 points and Oanchisa Lonok was the other player in double figures, with 12.

With four spikes of Cese in the final track, Cuba dashed from a 20-all score to a 25-20. The team in red continued in control thanks to Cese and Vicet, but Thailand blasted in the end to generate Cuban mistakes and leveled the match 25-23. The match didn’t change right after because Cuba stepped forward, but a more focused Thailand kept failing less to advance 25-18. Another tie-breaker was yet to come as left-handed Vila did a better job for a Cuban 25-16, and the comeback was completed a while later – Cuba’s Morozo had a great service streak to put her side ahead 12-10 and wait for the 16-14 that came a while later.

Here are the post match reactions:

Elizabeth Vicet, Cuba captain: “Thailand is a very defensive team, they dig and receive very well, so we were focused on dealing with that to go home with a win. We tried to control our mistakes and give our best, and the win finally came. We changed our attitude for this result, because we did better on that we could show our desire to win. We know our final placement is not the best nor the one we wanted, so even with this victory we are aware we need to keep improving for the next competitions.”

Tomás Fernandez, Cuba coach: “We did many mistakes; when you play against a very fast team, you need to do well on reception and attack. If you don’t, things get very difficult for you. At moments, I didn’t see the girls bright enough on that, but they played with more spirit, they helped the opponent less and there we had the key to the win.”

Jarun Niemtuptim, Thailand coach: “We’re happy because we upgraded our campaign from two years ago. The goal of this team was to make it into the best 16 of the tournament, and although we couldn’t do it we are satisfied with some improvements. Our senior team works a lot with combination attacks and that was one of the things we had to work on with these girls, as well as some tactical aspects. We want these things to be transferred into something good for our first national team.”

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