Korea & Poland Overcome Set-Deficits for Spots in WGP Group 2 Finals

  0 Derek Johnson | July 29th, 2017 | Asian Volleyball, European volleyball, FIVB World Grand Prix, International Volleyball


  • Group 2
  • July 29, 2017
  • FIVB World Grand Prix Semifinals
  • Ostrava, Czech Republic
  • Final Four
  • Schedule/Results

In the first semifinal of the day, the top two teams from pool play squared off in Korea and Germany. The European side dominated the first two sets as they totaled 50 points to Korea’s 32. The Asian side flipped things around though and overcame a 2-0 set deficit to advance to the Group 2 Championship match tomorrow.

The second match featured another comeback, although it wasn’t quite as dramatic. Czech Republic scored the first set playing in front of their home crowd, but could not win another as Poland nabbed the final three sets of the match for a 3-1 win.

With the results, Korea will play Poland in the Group 2 championship for a shot at promotion, while Germany and Czech Republic meet with an opportunity to finish on the award podium in third-place.

KOREA DEF. GERMANY 3-2 (19-25, 13-25, 25-21, 25-18, 15-12)

Coming into the day, Korea and Germany held the top records after pool play as both went 8-1. Germany’s only loss came to Korea earlier in the tournament, and it looked as if they’d get revenge, but Korea overcame a 2-0 set deficit to move on to the championship tomorrow.

The European side jumped ahead early and put Korea’s backs against the ropes. The first set was won 25-19, with the momentum carrying to the second set that saw Germany out in front 6-0. They would take that lead and pile on, as they won the most lopsided of any of the sets, 25-13. In addition to three Germans who recorded double-digit points, Louisa Lippman came up big as she had a team-high 24 points (21 kills on 54 attempts, two aces, one block).

Leading 2-0 in sets, Germany was tied with Korea 18-18 in the third. Finally, the Asian side hit a run by winning seven of 10 to take the set. After Germany was so close to sweeping they match, they had difficulty recovering with Korea quickly evening the match at 2-2 in sets.

Whereas Germany showed a potent offense with five athletes at nine or more points, Korea had just two. They did have a trio of players score eight points though, but the difference for Korea was Yeon Koung Kim, who led the match with 27 points. In addition to her three aces, she pounded down 23 kills on 53 attempts, including several in the fifth set. Her performance helped the team pull ahead and maintain a lead, as they would take the fifth 15-12 to complete the comeback.

Germany won most of the team stat categories as they were fueled by their dominant second set. They collected more kills (64-60), blocks (10-5) and aces (7-3) as they logged four more total points with Korea having nine less errors.

“It was a difficult start for us in this match,” Korean head coach Hong Sungjin told FIVB post-match. “We are still kind of tired from exhausting matches we played before this tournament and from travelling. Germany played with concentration and it was not easy after losing two sets. But we finally found the key to improve our game, and we managed to take a 3-2 victory. We are very happy. It is an important win for us.”

Korea moves on to the finals with a 9-1 record, as they look to defeat Poland and take the Group 2 title for a shot at promotion. The losing team, Germany, will play a road match against Czech Republic with third-place on the line. The Germans are 8-0 vs. all other competition in the 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix, but are now 0-2 vs. Korea.

POLAND DEF. CZECH REPUBLIC 3-1 (25-27, 25-20, 25-21, 25-20)

With the host team getting the privilege of playing the lowest ranked team, Czech Republic hosted Poland in a battle of the third and fourth-best teams in pool play. Both totaled a 7-2 record in the three weeks prior, as Poland proved to be the top 7-2 team with a four-set victory.

Early on, Czech Republic was the team to beat, as they won in extra points 27-25. No one player dominated for the team, but it was a balanced attack as Andrea Kossanyiova, Michaela Mlejnkova and Marie Toufarova all had 12 points in the match.

After falling down 1-0 in sets, Poland responded. Monika Bociek, who didn’t play in the first set, came on in the second as a substitution and even started the third and fourth. Her presence was felt with nine points, as only Agnieszka Kakolewska (18 points) and Malwina Smarzek (16 points) had more. They all loomed large, as Poland would win the second, third and fourth sets by four/five point margins.

Although Czech Republic netted more blocks (14-10) and aces (5-4), they were outdone by a strong Polish attack that saw eight more spikes. Additionally, Poland had nine less team errors throughout the match.

“It was a difficult match today,” Polish head coach Jacek Nawrocki told FIVB post-match. “We managed to play concentrated, but it was not easy. We are very happy to make it through to the final. Korea are going to be favourite tomorrow, but we will see.”

The third-place match will still mean a lot for Czech Republic, who have never won eight matches in a World Grand Prix. It’s also an opportunity to finish on the award stage in front of their home crowd. It won’t be easy though, as they play Germany, who they lost to in their match prior to this one, giving them a two-match losing streak.

Similar to Czech Republic, Poland suffered a loss in the final day of the pool stage to the team they’ll see tomorrow. They’ll head into their match with Korea at 8-2 overall in the tournament and a chance for the Group 2 crown in 2017.

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