2018 MEDITERRANEAN GAMES (INDOOR MEN’S VOLLEYBALL):
- Tarragona, Spain
- June 22-July 1, 2018
The Mediterranean Games, a collection of nations to compete in a myriad of sports including volleyball, is starting in 2018 as opposed to its normal four-year cycle of 2009, 2013, 2017 after the host needed to push it back a tad. For men’s volleyball, pool play has now come to a close as we head to the quarterfinals to help determine the champion.
In total, there were four different pools, each consisting of a trio of teams. Following a quick round-robin, the lowest ranked team in each pool was eliminated with the top two moving on to the quarterfinals. On the men’s side, the semifinals will play out on June 29.
ITALY DEF. CROATIA 3-0
- Italy def. Croatia 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-23)
- Italy moves on to the semis at 3-0; Croatia falls to the 5th-8th place classification at 1-2
The defending Mediterranean Games champions are now two wins closer to defending their title after sweeping Croatia for a spot in the semifinals. Croatia meanwhile falls to the 5th-8th place classification.
It wasn’t a huge edge for Italy in spikes (30-26) or blocks (3-3), but instead the serve where they logged 11 aces to Croatia’s three. Add to it, likely a direct causation of a more aggressive serve creating chaos, that Croatia had eight more team errors, and the Italians wind up with a 3-0 win. Individually, Sebastiano Milan (13 points) was the only player in double-digit scoring for either side and was followed by Roberto Russo (9 points) for Italy and Leo Andric (9 points) for Croatia.
GREECE DEF. FRANCE 3-0
- Greece def. France 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 25-15)
- Greece moves on to the semis at 2-1; France falls to the 5th-8th place classification at 2-1
After winning their pool, France was a clear-cut favorite over Greece – in fact they were a -900 betting line favorite to show how extensive it was per Bovada. Greece gave no favors to their expectations though, as they not only pulled off the upset but did so in straight sets.
Both teams were close to even across the board in spikes (34-32 Greece), blocks (5-4 Greece) and aces (4-4), but the difference was that the French were too wild and made too many errors. While Greece had 15 team errors, France racked up an incredible 37, a number that would lead to a loss for likely any team in just three sets. Yacine Louati (14 points) did his best to keep France in the game, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Nikos Zoupani (12 points) and Panagiotis Pelekoudas (10 points).
EGYPT DEF. TURKEY 3-0
- Egypt def. Turkey 3-0 (25-21, 27-25, 25-19)
- Egypt moves on to the semis at 2-1; Turkey falls to the 5th-8th place classification at 2-1
In another surprising result, Egypt took down Turkey – who finished top four in the 2013 event and went 2-0 in their group – for a spot in the semifinals. Adding to the surprise was the fact that it was just three sets, with Turkey’s spirits appearing broken after losing a tough second game in extra points.
The block turned out to be the biggest edge favoring the Egyptians, as a 10-4 edge also helped them to six more spikes. Metin Toy (17 points) did his best in leading Turkey, but Ahmed Salah (18 points) and Ahmed Deyaa Omar (14 points) helped lead their side to victory.
SPAIN DEF. TUNISIA 3-0
- Spain def. Tunisia 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-18)
- Spain moves on to the semis at 3-0; Tunisia falls to the 5th-8th place classification at 1-2
The defending runner-ups in this event couldn’t muster enough to overtake the home team in a bid for the semifinals. The result is that Spain moves on to the content of the local fans while Tunisia won’t be able to improve on their 2013 finish and can now max out at 5th.
Neither serve was particularly impressive and while Spain was a bit more successful with the block it was their efficiency in terminating that was the difference. In total, they wound up with 46 kills and 18 team errors compared to just 35 kills and 20 team errors for the Tunisians. Individually, Andres Villena (25 points) was unstoppable for Spain and was key in thwarting Hamza Nagga (20 points) and his strong play.