2018 FIVB Men’s World Championships – Friday, September 14, Daily Summary
After Day 4, teams have begun to separate themselves atop the four pools.
- With a four-set win over Japan, Slovenia put itself atop Pool A alongside Italy with six points each.
- A French victory over Egypt has the team in the top spot in Pool B temporarily with a 2-1 record and seven points. Canada and Brazil, which had the day off, are not far behind at 2-0 with six and five points respectively.
- Through seven matches, Russia and the United States are in the driver’s seat in Pool C, although the Russians hold the advantage in points with six (two sweeps) vs. the Americans’ four points (two 5-set wins). The teams are set to meet on Saturday.
- Poland and Iran, who are top Pool D at 2-0, rested on Friday, while Bulgaria (2-1) punched its ticket to the next round with a sweep of Puerto Rico, tying the top group with six points.
Match of the Day: Slovenia vs. Japan
No. 23 Slovenia def. No. 12 Japan with help from a 19-point effort by captain Tine Arnaut and 13 blocks. Slovenia was simply better in every way in the match, leading in kills (50-46), blocks (13-1) and aces (6-2).
Despite swapping out liberos and utilizing 12 players in the match, Japan could not find an answer. Yuki Ishikawa did his best to carry the team with 15 points, including five in the Set 2 victory, but could not contend with a balanced effort by the Slovenians.
“Today we had the chance to win at least another set, but Slovenia played well in blocking and put pressure on us with their serve,” Japanese coach Yuichi Nakagaichi said. “Anyway, the competition continues and we have to focus on the next match.”
Four players posted double-digit tallies for the victors: Urnaut (19), Mitja Gasparini (12), Jan Kozamernik (11) and Alen Pajenk (10). Kozamernik led the blocking efforts with four stuffs, while Arnaut added three.
“We played good volleyball against a tough opponent,” Slovenian coach Slobodan Kovac said. “Now we must improve our serve in terms of making less mistakes; anyway our attackers did a good job and also our blocks were very effective, so I am happy with the performance of my team.”
Player of the Day: Lincoln Williams, Australia
After coming in as a key replacement in Set 3 of the Aussie comeback effort vs. the United States, opposite Lincoln Williams was tabbed as a starter vs. Cameroon and proved coach Mark Lebedew right on the call, amassing a match-high 22 points with 21 kills and an ace. Williams is now the leading scorer of the tournament with 43 points in the Volleyroos’ three matches.
Stat Leaders – After Friday, September 14
- Best Scorer: Lincoln Williams, Australia (43 points)
- Best Spiker: Ivan Zaytsev, Italy (72.73% success rate)
- Best Blocker: Jasper Diefenbach, Netherlands (1.43 blocks per set)
- Best Server: Ivan Zaytsev, Italy (1.17 aces per set)
- Best Setter: Micah Christenson, United States (12.20 assists per set)
- Best Digger: Steven Marshall, Canada (3.50 digs per set)
- Best Receiver: Klemen Cebulj, Slovenia (51.02% efficiency)
Pool-by-Pool Results and Recap Links – Friday, September 14
- Pool A: Slovenia def. Japan 3-1; Argentina def. Dominican Republic 3-0 (LINK)
- Pool B: Netherlands def. China 3-1; France def. Egypt 3-0 (LINK)
- Pool C: Australia def. Cameroon 3-1; Russia def. Tunisia 3-0 (LINK)
- Pool D: Finland def. Cuba 3-1; Bulgaria def. Puerto Rico 3-0 (LINK)
The top 4 teams in each pool advance to the second round of the competition.
Slovenia will look to continue its ascent to the top of the group on Saturday when it faces Belgium. Meanwhile the Italians will have to fend off the Argentines fresh off a confidence boosting sweep of the Dominican Republic. Both results could go a long way to determining which teams move on.
France gets a much-needed day off on Saturday after playing three straight days. The team must watch however to see how the Canada and Brazil results pan out as they could find themselves in third place at the end of the day. The day of rest could not come at a better time as the team will have more recovery time for Earvin Ngapeth and Kevin Leroux, who both sat out on Friday.
The match of the tournament could come on Saturday as the top two teams in Pool C face off. A rested United States team needs to accumulate some points after two five-set victories, while Russia will look to solidify itself with a third straight win. A Friday match against Tunisia barely registered for the Russians, who were able to utilize their bench and still win handily.
With a three-way tie at the top of the standings, Poland and Iran will look to separate themselves from Bulgaria with victories over teams in the bottom half. Both had Friday off and should be ready to overpower their foes.
Saturday, September 15 Schedule
Pool A – Florence, Italy
- Belgium vs. Slovenia, 17:00 local time
- Italy vs. Argentina, 21:15 local time; 16:15 Argentina time
Pool B – Ruse, Bulgaria
- Canada vs. China, 17:00 local time; 10 a.m. Canadian time; 22:00 China time
- Netherlands vs. Brazil, 20:30 local time; 19:30 Netherlands time; 14:30 Brazil time
Pool C – Bari, Italy
- Serbia vs. Tunisia, 17:00 local time; 16:00 Tunisia time
- United States vs. Russia, 20:30 local time; 14:30 ET; 21:30 Russia time
Pool D – Varna, Bulgaria
- Cuba vs. Iran, 17:00 local time; 10 a.m. Cuba time; 18:30 Iran time
- Poland vs. Finland, 20:30 local time; 19:30 Poland time