Seeds Hold True As Belarus, Italy, Belgium Dominate

  0 Wendy Mayer | May 31st, 2017 | European volleyball, International Volleyball, News

FIVB World Championships – European Qualification Women

Italy, Belgium and Belarus cruised to sweeps of their respective foes to kick off Pool D play in Kortrijk, Belgium.

Italy defeated Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium topped Latvia and Belarus downed Spain.

Only Women’s Pool B saw action last week, with Serbia topping that group. The remaining five women’s pools began five days of play on Tuesday or Wednesday. Pool E began on Tuesday.


Belarus 3, Spain 0

Fourteen blocks and a 52 percent hitting efficiency lifted No. 13 Belarus to a sweep of No. 18 Spain to start Pool D play on Wednesday.

Belarus led Sets 1 and 3 nearly throughout, but had to overcome an early 8-7 lead by the Spaniards in Set 2. By the second timeout, Belarus had turned the deficit into a 16-13 advantage and went on to the 25-20 win.

Seven of the team’s 14 blocks came in the final stanza as Spain managed just a 26 percent hitting effort.

“The way we won this match makes me happy and hopeful ahead of the next games,” Belarus coach Aliaksandr Klimovich said. “Our tactical plan was good, we could read their game from the first minute, we remained concentrated until the end, our block was outstanding and our counterattacks worked well too. Of course, we have some experienced players on our team, but our setter remained calm all the time, and she listened to her coach. Let’s enjoy the victory today, and after that we will be taking it one match at a time and see how far this is going to take us.”

Belarus only gave away nine points in the match on miscues.

Hanna Kalinouskaya-Guengoer racked up 12 points and Aksana Kavalchuk added 11 to lead the Belarus attack. Kalinouskaya-Guengoer managed five kills, six blocks and an ace, while Kavalchuk put down a match-high 10 kills.

Jessica Rivero led all scorers with 13 points for Spain, all coming on kills.


Belgium 3, Latvia 0

Belgium never trailed, cruising to a 25-17, 25-13, 25-12 win over Latvia with help from 10 blocks and 12 aces. The Belgians also hit at a 59 percent clip in the drubbing, including a jaw-dropping 78 percent in Set 2.

“It was a good way to warm up for the remainder of the tournament,” Belgium coach Gert Vande Broek said.

Kaja Grobelna led all players with 16 points, including a match-high 14 kills for Belgium. Britt Herbots (13), Charlotte Leys (12) and Angie Bland (11) also scored double-digit points. Herbots and Leys added 10 kills each, while Bland accounted for five aces, four blocks and two kills.

Anna Embrekte put up nine points to lead Latvia.


Italy 3, Bosnia and Herzegovina 0

No. 3 Italy wrapped up Day 1 of pool play with a no-doubter against Bosnia and Herzegovina, trouncing the No. 33 team 25-12, 25-12, 25-13 even after changing out its lineup.

“We could try some tactics and test some players; we had a good start to the tournament by playing this kind of match,” Italy coach Davide Mazzanti said.

The Italians built leads of 8-4, 8-3 and 8-4 in the three sets and cruised on to leads of seven, eight and nine by the midway point, never looking back.

Italy posted 12 blocks, while allowing just five, and served up eight aces, while giving up just two. The Italians outhit Bosnia and Herzegovina 52 percent to 25.

Raphaela Folie led a group of four Italian hitters with 10 or more points. Folie managed 14 points with nine kills and six blocks, both match-high tallies.  Cristina Chirichella (11), Lucia Bosetti (11) and Paola Ogechi Egonu (10) rounded out the group of double-digit scorers. Egonu served up five aces, while Chirichella added four blocks.

Verica Simic put up six points with five kills and an ace to lead Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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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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