2017 FIVB VOLLEYBALL U20 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – POOL C
- July 14-16, 2017
- FIVB Volleyball U20 World Championships
- Boca Del Rio, Mexico
Teams from the hosting NORCECA region suffered on the first day of action in Boca Del Rio, Mexico, where Serbia beat Cuba 3-2 and Brazil beat the United States 3-1.
Both matches showed the inconsistency that can come from young teams stepping onto the biggest world stages for the first time in their careers – both Brazil and Serbia looked like they would take sweeps early in dominant first sets, before Cuba and the US fought back. Brazil and Serbia ultimately got the wins, however.
Pool C Standings After Day 1:
Serbia def. Cuba 3-2 (25-13, 25-17, 25-27, 25-17, 15-11)
It was a battle of stars on Friday night in Boca del Rio, where in the first game Serbia got 21 points from outside hitter Katarina Lazovic and Cuba got 26 from opposite Heidy Casanova. Casanova was the top scorer of the day
Serbia was dominant early, winning the first two sets by 12 and 8 points, respectively. Then in the 3rd, however, Cuba hit a spark and won the next two to force a 5th set tiebreaker.
Casanova was a huge part of that comeback attempt, leading Cuba in both kills (21) and blocks (4). The Cubans relied on her heavily at the U20 Pan Am Cup and are doing so again here at the World Championships. The 19-year old looks like the future of Cuban volleyball (if she doesn’t defect) as she already was on Cuba’s roster at the 2016 Grand Prix when she was only 18.
Both teams were very good at the service line – Serbia had 17 aces, led by 4 from Katarina Lazovic, and Cuba had 9, led by 5 from Diaris De La Perez Ramos. Serbia’s success was in part due to their own serves, and in part due to Cuba’s struggle at reception (they had 18 service faults in just 42 receptions).
Brazil def. United States 3-1 (25-10, 25-12, 24-26, 26-22)
The 2015 runners-up Brazil made easy work of the United States in both teams’ group C opener. Both teams went deep into their benches, with the Americans especially trying a number of different lineups. Team USA put 11 of their 12 players on the court, with 9 of those 11 starting at least one set.
Brazil opened up on-fire, beating the US by a combined 28 points in the first two sets. But a few substitutions in the 3rd, including subbing Norene Iosia for captain MacKenzi Welsh at setter, sparked an American comeback in the 3rd that they won in extra-points.
While the Americans would remain competitive in the 4th set, Brazil pulled off the win, and the match, 25-22.
Brazil got 14 points from Karina Barbosa De Souza with a balanced 10 kill, 2 block, 2 ace score line. She was one of 4 Brazilians in double figures, though the team mostly capitalized on American errors. Team USA had 39 of them in just 4 sets – 24 on hitting, 10 on service, and an unusual 4 setting errors.
Brazil, meanwhile, played a relatively-clean game with just 17 errors.
The United States got 9 kills each from Brionne Butler and Leah Edmond, while Butler led all scorers with 12 points (2 blocks, 1 aces).
Iosia’s late spark came not only as setter, where she had 20 assists in just 2 sets of play, but she also led the team in blocks (2) and aces (3).