2017 FIVB World League – Pool I1
- June 16-18, 2017
- Antwerp, Belgium
After solidifying its spot in the Final Six on Saturday, France wrapped up Pool I1 play with a sweep of Belgium, while Canada finished off group action with a four-set win over Italy.
Final Six action begins on July 4 in Curitiba, Brazil.
Canada 3, Italy 1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-14, 25-22)
Canada bounced back to take three straight sets after falling 25-20 in Set 1 against Italy on Sunday. Eighteen-year old Sharone Vernon-Evans played a big role in the comeback after entering the game as a substitute in Set 1 and remaining in the match the rest of the way. Vernon-Evans managed 16 points, with 12 kills, three blocks and an ace, including a stuff to clinch the match.
“We didn’t start well, but we fought to come back,” Canadian coach Stephane Antiga said. “Vernon came in and scored some very important points for the team. It wasn’t an easy game at all; Italy was playing good. Now, we can only wait. We hope for positive results in our favor.”
Canada had help from 31 Italian miscues in the match and also outblocked its foe 10-5. Italy managed three more kills (52-49) and one more ace (6-5), but could not overcome its own errors.
“We are a little bit disappointed,” Italian setter Simone Giannelli said. “We played not so good; too irregular; too often a lot of misunderstandings. We go home and prepare the European Championships in August in Poland.”
Italy took a 17-14 in Set 1 and carried on to the 25-20 win, although it took three set points to clinch it. The teams played to a 14-all tie in Set 2 before Canada took control at 21-18. Italy was within one at 22-21, but errors kept the side from completing a comeback. Italy pulled its starters, with the exception of libero Massimo Colaci, in Set 3, but could not right the ship in a 25-14 loss. The Canadians pulled away again at the midpoint of Set 4, turning an 11-11 tie into an 18-15 lead and held on for the win.
Stephen Maar led the Canadian charge with 20 points, including a match-high 19 kills, while John Gordon Perrin added 11 points, with nine kills, a block and an ace.
Iacopo Botto put up 14 points, with 11 kills and two aces, to pace the Italians. Matteo Piano added 10 points, including seven kills and two blocks.
France 3, Belgium 0 (25-21, 25-15, 25-16)
France switched out its lineup, but the result was still the same, as the French made quick work of Belgium in the Pool I1 finale.
“We played with a good reception, so for me it was more easy,” France’s Benjamin Toniutti said. “Belgium didn’t serve so strong. We kept the pressure. At the end it was a great weekend for us. We win this group and lost only one game in this World League competition so far. Now we have one week of recuperation, it is good for the body to have some rest. It will be a hard Final Six; we will try to play our best volleyball again.”
France served up nine aces, while allowing just three, and tallied 10 more kills (43-33) than the Belgians in the victory.
Belgium led 12-9 early in Set 1, but France rallied to take a 15-14 lead and pushed the margin to four at 22-18 en route to the 25-21 win. There was no question in Set 2 as France ran ahead 4-1 and led by six at 20-14 before closing out the stanza at 25-16. The French carried the momentum into Set 3, leading 14-9 and doubling up their foe at 18-9 before taking the victory.
Thibault Rossard managed a match-high 18 points, while Stephen Boyer added 14. Rossard tallied a match-high 15 kills and three aces, while Boyer added 11 kills and two aces. Earvin Ngapeth, who made his World League debut in the match, finished with five points, three on aces and two kills.
Bram Van Den Dries added 13 points for Belgium, including 12 kills, while Sam Deroo chipped in eight points, seven on kills.
“We need a lot of energy in our games and that was what we missed this weekend,” Belgium’s Tomas Rousseaux said. “We showed we could win against the best teams of the world, but we don’t have the basics to do this in every game. A reason to work on that point. We are top-8 in the World League and that is OK, but we wanted top-6. We will more and more play against the top teams of the world to learn a lot.”