Slovenia and Iran Split Pair of Friendlies in Ljubljana

  0 Braden Keith | May 19th, 2017 | Asian Volleyball, European volleyball, International Volleyball, News

The men’s National Teams of Iran and Slovenia split a pair of friendlies last weekend in the Slovene capital of Ljubljana. The home team took the first match 3-2, with Iran reversing the score in the rematch a day later on Monday.


#30 Slovenia def. #7 Iran 3-2 (25-18, 22-25, 21-25, 25-13, 15-12)

In Slovenia’s first game of the season, they came out hot and were able to dominate the last two sets to sweep the Olympic quarter-finalists from Iran. The team gelled early in spite of having only had their captain Tine Urnaut join the team a few days before the match.

Urnaut got the winning point to finish off the first set before Slovenia’s rust showed in the second set. There, the home team started with 3 straight errors, and while the Slovenians would fight back to within 1 point, 3 straight points, finalized by an Iranian block, would clinch the match.

The 3rd set was a back-and-forth affair, again won by Iran.

Both teams went to their benches in the 4th and 5th sets, where a surprisingly-deep Slovenian team jumped out to early leads (11-1 and 7-3, respectively) and never looked back.

“Slovenia is a strong team and for us it is good that we can play against such a team, because we will also meet great rivals in the World League. The Slovenes had a great serve that today we could not stop,” the Iranian coach Igor Kolakovic said after the first day.

“I want my players to instil a mentality that we must always win,” said Slovenia’s new coach Sloboda Kovac. “This is the first and most basic thing. On the other hand, this was our first match and I wanted to see which players, in addition to those already experienced, I can count on. And today, they  all proved themselves. Some young, talented players today have shown that not only the future of the team, but also its present. In the first two sets we made too many mistakes, but given the circumstances it is normal. ”

#7 Iran def. #30 Slovenia 3-2 (23-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-14, 15-8)

In the second match, Slovenia tweaked their starting lineup, and got great results early with a pair of 25-23 set wins.

In the 4th set, Iran’s all-world setter Saeid Marouf took over and served his team to 4 straight points to turn a tied game into a 16-12 advantage. Iran, spurred on by their leader, would only give up 2 more points the rest of the set to roar to a 25-14 victory.

Slovenia has one more friendly on Saturday against Serbia before hosting an opening round of the European qualifying to the 2018 World Championships. Iran, meanwhile, will return to Tehran as they await start of the 2017 World League where they head to Pesaro, Italy to open in a brutal group that includes the defending Olympic gold and silver medalists Brazil and Italy.


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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Braden's first foray into sports journalism came in 2010, when he launched a swimming website called The Swimmers' Circle. Two years later, he joined as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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