FIVB WORLD GRAND PRIX – GROUP 1
- July 7-30, 2017
- Bangkok, Thailand
- Pool H1
Aside from the pool win and $80,000 check that came with it, there was little at stake on Sunday in Pool H1 in Thailand. With Italy having already clinched their spot in the Final 6 (see Final 6 schedule here), and the other 3 teams destined for the bottom-half of the table, pride was all that was on the line.
Italy opted to rest their stars (Paola Egonu, the tournament’s leading scorer through 8 games, didn’t play), and so were overwhelmed by their Thai hosts. That was enough to give Thailand the group win and bump them up into the top 10. Turkey, meanwhile, swept the Dominicans 3-0 (the first set was a romp, the other two highly competitive, including a 64-point 2nd), which had no impact on the final Group 1 standings.
Had Italy gone after a win, they could’ve lept all the way to the 2nd seed. With the wild way the World League has gone this year, though, there is no distinct advantage in opponents in the Final 6 pools.
Pool H1 Standings After Day 3:
Note that in the preliminary rounds, pool standings only impact prize money. For advancement, the results of all three weeks of play are put into a cumulative Group-wide bracket to determine who advances.
Turkey def. Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-14, 31-33, 23-25)
While there was almost literally nothing on the line in Turkey’s match against the Dominican Republic, Turkey pulled off a 3-0 upset that the Dominican probably should have won.
After a sluggish start, Dominican coach Marcos Kwiek benched a number of his starters, including stars like Brayelin Martinez and Casilla Mambru, in favor of reserves. Those reserves fought much harder and made the 2nd and 3rd sets competitive, including a marathon 64-pointer in frame number 2, but ultimately didn’t have enough to top Turkey.
“I think today we played pretty well and had more discipline,” said Turkish first year coach Givoanni Guidetti. “We did what we wanted to do. Our service reception was pretty good which made our setter play easier. Of course we are not successful in this tournament. We had some good matches like today and in China. We had two great victories against Dominican and Belgium. It is a great success for me and our players.
“Yesterday we were very disappointed the way we played. We expected a tough match against Thailand, but you know Thailand are a great volleyball team. There was something unexpected from them. They always can perform amazing volleyball. The way we played yesterday was not really good and we did not fight. But today we would like to finish the tournament as the winners. We wanted to fight and give our best.”
Thailand def. Italy 3-0 (25-13, 25-21, 25-20)
After hardly using their bench in a 3-0, Final 6-clinching win against the Dominican on Saturday, Italy went deep into their roster against Thailand. They sat their young phenom Paola Egonu, who had led Group 1 in scoring to that point, and Miryam Fatima, in favor of Indre Sorokaite and Anastasia Guerra. Those two combined for the lion’s share of the Italian offense, with 8 and 10 points, respectively, in the match.
Thailand had three players in double figures, topped by Pleumjit Thinkaow, who had 11 kills and 3 blocks for 14 points. Thailand led all of the major statistical categories, including an 8-4 block advantage and 6-4 ace advantage.
“It was a good match today,” said Thailand’s coach Danai Sriwacharamethakul. “We played well in front of our fans. We were able to attack and serve pretty well, which caused them some problems to play on their game. I would like to thank the Thai fans who cheered for us.”
“I am very happy that we beat Italy in straight sets at home,” said Thailand’s captain Thinkaow. “I think today we served very well. In the first set Chatuorn scored many points to lead 11-0 on her serving to put pressure on them and they couldn’t play on their game. Our fans helped us a lot to put pressure on our opponents and boosted our morale and confidence to play well.”
“Today Thailand played really good,” said Italian captain Cristina Chirichella. “They played a quick game and served very well. We lost concentration and could not play our game. In general we are very happy for this tournament. It is great to play in Bangkok with a lot of people in the stadium. We will try our best in the final round.”
Italian coach Davide Mazzanti says that his team will take some time to rest and work on their attitude. “Today we changed some players and we struggled in attacking. After this we will take some rest and we will work on our attitude to never give up easily and attacking because our attack in this tournament made the difference. We lost today is not because of the players, but the attitude of the team.Egunu needs some rest after some tough matches. We are very happy for this tournament. We will learn from today’s match as a lesson. I hope we will show our best performance in the Finals.”