2018 FIVB MEN’S VOLLEYBALL NATIONS LEAGUE – WEEK 4/POOL 15
- June 15th-June 17th, 2018
- Sears Centre, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, United States (seating 10,000)
- Time Zone: US Central Time (U.S. Eastern Time -1)
- World Rankings: #2 United States, #3 Poland, #8 Iran, #11 Serbia
|Date||Time||Score||Set 1||Set 2||Set 3||Set 4||Set 5||Total||Report|
Serbia def. Iran 3-2
- Serbia defeated Iran 21-25, 25-22, 27-25, 20-25, 15-11
- Serbia moved to 7-4 (17 points); Iran moved to 4-7 (13 points)
Aleksandar Atanasijevic racked up a match-high 32 points as Serbia registered its fourth five-set win in 11 VNL matches on Saturday, holding on to best Iran.
Despite coming off the bench in Set 1, Atanasijevic managed 28 kills, two blocks and a team-best two aces in the match. Marko Ivovic was next on the team with 13 points, all on kills, while eight other players got in on the scoring. Milan Katic posted nine points on eight kills and an ace, despite not entering the match until part way through Set 2. Marko Podrascanin also tallied nine points, adding a team-best four blocks to his five putaways. Petar Krsmanovic rounded out the top five scorers with eight points on six kills and two stuffs.
Milad Ebadipour paced a group of four Iranian hitters with double-digit point tallies. Ebadipour put together a 21-point effort with 17 kills to go with team bests of two aces and two blocks. Porya Yali (13), Ali Shafiei (12) and Mojtaba Mirzajanpour (11) rounded out the group. Yali and Shafiei accounted for 10 kills apiece, while Mirzajanpour chipped in eight putaways. Yali tacked on two blocks and Mirzajanpour served up two aces as Iran utilized 12 players in the match.
Serbia boasted a 13-point advantage in kills (72-59) and a 10-9 edge in blocks to overcome a 7-3 deficit in aces and 32 miscues. Iran made just 24 errors in the match, which saw both sides score 108 total points.
“It was a big fight and a big win for us , this was so important for us mentally,” Podrascanin said. “We need to forget this now and concentrate on Poland tomorrow.”
Iran took the first set 25-21 buoyed by nine Serbian miscues.
Serbia led 12-10 in Set 2, but it was a back and forth battle from there, including a tie at 17-all. Atanasijevic served up two aces to give the Serbians a 23-20 lead. Iran thwarted the first set-point try, but eventually the star of the match registered his 12th point to close out the 25-22 win.
In Set 3, Serbia held a slim 21-20 lead, but Mirzajanpour posted a huge stuff block to tie it up. Serbia had the first set point try, but stumbled, allowing Iran to knot the score at 24. In the end, Podrascanin and Katie came through to salvage the Serbian victory at 27-25.
Iran took the loss in stride and raced out to an 8-4 edge in Set 4 and held on for a 25-20 win to force a decisive fifth set.
Serbia held off an Iranian charge in Set 5 despite the best efforts of Iran’s setter Mir Marouflakrani, who was issued a yellow card in the midst of a frustrating 15-11 loss.
Here are some post-match reactions.
Serbia coach Nikola Grbic: “It wasn’t easy to come back and play less than 24 hours after the loss we had. We managed to come back after losing the first set by changing a lot of players. We managed to turn around the game and win. It would have been better if we had won in three. Then again, the victory is always good. I am satisfied with the players who came in and changed the game and gave us positive energy. We will try to forget what happened now and focus on tomorrow’s game again.”
Iran coach Igor Kolakovic: “It was tough. We played as hard as the match before but tonight Serbia won. I’m happy because they really have an opportunity to play in the final, but also I’m sad because we had an opportunity to win in this condition. We had a lot of problems with our players with injuries. During the game, one of our important young players – Morteza Sharifi – got injured. For that reason I am sadder with this defeat, but life goes on and tomorrow we have a new game. We will try to keep this energy for the next game.”