2018 FIVB World Championship – WOmen’s European Qualifier
- May 23 to June 4
Saturday’s results only solidified the fact that Sunday’s match between Italy and homestanding Belgium will decide the Pool D champion and automatic World Championships berth.
Italy made quick work of Spain and Belgium swept a closely contested match with Bosnia and Herzegovina to set up the finale.
Belarus kicked off the day of sweeps by taking out Latvia.
Belarus 3, Latvia 0
Belarus led nearly start to finish in a 25-19, 25-20, 25-16 win over Latvia.
Ten blocks and 11 aces helped lift the Belarus side to victory. The team posted at least three blocks in each stanza, and served up four aces in Set 2 and five in Set 3 en route to the wins.
Kristina Kicka, Tatsiana Seryk and Vera Klimovich led Belarus with double-digit point tallies, posting 17, 16 and 12 respectively. Seryk managed 13 kills, while hitting at a 62 percent clip and adding three aces. Klimovich accounted for five blocks and four aces. Kicka downed 15 kills.
Inese Jursone (12) and Jelizaveta Morozova (10) led the scoring for Latvia.
Italy 3, Spain 0
Spain boasted the early lead in the first two sets, but could not muster enough to hold off the No. 3 Italians in the match. Italy won 25-17, 25-18, 25-15.
Italy used 12 kills and seven aces to grab the win. Lucia Bosetti tallied 16 points, including 13 kills and two blocks, while Paola Ogechi Egonu added 11 points.
“Coaches are never pleased with the results of their team, but tomorrow we will certainly play our best game,” Italian coach Davide Mazzanti said.
Jessica Rivero paced Spain with eight points, all on kills.
Belgium 3, Bosnia and Herzegovina 0
Belgium managed the 3-0 sweep of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it was not without its harrowing moments.
Bosnia and Herzegovina led through Set 2 and boasted a 24-21 lead, but Belgium fought off three set points to tie it at 24, then earned three chances of its own. Bosnia and Herzegovina had one more shot at 28-27, but Belgium found three straight points to steal away the win.
The Belgians did not face much trouble from the Bosnian side in the other two sets.
“It was a good preparation for the final game, much better than an easy game,” Belgian coach Gert Vande Broek said. “Now, we know that we have to fight and that a good block-defense is essential. We had too many problems in reception, but I’m convinced that we are ready for tomorrow.”
Belgium led all statistical categories, winning the blocking battle 7-5, from the service line 8-6 and from the hitting front 44 percent to 42.
Britt Herbots and Kaja Grobelna put up 14 points apiece, including kill tallies of 13 and 12 respectively for Belgium. Laura Heyrman added 10 points, including a team-leading four blocks.
Verica Simic managed 13 points for Bosnia and Herzegovina, while Edina Begic (11) and Natasa Slijepcevic (10) also tallied double-digit point efforts.