Contest for first World Champs ticket remains wide open

Warsaw, Poland, May 25, 2017 - Though the hosts dropped a roller-coaster set to Slovakia, both Poland and Rio 2016 silver medallists Serbia are still on track for a Sunday head-to-head that barring any upsets on Saturday will determine the first ticket to the 2018 FIVB Women's World Championship.

Poland were seemingly sailing to a straight-set sweep of Slovakia, leading in the third 22-20, before the visitors rallied to get back in the game, cancel three match balls and stay alive a while longer before going down 3-1 (25-19, 25-15, 26-28, 25-19).

Berenika Tomsia with 27 points led the scoring for Poland, but the home side were formidable from the middle with Gabriela Polanska getting 7/8 kills and Agnieszka Kakolewska 7/12 plus 6 stuffs.

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Serbia coach Zoran Terzic, meanwhile, rested regular starters Brankica Mihajlovic, Tijana Boskovic, Stefana Veljkovic and libero Silvija Popovic as they swept Cyprus of the Small Countries Division 3-0 (25-10, 25-12, 25-15) in under an hour.

Ana Bjelica scored 11 points and Nadja Ninkovic 10, as Serbia served 12 aces to destroy Cyprus' reception and any attempt from them to develop their play.

Ana Bjelica and Jovana Stevanovic of Serbia block Cyprus' Vasiliki Chatzikosntanta.

In the other match of Day 3, the Czech Republic sailed past the other Small Countries entrant of Iceland 3-0 (25-6, 25-7, 25-13) also in under an hour.

With coach Zdenek Pommer making changes to his lineup, Karolina Bednarova emerged top scorer of the game on 14 points.

The Czech Republic's Karolina Bednarova and Iceland's Fjola Rut Savarsdottir go for the ball in Warsaw.

All teams in Warsaw take a rest on Friday, before play resumes on Saturday and wraps up on Sunday.

The Warsaw pool was moved a week earlier to accommodate Cyprus and Iceland who compete in the 17th Games of the Small States of Europe next week in San Marino. The other five women's pools of the European qualifiers for the World Championship are next week.

The top teams from the six European pools qualify directly to the World Championship in Japan. The second-ranked of each pool will advance to Round III of the continental qualifiers for two more available tickets to Japan.

Japan as hosts, USA as defending champions and Brazil as 2015 South American champions have already secured their participation in the 2018 World Championship.


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