Dutch celebration over advancement to the final six
Lausanne, Switzerland, October 11, 2018 – The Netherlands, Japan and USA were the last three teams to complete the line-up for the third round of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in Japan. The three squads secured their spots among the best six of the tournament in the last leg of the second round on Thursday and joined Serbia, Italy and China, who qualified earlier.
The Netherlands needed to win one set against Serbia on Thursday to book their tickets to the final six. They did better and, with the help of 11 kill blocks, cruised to a straight-set victory, finishing top of the Pool E standings on an 8-1 win-loss record. Lonneke Sloetjes was once again the best scorer for the Dutch, tallying 23 points, which included four aces. Serbia ended up third in the rankings on 7-2.
Also on 7-2, but with one point more than the Serbs, Japan claimed the second place in Pool E and also advanced in the tournament. In the battle for the last remaining vacancy, Brazil needed to claim a three-set win over the hosts, but won their three sets only after Japan had taken a two-set advantage in front of an 8,000-strong cheering crowd in Nagoya. Tandara Caixeta contributed 24 points to the victory, while Sarina Koga was Japan’s best scorer with 23. The South American powerhouse finished fourth in the pool on a 7-2 win-loss record and a point fewer than Serbia, failing to reach the top six of a World Championship for the first time since 2002.
In Pool F, Italy defeated USA in four sets to top the standings with an impeccable record of nine wins and 27 points in nine matches, their longest ever winning streak at the World Championships. For a second day in a row, Italy’s Paola Egonu was the best scorer of the day across both pools at Japan 2018. She hammered out 33 points, including three aces and five of her team’s 15 stuff blocks against USA, for a tournament total of 182 points so far, which puts her on top of the current scorer ranking.
Defending champions USA finished on a 7-2 record and had to wait for the outcome of the last match between China and Russia to find out that they are through as the third-placed team. Russia failed to grab the opportunity to progress to the final six, losing to the Olympic champions in four sets, and recorded their worst result in the history of the World Championships, which until now had been a sixth-place finish. China registered their first World Championship win over Russia since 1998, levelled the head-to-head in all major world-level competitions at 30-30, and finished pool runner-up on an 8-1 win-loss record. Ni Yan was China’s top scorer with six of her squad’s 14 stuff blocks and three of 12 aces for a total of 16 points. Russia’s Irina Voronkova (four aces) and Kseniia Parubets tallied 25 points each.
Italy’s Paola Egonu caused a 33-point damage to reigning world champs USA
Other Thursday highlights:
• In Pool E, the Dominican Republic claimed a straight-set victory over Germany and overtook them for the fifth place in the pool’s final standings. Each of the two teams finished on a 5-4 record, but the Caribbeans have 16 points and the Europeans only 14. Puerto Rico ended up in seventh place on 3-6 after a four-set win over Mexico, who finished bottom on 1-8.
• In Pool F, Turkey made use of 17 kill blocks to beat Thailand by 3-1 for a 5-4 win-loss record and secured the fifth place in the pool’s final standings. Earlier, Bulgaria aced ten times in shutting out Azerbaijan to finish sixth on 4-5. Thailand (3-6) and Azerbaijan (2-7) took the seventh and the eighth places, respectively.
Despite losing to Brazil, the Japanese players were applauded for making the final six by the numerous fans
Nippon Gaishi Hall in Nagoya, which hosted the Pool E matches will also welcome the battles of the third round
Later today, the six surviving teams will be drawn into two third-round pools of three. In each pool, a single round robin will be played Sunday through Tuesday in Nagoya with the top two teams advancing to next Friday’s semifinals in Yokohama. The third-placed sides will meet in a direct duel for fifth place, also on October 19 in Yokohama.
Read more: Women's World Championship third round draw maps out road ahead
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