Serbs close in on World Champs as Czechs stun Poles

Warsaw, Poland, May 27, 2017 - Rio 2016 Olympics silver medallists Serbia need two sets on Sunday evening against hosts Poland to secure a berth in the 2018 FIVB Women's World Championship, after they destroyed Slovakia 3-0 (25-8, 25-14, 25-18) and in combination with the Czech Republic's stunning epic win over the hosts in the Polish capital 3-2 (33-35, 25-14, 14-25, 25-22, 15-9) on Saturday.

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Back with a full roster, Serbia were led by Tijana Boskovic who scored 20 points and had 16 kills in 24 swings for 67% as her side dominated the blocking with 12 stuffs to two.

Serbia retain a perfect record of four straight-set wins one day ahead of the conclusion of Pool B of the European qualifiers for the World Championship.

Hosts Poland can still make it through, but they'd have to upset the unstoppable Serbs with a three-point win on Sunday evening, after their loss to the Czech Republic, who are now themselves eyeing second place in the pool and a ticket to Round 3 of the European qualifiers.

With superior attacking efficiency, the Czech Republic staged an incredible comeback in the tie-break, after trailing 0-5 and 1-7. After the two sides switched at 4-8 the visitors rallied with a seven-point run to turn the game around at 11-8 and never looked back.

Malwina Smarzek of Poland gets the ball through the Czech block of Aneta Havlickova and Barbora Purchartova in Warsaw.

Aneta Havlickova with 22 points and Michaela Mlejnkova with 20 were instrumental in the Czech Republic's win. Agnieszka Kakolewska bagged 28 points for Poland and got in an impressive ten stuffs, but it was not enough for the hosts.

In the other match of the day, the Small Countries Division derby, Cyprus shut out Iceland 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-21), including a comeback from 20-24 down in the second set. Erika Zembyla scored 14 points and Katerina Zakchaiou added another 11, including four stuffs, for Cyprus.

Cyprus celebrate win over Iceland in the Small Countries derby in Warsaw.

The two sides will clash again next Tuesday in San Marino, on the opening day of the 17th Games of the Small States of Europe.

The Warsaw pool was moved a week earlier due to Cyprus and Iceland competing in the GSSE. 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 and USA as defending champions have already secured their participation in the 2018 World Championship.


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