Bulgaria and Peru Group 2 & 3 leaders at World Grand Prix


Lausanne, Switzerland, June 9, 2016 – Pool B1 opened 2016 FIVB World Grand Prix Group 1 competition with victories of the hosting team Brazil over Italy and Japan over Serbia. 

Puerto Rico is a close second behind Bulgaria in Group 2 after a thrilling win against Poland in their closing match of the weekend. The result places Poland in third position.

In Group 3, Peru finish top with Croatia in a very close second, both teams remain undefeated after three matches. Kazakhstan and Cuba each have two wins and one defeat and are currently in third and fourth position.
The preliminary rounds for Group 2 & 3 are played over two weekends with the final round for Group 2 to be held in Varna, Bulgaria with the host team plus the top three ranked teams after the preliminary round to qualify. 

The Group 3 final round follows the same format, but will be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Both final rounds are played over two days on July 18-19 with semifinals and finals. Group 1 matches begin next weekend featuring defending champions USA and 10 time winners Brazil.

Match Centres
Cuba beat Colombia 3-1 (21-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-21) Match Centre
Croatia beat Australia 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-12) Match Centre
Kazakhstan beat Mexico 3-1 (25-16, 25-20, 21-25, 25-23) Match Centre
Peru beat Algeria 3-0 (25-12, 25-13, 25-12) Match Centre
Czech Republic beat Canada 3-0 (25-13, 25-18, 25-23) Match Centre
Poland beat Puerto Rico 3-2 (18-25, 25-23, 15-25, 28-26,15-13) Match Centre
Dominican Republic beat Kenya 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-20) Match Centre
Bulgaria beat Argentina 3-1 (27-25, 25-17, 25-27, 25-19) Match Centre

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Bulgaria ended the first weekend unbeaten after its victory over Argentina, 3-1 (27-25, 25-17, 25-27, 25-19) and takes first position in Group 2. Setter Petya Barakova was the leader of another good performance of Ivan Dimitrov's team.

This was the first encounter between Argentina and Bulgaria at a major tournament and Bulgaria dominated the game from the beginning with its outside hitter Eva Yaneva and Miroslava Paskova on great form. Argentina battled with Leticia Boscacci and leveled in 23 thanks to great defence and Josefina Fernandez counterattack. However captain Yaneva took everything under control with her unstoppable attack and a final ace, 27-25.

Puerto Rico pulled out an incredible victory over Poland 3-2 (18-25, 25-23, 15-25, 28-26, 15-13) for their third consecutive of the tournament. Lynda Morales was the top scorer for Puerto Rico with 21 points (four blocks), but it was Poland’s Berenika Tomsia who scored 29 points as the days highest scorer.

The match was the decider for the two unbeaten teams in Group B2 and it was Poland to first gain the upper hand, but Puerto Rica held out to now take second position in Group 2.

Juan Carlos Nunez, Puerto Rico coach said, “We have a very good chemistry in the team. This group of players is working very hard. Lately they got used to winning, and they don’t give up, they fight even in difficult moments and try to take advantage of all opportunities. I feel that this team is in its best moment - we’re looking forward for next matches of World Grand Prix and our aim is to qualify for the finals.”

The Dominican Republic reached its second victory on the first weekend of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, beating Kenya in straight sets, 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-20). Bethania De La Cruz De Peña was the top scorer with 12 points and Gina Mambru Casilla the key player for the Dominican triumph.

The Dominican Republic have now won two matches in a row at a World Grand Prix for the first time since successive wins against Italy and Algeria in 2013. This year the team have played two five-set matches in a row, losing to Bulgaria in their opening match before beating Argentina and Kenya.

Despite last years final in group 3 featuring Peru’s surprise defeat to Kenya, the African nation has yet to win a set in the 2016 edition.

The Czech Republic earned its first points of the tournament with a third match win against Canada (25-13, 25-18, 25-23). The match was the battle was between the two winless teams in Pool B2 and it was the Czech Republic who took the honours with captain Tereza Rossi contributing 15 points and Canada struggling with mistakes. 

The win places Czech Republic in sixth position in the group and Canada finish just ahead of Kenya at the bottom of the table after winning a set in the Canadians opening match against Poland. 

Peru end the first weekend top of the Group 3 standings with an unbeaten record over three matches. It was again 19-year-old wing spiker Angela Leyva who top scored for Peru as the world No. 21 team recorded its third victory with a comfortable 3-0 (25-12, 25-13, 25-12) win over Algeria. 

After scoring 31 points against Kazakhstan in Peru’s first match, Leyva, who was the top scorer in last year's World Grand Prix Group 3, scored another 23 against Mexico in their second group match before top scoring again with 16 points against Algeria as Peru enter the second stage with maximum points.

Holding a similar unbeaten record and sitting just behind Peru in Group 3 is Croatia. Both teams dropped only one set in the opening weekend, but Peru leads the standings on point difference. Croatia ended its third match with a three set victory over Australia standing out as the superior team in to play in Bendigo. 

It was Croatian powerhitter Samanta Fabris who flexed her muscles to blast her team to the 3-0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-12) win over Australia. Australia end the first weekend just ahead of Algeria at the bottom of the table. Australia take the edge after winning one set against Cuba, but Algeria still finding their way in transition after a huge revamp to their line-up entering the Grand Prix. 

Kazakhstan hold third place in Group 3 with two wins against Algeria and then with captain Radmila Beresneva leading her team to defeat Mexico 3-1 (25-16, 25-20, 21-25, 25-23). 

Beresneva and Lizbeth Sainz were top scorers of the match, giving Mexico a difficult time with power in the attack led by Beresneva. Mexico’s one win in the preliminary round opening matches was against Algeria earned the team three points.

On the closing day of the first weekend, Cuba earned its second win beating Colombia 3-1 (21-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-21), with Lescay Cajigel outstanding at the net. It was a strong finish for Cuba, easily the youngest team in Bendigo, Australia while Colombia continued to show many positives but struggled with consistency. 

Colombia’s Madelaynne Montano was doing much of the heavy lifting, while Zuleta Garcia was proving to be difficult to pass at the net. Cuba was without 16-year-old Melissa Vargas with a shoulder injury, and it was Rodriguez Lopez who stepped up to the plate, but Colombia had more spring in their step and had answers to all the Cuban attacks. 

Colombia’s one win against Australia places the team in a dangerous spot in the table leaving them a difficult task in the second stage of the preliminary round.

Player statistics 

Top Scorer by Day 
31 - Angela Leyva of Peru v Kazakhstan on June 3 
25 - Bethania De La Cruz De Peña of Dominican Republic v Argentina on June 4 
29 – Berenika Tomsia of Poland v Puerto Rico on June 5 
20 - Sarina Koga of Japan v Serbia on June 9

Top Scoring Performances 
31 - Angela Leyva of Peru v Kazakhstan on June 3 
29 – Berenika Tomsia of Poland v Puerto Rico on June 5 
26 - Emiliya Nikolova of Bulgaria v Dominican Republic on June 3 
26 – Heidy Rodriguez Lopez of Cuba v Colombia on June 5 
25 - Bethania De La Cruz De Peña of Dominican Republic v Argentina on June 4 
25 - Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez of Dominican Republic v Argentina on June 4 

Top Individual Serving Performances 
6 – Ana Grejman of Poland v Canada on June 3 
5 – Yael Castiglione of Argentina v Dominican Republic on June 4 
3 – Yael Castiglione of Argentina v Bulgaria on June 5 
3 – Petya Barakova of Bulgaria v Argentina on June 5 

Top Team Serving Performances 
13 – Croatia v Cuba on June 3 
12 – Kazakhstan v Algeria on June 4 
9 – Bulgaria v Argentina on June 5 

Top Individual Blocking Performances 
7 - Candida Estefany Arias Perez of Dominican Republic v Bulgaria on June 3 
7 – Daimara Lescay Cajigal of Cuba v Colombia on June 5
7 - Fabiana Claudino of Brazil v Italy on June 9
5 - Natalia Pereira of Brazil v Italy on June 9
4 – Alicia Perrin of Canada v Puerto Rico on June 4 
4 – Zuzanna Efimienko of Poland v Czech Republic on June 4 
4 – Agnieszka Kakolewska of Poland v Czech Republic on June 4 
4 – Iva Nachmilnerova of Czech Republic v Poland on June 4 

Top Team Blocking Performances 
18 – Poland v Czech Republic on June 4
17 - Brazil v Italy on June 9
16 – Poland v Canada on June 3 
16 – Peru v Algeria on June 5 

Highest Scoring Sets 
31-29 – Japan v Serbia on June 9
30-28 – Canada v Poland on June 3 
28-26 – Puerto Rico v Poland on June 5 
28-26 – Japan v Serbia on June 9

Highest Scoring Matches 
213 – Puerto Rico v Poland 3-2 (18-25, 25-23, 15-25, 28-26, 15-13) on June 5 
206 - Dominican Republic v Argentina 3-2 (22-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-15, 23-25, 16-14) on June 4 
202 – Bulgaria v Dominican Republic 3-2 (23-25, 25-20, 25-18, 17-25, 


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