Four leaders after day two of World Grand Prix


Bethania De La Cruz and Elizabeth Martinez (pictured) of the Dominican Republic top scored on day two of the World Grand Prix with 25 points against Argentina

Lausanne, Switzerland, June, 5, 2016 – Puerto Rico and Poland top Group 2 while Croatia and Peru are the early leaders in Group 3 following the completion of the second day of the Preliminary Round of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix 2016 on Saturday.

With two wins from as many matches and maximum points, Puerto Rico and Poland lead Group 2 ahead of Bulgaria, who also have two wins but five points after Friday's opening 3-2 win over the Dominican Republic. Sunday both Puerto Rico and Poland are set to showdown to see who claims the weekend in honours in Group 2 Pool B and to lead Group 2 at the end of the opening weekend.

In Group 3, Croatia and Peru lead Cuba, Kazakhstan, Mexico and Colombia who all have one win and one defeat.

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.

Match Centres
Croatia beat Colombia 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-17) Match Centre
Cuba beat Australia 3-1 (25-22, 27-25, 18-25, 27-25) Match Centre
Peru beat Mexico 3-1 (25-16, 25-16, 25-13) Match Centre
Kazakhstan beat Algeria 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-5) Match Centre
Puerto Rica beat Canada 3-0 (21-18, 25-11, 25-16) Match Centre
Poland beat Czech Republic 3-1 (25-15, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23) Match Centre
Bulgaria beat Kenya 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-9) Match Centre
Dominican Republic beat Argentina 3-2 (22-25, 25-16, 25-15, 23-25,16-14) Match Centre

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In the key match of the day, Dominican Republic was once again involved in a five setter, this time defeating Argentina 3-2 (22-25, 25-16, 25-15, 23-25,16-14) in a Group 2 thriller in Tucuman. 

Bethania De La Cruz, with 25 points, was the star in the Dominican Republic's win over Argentina, which stunned the crowds in Tucuman. She sealed the match with an incredible spike, completing a magical night where the Dominican captain, along with teammate Brayelin Elizabeth Martinez scored 25 points each in an epic battle seeing 206 points earned in total between the two teams. 


Puerto Rica made short work of team Canada winning 3-0 (25-18, 25-11, 25-16) as Stephanie Enright starred with 13 points won. The second win for Puerto Rica places the team top of Group 2.
Coach Juan Carlos Nunez’s players showed a great collective effort at the same time visibly enjoying the game, with Stephanie Enright standing out in the score charts with 13 points, including three blocks and two service aces.

Juan Carlos Nunez, Puerto Rico coach said, “We played a very good match today. We were watching yesterday’s match Canada against Poland and prepared well for today’s game. We played well at each position, we showed very good, strong service, fast passing and high efficiency in attack.
We’re expecting a tough match tomorrow against Poland, next European team we have opportunity to fight against in this Pool on our way to Olympics in Rio. Poland is a tall team with a good block so I think that tomorrow my setter‘s performance will be very important.”

Anna Grejman scored a match-high 18 points as Poland registered a second victory in front of a home crowd in Zielona Góra defeating Czech Republic 3-1 (25-15, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23).

Anna Grejman's 18 points (including two service aces) proved decisive for Poland alongside teammate Berenika Tomsia who scored 15 points. Both players also played a crucial role in Poland's opening win against Canada 3-1. Poland kicked off a World Grand Prix campaign with two straight victories for only the second time in 13 appearances.

After a challenging opening win against the Dominican Republic 3-2 (25-23, 20-25, 18-25, 25-17, 9-15), Emiliya Nikolova was again a dominant force that helped Bulgaria to its second victory. The Bulgarians achieved a convincing victory over Kenya, 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-9) and it was an astonishing performance by captain Eva Yaneva, one of the top scorers with 11 points. Kenya were still unable to break through with a win against a European side.

After Bulgaria worked hard to beat the Dominican Republic in their opening match in five sets, the European team managed to achieve their goal against Kenya in just one hour and eight minutes in their second Group 2 match. Bulgaria have now won their last two World Grand Prix matches and will now aim for a run of three for the first time since winning all eight matches at the 2014 World Grand Prix.

In Group 3 it is Peru that ends the second day of the preliminary round in top spot after posting their second win. Assisted by top overall scorer two days in a row, Angela Leyva, the team defeated Kazakhstan in their opening match before beating Mexico in straight sets 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-13).

Leyva, who was the top scorer, in last year's World Grand Prix Group 3, led Peru's attack with 31 points in their 3-1 win over Kazakhstan on Friday and again, the 19-year-old wing spiker was dominant in attack scoring 23 points against Mexico.
Mexico lost to Peru this time last year in their only previous World Grand Prix encounter in straight sets on home soil with Leyva one of four Peruvian top scorers with eight points.

Alongside Peru, the only other team to earn two wins within Group 3 is Croatia who is determined to get back to the second division of World Grand Prix. Samanta Fabris led the team to a dominant 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-17) win over Colombia. After a solid 3-1 over Cuba on the opening night, Croatia was even better against Colombia during their first ever encounter at World Grand Prix.

The team’s all-round strength impressed the big Bendigo crowd in Australia. For Colombia this was the 10th-ever match at the World Grand Prix.

The team has so far positive score with seven victories out of ten.
Croatia coach Miroslav Aksentijevic said, “We knew the players we had to guard against, they played very well yesterday and we were prepared for them. These two teams deserve to play one group higher, or more, and I’m sure that we both will play higher. Ana Grbac is playing her best volleyball in the national team ever. She started with the team in 2008, and she has grown up a lot and plays very focused now.”

After day two of preliminary round play at the 2016 FIVB Grand Prix, Kazakhstan sit third in the Group 3 rankings after earning their first win against Algeria. Yekaterina Zhdanova led Kazakhstan to a comfortable 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-5) victory.
Kazakhstan, who lost to Peru on the opening day, put in a stellar performance winning 3-0 over host Algeria, who now have yet to win a match. They dominated the game winning in a very one-sided affair in which Yekaterina Zhdanova starred with some great smashes.

Cuba earned its first victory with a win over Australia, 3-1 (25-22, 27-25, 18-25, 27-25) in an epic encounter in Bendigo that thrilled the capacity crowd. The ‘Volleyroos’ were close to extend the game to a fifth set, but were stopped by Cuba's Jennifer Alvarez.
Despite the match going to Cuba, it was Australia who seemed more excited by the result, with the inexperienced home side winning their first set of the tournament and holding two set points in another.

The two teams who suffered first night losses looked nervous at the start of the match, but the difference came with Cuban Jennifer Alvarez’s power game. It was both teams second encounter in World Grand Prix. Back in 2015 Cuba also recorded a victory over Australia, who is yet to claim a win in the history of World Grand Prix.

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

Top Scoring Performances

31 - Angela Leyva of Peru v Kazakhstan on June 3
26 - Emiliya Nikolova of Bulgaria v Dominican Republic on June 3
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

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

Top Individual Blocking Performances
7 - Candida Estefany Arias Perez of Dominican Republic v Bulgaria on June 3
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

16 – Poland v Canada on June 3
18 – Poland v Czech Republic on June 4

Highest Scoring Sets

28-30 – Poland v Canada on June 3
27-25 – Cuba v Australia on June 4

Highest Scoring Matches

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, 15-9) on June 3

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