Fabris forges 20-point match to bring Croatia to World Grand Prix Group 3 final


Almaty, Kazakhstan, June 18, 2016 – The heroics of Samanta Fabris’ steady play steered Croatia to a 3-1 (25-14, 29-27, 20-25, 25-7) victory in the FIVB World Grand Prix Group 3 semifinal against Peru on Saturday at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace. 

Peru and Croatia meet for the second time in World Grand Prix. In their previous encounter, played on June 12 Peru defeated Croatia 3-1. Angela Leyva and Samanta Fabris were the best scorers in both matches. In the previous match Leyva scored 26 points, while Fabris 25. Today Peruvian scored 27 points, while Croatia's Samanta Fabris 20, with her teammates keeping almost as high scores themselves. Croatia advanced to the final of Group 3 and is waiting to meet its rival - Kazakhstan or Colombia. 

It was Croatia's setter Ana Grbac’s effective setting which merited a good balance of contribution from her hitters. Peru suffered early on in the first set from errors, both in reception and passing. When they succeeded in getting the ball, the plays mainly went to star spiker Angela Leyva, but her powerful attack wasn't enough and Croatia topped first set 25-14. 

While Croatia connected with effective blocks, Peru coach Mauro Marasciulo continued to rely on Leyva, who tirelessly fired from any zone. The Peruvian side took their chance in the second set leveling the score and playing point by point, but Croatia was victorious again with an attack from of Topic and a service winner at 29-27.

Croatia relaxed after leading 2-0 and overlooked Peru bouncing back with better demeanor in defence and in passing. Leyva still ran the show as key hitter, but Peru captain Mirtha Uribe was getting more involved in scoring and getting her team to sustain their energy. Peru claimed the third set 25-20.

By the fourth set, it was an all-Croatia show with Fabris, Jerkov, and Topic and Croatia’s unforgiving service taking charge and haunting Peruvian passing line. Croatia dominated the set completely sealing the deal on the semi final at 25-7.

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