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Colombia claim Group 3 Finals berth as China, Brazil, Russia remain unbeaten in Group 1

 
Lausanne, Switzerland, June 13, 2016 – Colombia became the final team to book their ticket to the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Group 3 Finals on Sunday night, while China, Brazil and Russia finished the opening weekend of Group 1 action unbeaten and Puerto Rico put down a marker for the Group 2 Finals by completing the Preliminary Round with six wins and no losses.

Madelaynne Montano’s 17 points helped carry Colombia to a 3-1 (25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 25-12) win over Group 3 Finals hosts Kazakhstan to secure their place at the finale alongside Peru and Croatia.

Match Centres:
Thailand beat Germany 3-1 (16-25, 28-26, 25-22, 25-16) Match Centre
China beat USA 3-1 (25-20, 25-19, 15-25, 25-23) Match Centre
Brazil beat Serbia 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-18) Match Centre
Bulgaria beat Canada 3-2 (25-22, 22-25, 21-25, 28-26, 15-10) Match Centre
Puerto Rico beat Poland 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-23) Match Centre
The Netherlands beat Belgium 3-1 (25-20, 25-21, 18-25, 25-20) Match Centre
Italy beat Japan 3-2 (25-20, 25-20, 23-25, 25-27, 15-8) Match Centre
Dominican Republic beat Czech Republic 3-2 (25-22, 15-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-8) Match Centre
Argentina beat Kenya 3-0 (26-24, 25-22, 25-17) Match Centre
Russia beat Turkey 3-2 (26-24, 20-25, 20-25, 25-20, 15-10) Match Centre
Mexico beat Australia 3-1 (18-25, 26-24, 29-27, 25-23) Match Centre
Cuba beat Algeria 3-0 (25-13, 25-12, 25-20) Match Centre


Cuba had given themselves a slim chance at leapfrogging the Colombians to the final with a straight sets (25-13, 25-12, 25-20) victory over Algeria. But the South American side came through and delivered the two sets they required to earn a ticket to Kazakhstan and the chance at promotion to Group 2.


Meanwhile, Peru’s Angela Leyva’s impressive scoring streak continued as she claimed 26 points in Peru’s 3-1 (16-25, 25-21, 25-13, 25-22) win over Croatia; the Czech Republic and the Dominican Republic put on a volleyball clinic as the former claimed a thrilling 3-2 (25-22, 15-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-8) win in just over two hours and Mexico condemned Australia to a sixth defeat, with the Volleyroos ending their 2016 campaign still searching for a first ever victory in the tournament.


Group 1 will continue into a second week with China and Brazil both looking strong having dropped just a set each in front of their home fans in Ningbo and Rio de Janeiro respectively.

China made it win number 21 against USA, claiming a 3-1 (25-20, 25-19, 15-25, 25-23) victory in Ningbo to end the weekend top of the pile. It included a sensational rally which highlighted the fighting spirit this Chinese team has.


“I hope my players have gained experience from this week's matches,” Lang Ping said after the USA match. “Although we won the pool, the results don't mean much, because this USA team isn't the full-strength squad. Some of their best players, such as their main setter Alisha Glass, didn't play much today. We should not get carried away by the victory.”

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil claimed a 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-18) win over Serbia, with Natalia Pereira taking 14 points in a dominating performance.


However, Russia, led by the talismanic Nataliya Goncharova, are breathing down the necks of their Brazilian and Chinese rivals. They are also unbeaten, despite the best efforts of a dogged Turkish side who were eventually held off in five breathless sets (26-24, 20-25, 20-25, 25-20, 15-10). Goncharova added 19 points to her weekend tally, taking it to 55, third in top scorers table behind Turkey’s Polen Uslupehlivan on 60 and the Netherlands’ Lonneke Slöetjes on 68.


In fact, it was 26 points from Slöetjes that helped the Dutch finish the weekend on a high in Kaliningrad, as they beat European neighbours Belgium in four sets (25-20, 25-21, 18-25, 25-20) to go into week 2 in fifth place. It was the world No.14’s tenth win in eleven World Grand Prix matches, and stands them in good stead as they head to Bari, Italy for the next round.


Elsewhere in Group 1, Thailand claimed a first win of the tournament, giving Germany their third defeat in a row with a 3-1 (16-25, 28-26, 25-22, 25-16) triumph and Italy continued their winning streak against Japan, taking it to four wins in the last four encounters with an edgy 3-2 (25-20, 25-20, 23-25, 25-27, 15-8) win. That included a 30-point haul for Paola Egonu, the second highest number of points scored by a single player in a World Grand Prix match this year after Angela Leyva of Peru and Berenika Tomsia of Poland scored 31 against Kazakhstan and Argentina respectively.


There was still plenty to play for in Group 2 despite the finalists being decided on Saturday. 

Puerto Rico will be the only side moving onto Bulgaria and the Finals unbeaten. They defeated fellow finalists Poland in straight sets (25-21, 25-21, 25-23), their second win over the team this year following a five-set win in the World Grand Prix on June 5.


Finals hosts Bulgaria had to work hard to overcome Canada, eventually holding on for a 3-2 (25-22, 22-25, 21-25, 28-26, 15-10) with assistant coach Antonina Zetova later admitting that the side had “underestimated” the women from the great white north. It was the highest scoring match of the tournament so far, with 219 points scored in a 2 hour 10 minute marathon of a match.


Dominican Republic also had a tough final outing, carving out a 3-2 (25-22, 15-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-8) win over a Czech Republic side determined to claim a third win in the tournament.

Finally, Argentina may have given Kenya a tough 3-0 (26-24, 25-22, 25-17) defeat, but the African side can once again take heart from the performance of Mercy Moim, who was top scorer with 18 points and continues to be the linchpin of the team.


Group 1 will continue into a second week with Bari, Italy; Macau, China and Long Beach, USA all set to welcome the world’s top teams.

Group 2 and 3 move to Finals week in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and Almaty, Kazakhstan respectively as this exciting edition of the World Grand Prix continues.

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
31 – Berenika Tomsia of Poland v Argentina on June 10
28 – Angela Leyva of Peru v Cuba on June 11
30 – Paola Egonu of Italy v Japan on June 12

Top Scoring Performances 
31 - Angela Leyva of Peru v Kazakhstan on June 3 
31 – Berenika Tomsia of Poland v Argentina on June 10
29 – Berenika Tomsia of Poland v Puerto Rico on June 5
28 – Angela Leyva of Peru v Cuba on June 11
28 – Petra Kojdova of Czech Republic v Dominican Republic on June 12
26 – Karina Ocasio of Puerto Rico v Argentina on June 11
26 – Heidy Rodriguez Lopez of Cuba v Colombia on June 5 
26 - Emiliya Nikolova of Bulgaria v Dominican Republic on June 3
26 – Lonneke Slöetjes of the Netherlands v Belgium on June 12
26 – Angela Leyva of Peru v Croatia on June 12

Top Individual Serving Performances 
7 – Karla Klaric of Croatia v Algeria on June 11
6 – Ana Grejman of Poland v Canada on June 3 
5 – Martyna Grajber of Poland v Argentina on June 10
5 – Yael Castiglione of Argentina v Dominican Republic on June 4 
5 – Sloane Shae of Australia v Mexico on June 12
4 –Tashiro Kanami of Japan v Italy on June 12
4 – Valentina Diouf of Italy v Japan on June 12
4 – Baladin Hande of Turkey v Russia on June 12
4 – Aydinlar Nursevil of Turkey v Belgium on June 10
4 – Achour Merwa of Algeria v Cuba on June 12
4 – Carranza Dulce of Mexico v Australia on June 12
4 – Resendiz Claudia of Mexico v Australia on June 12

Top Team Serving Performances 
13 – Croatia v Cuba on June 3 
12 – Kazakhstan v Algeria on June 4 
12 – Mexico v Australia on June 12
11- Poland v Argentina on June 10
10 – Croatia v Peru on June 12
10 – Italy v Japan on June 12
10 – Turkey v Russia on June 12
10 – Australia v Mexico on June 12
9 – Japan v Italy on June 12
9 – Croatia v Algeria on June 11
9 – Peru v Cuba on June 11
9 – Bulgaria v Argentina on June 5 

Top Individual Blocking Performances 
7 – Cristina Chirichella of Italy v Serbia on June 10
7 - Fabiana Claudino of Brazil v Italy on June 9
7 – Daimara Lescay Cajigal of Cuba v Colombia on June 5
7 - Candida Estefany Arias Perez of Dominican Republic v Bulgaria on June 3 
7 – Charuk Lucille of Canada v Bulgaria on June 12
6 – Silge Wiebke of Germany v Thailand on June 12
6 – Carey Beth of Australia v Mexico on June 12
6 – Vargas Annerys of Dominican Republic v Czech Republic on June 12
6 – Christa Harmotto Dietzen of United States v Thailand on June 11
6 – Heidy Casanova Alvarez of Cuba v Peru on June 11
6 – Daimara Lescay Cajigal of Cuba v Peru on June 11
6 – Julieta Lascano of Argentina v Poland on June 10

Top Team Blocking Performances 
19 – Cuba v Peru on June 11
19 – Italy v Serbia on June 10
18 – Poland v Czech Republic on June 4
17 - Brazil v Italy on June 9
17 – USA v China on June 12
16 – Italy v Japan on June 12
16 – Poland v Argentina on June 10
16 – Poland v Canada on June 3 
16 – Peru v Algeria on June 5 

Highest Scoring Sets 
31-29 – Serbia v Italy on June 10
31-29 – Japan v Serbia on June 9
30-28 – Puerto Rico v Argentina on June 11
30-28 – Canada v Poland on June 3 
29-27 – United States v Thailand on June 11
29-27 – Mexico v Australia on June 12

Highest Scoring Matches 
219 – Bulgaria v Canada 3-2 (25-22, 22-25, 21-25, 28-26, 15-10) on June 12
213 – Puerto Rico v Poland 3-2 (18-25, 25-23, 15-25, 28-26, 15-13) on June 5 
213 – Italy v Japan 3-2 (25-20, 25-20, 23-25, 25-27, 15-8) on June 12
211 – Poland v Argentina 3-2 (25-23, 24-26, 25-15, 23-25, 15-10) on June 10
210 – Russia v Turkey 3-2 (26-24, 20-25, 20-25, 25-20. 15-10) on June 12
206 – Dominican Republic v Czech Republic 3-2 (25-22, 15-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-8) on June 12
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) on June 3

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