Almaty, Kazakhstan, June 19, 2016 – Croatia captured the Group 3 title at the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix by beating hosts Kazakhstan in straight sets (25-19, 29-27, 25-16) at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace on Sunday. Apart from the prime spot at the podium, the Croatian team earn a promotion to Group 2 in the 2017 edition.
Coach Miroslav Aksentijevic spoke about his desire to keep the team at a high level, and has completely affirmed the same as they clutch to their gold medals.
Samanta Fabris stood out as the best scorer in the field, with 27 points from 19 attacks, three blocks, and five service winners.
Radmila Beresneva (12 points) and Kristina Anikonova (10 points) were the top scorers for the host team.
Early on in the first set, Croatia showed a more cohesive brand of offence, although mostly anchored on Fabris. Setter Ana Grbac knew that Fabris had the power to connect from any zone, and the hitter did not falter. Kazakhstan tried to put up a fight but they were prone to errors, even unlikely ones in reception.
The Croatian side looked to their service as an added weapon by the second set. Their speedy service winners only hounded Kazakhstan with more difficulty in reception and passing.
Croatia established a huge lead, but Kazakhstan ignited their brand of play. They meant to serve better and sustained an exchange of points and exciting rallies. Not long after, the Fabris scoring machine caught up with the hosts and ended the second set with a powerful swing from the right flank.
In the third set, Beta Dumancic re-established a strong presence at the net. She clearly displayed that Croatia had the upper hand in blocks and quick plays at the middle.Kazakhstan's middle blocker Lyudmila Anarbayeva tried to do the same as the hosts executed better decisions in attack.
Croatia went on to seal their fate by blasting their opponents with powerful serves. Karla Klaric, who came in for captain Mia Jerkov late in the third set, delivered a string of points towards the 3-0 win.