Caguas, Gurabo, Juncos and Maunabo, Puerto Rico, September 11, 2015 - Each one with different obstacles, but in the end all favourites from FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship began with the right foot their road in Puerto Rico. China, Japan and Brazil - all of them medal winners in 2013 gathered straight-set wins, as well as U18 champions Italy, Dominican Republic, Russia and Peru, while Bulgaria needed four sets against host team Puerto Rico.
Defending champions China managed to hold back Mexico 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-23) in Juncos, after some good fight from the American team. Asian duo of Du Qingqing and Zhang Qian led the way with 13 and 12 points, while China also doubled Mexico with service points - 10-5.
In another Pool B match, Peru enjoyed the support of a very loud crowd to defeat Serbia 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 28-26). The South American team prepared throughout the year at some major tournaments and the girls proved that experience useful as captain Angela Leyva and fellow attacker Maguilaura Frías topped the charts with 14 points apiece, to bring down European champions Serbia.
Meanwhile, in Caguas, Japan opened the tournament with an overwhelming 3-0 (25-12, 25-8, 25-10) win over Egypt, which could just remain speechless as last edition’s runner-ups were too much for them. Reserve spiker Kaori Mabashi topped the charts with 11 points, as the only player of the game to reach double numbers.
Italy had to use much more energy to celebrate over a battling Chinese Taipei, but in the end it was a 3-0 (25-22, 25-12, 25-21) for the European side. U18 champion Paola Egonu was the main weapon Italy used to break the defensive spirit on Chinese Taipei, while Anna Nicoletti and Anastasia Guerra also helped the cause.
Nearby, in Gurabo venue, Brazil relied on the offensive force formed by Drussyla Costa and Lorenne Geraldo to achieve a 3-0 (25-18, 25-11, 25-17) sweep over Czech Republic. The South American powerhouse cruised through the game and jumped to the highest Pool D spot.
In the following shift, Dominican Republic added another three-set result to the chart, with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-21) victory over Turkey that was enabled by the effective blocks and serves from the Caribbean side. Turkish Mislina Kilic and Dominican Brayelin Martínez were leveled in the scorers’ race with 16 points each, but only the latter left the court smiling after the game.
The biggest attraction for local fans was in Maunabo, as home favourites Puerto Rico provided an interesting game against Bulgaria - the only one on Friday evening that lasted beyond three sets. The local girls won a fierce battle on the first chapter, but Bulgaria improved after that strike and grabbed a 3-1 (23-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-21) win vital for their dreams of moving forward.
Completing Pool A action, Russia displayed all of their might to stomp Cuba on the first set and, although the Cuban side rose to the challenge afterwards, it wasn’t enough to change the tide as the game ended 3-0 (25-9, 25-22, 25-17). The Russian side seized Pool A first place, enjoying a better set-ratio than fellow winners Bulgaria.Top Scorer by Day
23 - Gergana Dimitrova of Bulgaria v Puerto Rico on September 11Top Scoring Performances
23 - Gergana Dimitrova of Bulgaria v Puerto Rico on September 1122 - Karla Santos of Puerto Rico v Bulgaria on September 1119 - Anna Lazareva of Russia v Cuba on September 1118 - Miroslava Paskova of Bulgaria v Puerto Rico on September 1116 - Brayelin Martinez of Dominican Republic v Turkey on September 11
16 - Mislina Kilic of Turkey v Dominican Republic on September 11Top Serving Performances
5 - Xiangyu Gong of China v Mexico on September 115 - Anna Lazareva of Russia v Cuba on September 11
4 - Natalia Martinez of Dominican Republic v Turkey on September 114 - Iveta Stanchulova of Bulgaria v Puerto Rico on September 11Top Team Serving Performances
12 - Russia v Cuba on September 1110 - China v Mexico on September 11Top Blocking Performances
7 - Laiza Ferreira of Brazil v Czech Republic on September 114 - Mingyuan Hu of China v Mexico on September 11
4 - Angelica Hinojosa of Dominican Republic v Turkey on September 114 - Anastasila Barchuk of Russia v Cuba on September 114 - Anna Lazareva of Russia v Cuba on September 114 - Radostina Marinova of Bulgaria v Puerto Rico on September 11Top Team Blocking Performances
13 - China v Mexico on September 1112 - Russia v Cuba on September 11
12 - Dominican Republic v Turkey on September 1112 - Brazil v Czech Republic on September 11Highest Scoring Sets
28-26 Peru v Serbia (3rd Set) on September 11Highest Scoring Matches
180 - Bulgaria d Puerto Rico 3-1 (23-25, 25-17, 25-19, 25-21) on September 11