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Teams rebuild and emotions increase at FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship

 
Caguas, Gurabo, Juncos and Maunabo, Puerto Rico, September 16, 2015 - Nothing is decided yet at FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship in Puerto Rico, as both second round pools raised their temperature after a thrilling Wednesday, with Italy and Japan rising from ashes to defeat Serbia and Peru and hold on to their semifinal chances. Brazil and Dominican Republic clinched second wins but both pools will be resolved on a mouth-watering Thursday.

The first game in Gurabo was a rollercoaster between Russia and Brazil. Although the Russian side opened their path with some massive serving in the first chapter, Brazil came back stronger than ever setting the tempo of the game - a see-saw battle that lasted five sets, until the South American side celebrated 3-2 (19-25, 25-8, 21-25, 25-16, 15-7) with an amazing Lorenne Geraldo, who fired a tournament record of 29 points. It looked like the result left Russia without any Final Four chances, but the next game was about to change everything.

Afterwards, Italy pulled out a fantastic performance to defeat Serbia 3-1 (19-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-15) and put a hold on all Pool E action. Sara Lozo from Serbia topped the scorers with 18 kills, but Anna Danesi’s seven blocks and Paola Egonu’s six aces were efficient weapons for Italy, allowing them to successfully bounce back after losing to Brazil. This way, while Serbia will face Brazil with one semifinal berth on stake, Italy take on winless Russia, which need external help but still can move on.

In Juncos, Dominican Republic enhanced their undefeated run after beating Bulgaria 3-0 (25-11, 25-17, 25-18). Pool F leaders now improved their tournament record to 5-0, seizing a higher error rate from Bulgaria and also outblocking them 12-3. Dominican Republic star Brayelin Martinez this time was joined by Gaila Gonzalez, each with 17 points to build an important victory for their Top 4 goal, although they still have one more exam to pass.

A major surprise arrived later, when Japan put a brake on Peru with an astonishing 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-17) win that delayed the end of this pool as well. Nanami Hirose played a wonderful game with a whole set by her own, smashing 25 points and restoring the Asian hopes towards the semifinals. Japan will now take on last-placed Bulgaria seeking their ticket, while Peru must finish the Dominican streak with a wide margin to look forward.

Meanwhile, racing for the ninth place in Caguas and Maunabo, Chinese Taipei acquired Pool G top spot with a tough 3-2 (25-23, 15-25, 24-26, 25-13, 15-9) over Czech Republic. At that group, Cuba too needed five sets to reduce Mexico 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 26-24, 27-29, 15-10). Turkey and China are controlling Pool H, the first with a 3-1 (25-16, 25-23, 18-25, 25-21) win over Egypt and the Asians subduing Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-14).

Top Scorer by Day
23 - Gergana Dimitrova of Bulgaria v Puerto Rico on September 11
19 - Brayelin Martinez of Dominican Republic v Czech Republic on September 12
19 - Nanami Hirose of Japan v Chinese Taipei of September 12
24 - Yagmur Kilic of Turkey v Czech Republic on September 13
27 - Karla Santos of Puerto Rico v Turkey on September 15
29 - Lorenne Geraldo of Brazil v Russia on September 16

Top Scoring Performances
29 - Lorenne Geraldo of Brazil v Russia on September 16
27 - Karla Santos of Puerto Rico v Turkey on September 15
27 - Diaris Perez of Cuba v Mexico on September 16
26 - Yagmur Kilic of Turkey v Egypt on September 16
25 - Nanami Hirose of Japan v Peru on September 16

Top Serving Performances
7 - Angelina Sperskaite of Russia v Brazil on September 16
7 - Maria Aguilera of Mexico v Cuba on September 16
6 - Paola Egonu of Italy v Serbia on September 16
6 - Diaris Perez of Cuba v Mexico on September 16
5 - Several players

Top Team Serving Performances
15 - Cuba v Mexico on September 16
14 - Chinese Taipei v Czech Republic on September 16
13 - Mexico v Cuba on September 16
12 - Russia v Cuba on September 11
12 - Turkey v Czech Republic on September 13
12 - Chinese Taipei v Mexico on September 15

Top Blocking Performances
10 - Zehra Gunes of Turkey v Puerto Rico on September 15
7 - Laiza Ferreira of Brazil v Czech Republic on September 11
7 - Zhang Qian of China v Peru on September 12
7 - Zehra Gunes of Turkey v Egypt on September 16
7 - Anna Danesi of Italy v Serbia on September 16

Top Team Blocking Performances
18 - Czech Republic v Chinese Taipei on September 16
16 - Italy v Brazil on September 15
16 - Serbia v China on September 13
15 - Italy v Japan on September 13
15 - Cuba v Mexico on September 16

Highest Scoring Sets
31-29 Czech Republic v Cuba (1st Set) on September 15
29-27 Mexico v Cuba (4th Set) on September 16
28-26 Peru v Serbia (3rd Set) on September 11
27-25 Peru v China (3rd Set) on September 12
27-25 Italy v Brazil (3rd Set) on September 15

Highest Scoring Matches
224 - Cuba d Mexico 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 26-24, 27-29, 15-10) on September 16
208 - Turkey d Puerto Rico 3-2 (22-25, 25-18, 23-25, 25-18, 15-12) on September 15
200 - Chinese Taipei d Czech Republic 3-2 (25-23, 15-25, 24-26, 25-13, 15-9) on September 16
189 - Serbia d China 3-2 (25-20, 14-25, 18-25, 25-17, 15-5) on September 13
187 - Cuba d Puerto Rico 3-2 (25-14, 25-20, 20-25, 11-25, 15-7) on September 13

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