Bulgaria beat Poland twice this weekend getting Final 6 promotion. After a straight victory on Friday, Bulgaria, led by outstanding Tsvetan Sokolov and unstoppable Todor Aleksiev, claimed tie-break despite Poland was already losing 0-2. The second game of the day in pool A fall prey to being in reserve composition Brazil, which left no doubt to USA.

 

Bulgaria – Poland 3 – 2 (20-25, 23-25, 25-21, 25-21, 19-17)

Bulgaria: G. Bratoev 3, Aleksiev 19, Gotsev 1, Sokolov 31, Skrimov 3, Yosifov 7, Salparov (L) and V. Bratoev 12, Samunev 1,Dimitrov, Penchev
Poland: Zygadlo 2, Kubiak 11, Mozdzonek 8, Bartman 18, Kurek 27, Nowakowski 5, Zatorski (L) and Jarosz, Ruciak, Kosok 2

Having two teams with strong will for the victory was the best that could happen in the Palace of Culture and Sports. Poland was anxious to fix yesterday’s errors and Bulgaria fought hard for a win to prove that USA’s loss against Brazil wasn’t their only ticket into the Finals.

Poland came into the first set with completely different face then Friday. Andrea Anastasi held more ambition in the first set and took advantage of hosts celebrating the qualification and not being concentrated for the match. Bartosz Kurek took the responsibility and lead his team ahead. Kurek made the decisive points to give his team five-point advantage at 13:8. With Bartman and Kubiak supporting him, the three completed the set easy for Poland 25:20.

Bulgaria tried to snap out of the shock in the second set, but Sokolov and captain Aleksiev were not enough to stop the “red and white” storm. The defense by the hosting team was not stable, and each error was punished buy the Polish. It was almost equal rally won at the end by Kurek for Poland.
Then something happened; Bulgaria woke up. Camillo Placi made some changes Valentin Bratoev to start instead of Skrimov. This made effect hosts were ahead in the beginning of the third. Kubiak and Bartman lead Poland ahead but Valentian Bratoev and Aleksiev kept the balance in favour of Lions until the end, 25-21.

Poland started well the fourth and it seemed that they would close the match. Poland’s Sokolov was not on the same opinion though. He scored some aces and few spikes to keep his team ahead until the very end 25-21.

The tiebreak provided a marvelous game of volleyball for the crowd in the Palace of Culture and Sports. Bulgaria went ahead with unstoppable Sokolov who finished with 31 points. At 14-10 it seemed everything was decided for the hosts but Bartosz Kurek then scored three aces to equalize it at 14-14. A few more points painted the volleyball picture more colourful and the victory was of huge importance of Bulgaria’s self-esteem before the Finals next week.

Team Stats:

Actions Bulgaria Poland
Spike points 65 57
Spike % 58% 46%
Block 10 7
Serve 2 9
Dig 23 20
Reception 24% 42%
Running Sets Note 4.8 6.8
Unforced Errors 31 32

 

Brazil – USA 3 – 1 (25-22, 25-18, 20-25, 28-26)

Brazil: William 1, Thiago Alves 1, Eder 10, Wallace 16, Lucarelli 17, Lucas 16, Mario (L) and Raphael Vieira 1, Renan 3, Mauricio 7
USA: Caldwell 2, Anderson 17, Lee 10, Clark 5, Ciarelli 3, Holt 10, E. Shoji (L) and Lotman 7, K. Shoji 1, Troy 9

Brazil started the match committing too many errors, and let the Americans jump 4-0 ahead. USA led almost all set, but spiker Ricardo Lucarelli’s great streak on serve finally put Brazil ahead (22-20). After an error by Antonio Ciarelli, Brazil won the set 25-22.

Brazil led 2-0 in the second set, but USA reacted immediately. However, middle-blocker Lucas Saatkamp made the difference with four consecutive aces and put the home side in front (12-6). Lucarelli’s attack gave Brazi the set, 25-18.  

USA improved their block in the third set and opened a 5-1 advantage. Brazilian errors helped the Americans to keep the lead until the end of the set. With an impressive performance, Matthew Anderson sealed the victory 25-20.

The fourth set started close, and Brazil went to the first technical timeout ahead (8-7). Both defenses worked well but a Lucas’ block gave Brazil a two-point lead (20-18). The home team won the set (28-26), and the match.

Brazilian Lucarelli and American Anderson were the match’s top scorers with 17 points each.

Team Stats:

Actions Brazil USA
Spike points 59 48
Spike % 43% 36%
Block 8 13
Serve 5 3
Dig 68 52
Reception 12% 14%
Running Sets Note 8.25 5.5
Unforced Errors 26 27

 

Just one match remains to the World League 2013 group stage end, so it is high time to sum up this phase. Who surprised or disappointed? Which player deserved to be appointed to “Dream Team” of the group phase? Follow Volley Country in order to find it out.