Poland lost its first set, against Cameroon surprisingly. In other matches Argentina and Serbia won in straight sets.
Argentina: Uriarte (1), Conte (19), Sole (11), Gonzalez (6), Filardi (4), Ramos (10), Closter (L) and Darraidou (1), De Cecco Australia: Sukochev, White (2), Zingel (7), Edgar (13), Smith (2), Mote (4), Perry (L) and Peacock, Carroll, Douglas-Powell (4), Roberts (2), Passier
Australia started the match better than their opponents but two unfinished moves by Thomas Edgar and smart spikes by Jose Luis Gonzalez and Martin Ramos gave Argentina a 7-5 lead. The South American team steadily increased the gap thanks to Facundo Conte’s counter-attacks. When head coach Jon Uriarte’s team were losing by seven points, they managed to win three plays in a row and captain Aidan Zingel played a wonderful block. Gonzalez and Conte were unstoppable. The set ended up with the result 25-18 for Argentina due to Ramos’s ace.
The weak point for both teams was the service as the Australians and Argentineans both kept crashing the net. In addition, Gonzalez and Conte’s spikes were ineffective because of great opponent blocks. Thanks to that, the Australians managed to lead 8-6 going to the technical time-out. The break had clearly helped the Argentinians as they made up for the result and led 15-12 as Conte and Nicolas Uriarte showed good form. The Aussies tried to threaten the South American team with superb kills by the likes of Zingel, however the relaxed Argentineans finished the set 25-19 following Santiago Darraidou’s kill.
Velasco’s team could say they is better to be lucky than good. They started with the weak Sebastian Sole’s service as the ball almost did not pass the net. The Argentineans improved their reception, but Edgar’s fantastic attitude was the reason Australia led 8-7. Following the second technical time-out, the Aussies were three points ahead, but Conte, Ramos and Sole’s precise kills were the keys to Argentina’s success. When they gained the 20th point, Australia got confused and Uriarte’s time-out did not help. Following Conte’s block-out move, Argentina won the set 25-18.
Unexpectedly, Venezuela’s team began the match with great strength. Kervin Pinerua’s kills and an excellent double block by Jesus Chourio and Jose Carrasco caused a tied score. Not until the first technical time-out had finished, did the Europeans take a two-point lead. Alexsandar Atanasijevic, supported by Uros Kovacevic, was oppressing the opponents with his powerful spikes. When the Serbians were dangerously extending their lead, Venezuela’s players started to act more nervously. They were making more and more service errors and had problems with reception. Meanwhile, coach Igor Kolakovic’s team were showing superb kills and perfect blocks so they succeeded in the first set. Serbia won 25-20 as Chourio touched the net.
The Serbians controlled the next set for almost the whole time as they were playing with calm and concentration. Kovacevic, who stood out from the rest of the team, was producing unstoppable kills so that for the first technical time-out, the Europeans were leading 8-5. Head coach Vinzenzo Nacci’s team tried to reduce the distance, mainly with Pinerua and Chourio’s spikes. Following Atanasijevic spike that was off target, the South American side managed to take a 14-13 lead. When the second break passed, the Serbians jumped ahead to lead as they scored six points in a row. Venezuela’s team were helpless and Podrascanin’s block-out move gave Serbia victory by 25-17.
In the third set, Nacci’s team were showing a similar attitude as at the start of the match. The Serbians had difficulty finishing their moves as Venezuela’s team were more careful in receiving balls. Still, the Europeans found a way to surprise their opponents’ defence. Substitute, Sasa Starovic gained some vital points for his team following astonishing spikes and Serbia led before the second technical time-out, 16-13. Pinerua attempted to change the result for Venezuela, however with the focused Europeans it was a difficult task. As soon as the South American side got closer to Serbia’s score, Kolakovic’s team immediately gained more points. With Pinerua’s spike error, the Serbians won the last set 25-22.
Cameroon began the match highly concentrated and totally relaxed as they surprisingly took the lead. Sem Dolegombai, Nathan Wounembaina and Jean Patrice Ndaki Mboulet played some perfect spikes which Poland could not cope with. The hosts were obviously astonished with Cameroon as they had terrible problems with reception and attack. Head coach Peter Nonnenbroich’s team came off the court for the first technical time-out with a 8-5 lead, which was met with disappointment by the Polish fans. Following the break, the Europeans came closer to Cameroon thanks to Mateusz Mika and Mariusz Wlazly’s kills, however before the second time-out the African side were still leading. Mistakes by libero Krzysztof Ignaczak partially caused Cameroon to lead 20-15. Head coach Stephane Antiga was forced to ask for two time-outs and substituted Wlazly and Pawel Zagumny with Fabian Drzyzga and Dawid Konarski. That changed the Polish team as they gained five points in a row and managed to take a lead but Cameroon did not give up. With many Polish mistakes and a bit of luck, the African team won 27-25 after a successful block by Dolegombai.
In the second set, the situation had not changed. The Cameroonians were still dictating terms and the hosts were unlike the team from the last three matches. They were making a lot of service errors and their block was ineffective. Meanwhile, for the first time in Cameroon’s team, every player was gaining points including the likes of Maliki Moussa who stopped Wlazly. Again, Nonnenbroich’s team established a five-point lead. The hosts were desperately looking for their chance, at the technical time-out the African side were 16-13 ahead. Ndaki Mboulet and Wounembaina were punishing the Polish defence with smart kills. Poland made up to level the score to 19-all thanks to great Marcin Możdżonek serves and Michal Kubiak’s, as he was scoring points with spikes and block. When the set came into a decisive moment, Konarski gave Poland a lead after a few wonderful spikes. Zagumny gave the hosts a 25-23 victory.
In the third part, the Poles were more focused and motivated. They quickly took a 5-1 lead mainly thanks to Kubiak and Możdżonek. However, the 5th ranked team according to FIVB Volleyball world rankings, were beaten several times by Cameroon who are placed 22nd. The hosts were keeping a five-point lead following perfect, technical spikes by Konarski and Rafal Buszek. The block which started to be effective gave the Polish team some vital points. When the scoreboard showed 23-15, the Poles found the style of their game which they had been showing so far in the tournament. Following a Cameroonian error, the hosts won 25-16.
Again, the beginning of the set was very level as both teams were fighting for every point. Poland with Możdżonek and Konarski’s spikes took a 8-5 lead at the first technical time-out and they extended their result following a block by Andrzej Wrona and Fabian Drzyzga’s kill. The Cameroonians were obtaining points with moves by the likes of Georges Kari Adeke and Mefani Olivier Nongni Zanguim and they caught the Poles. Following the second break, the hosts were systematically increasing their lead as they managed to acquire four points in a row. With Kubiak as a spiker, Poland managed to gain a fourth victory on this championship. The set was finished 25-22 after promising triple block by Buszek, Możdżonek and Konarski.
IMO Ogbogu showed that she deserves to be in the roster for WCH in Japan instead of Dixon. After these friendly matches I would say that she's the best blocker in the USA. Kingdom also did impress me, she's a smart hitter, I would take her as 4th OH.…