Arithmetic is the only friend of Russia because “Sborna” overcame Germany in tie-break ,however, lost one point just saving mathematical chances for the Final Six ticket. Fabulous number of blocks (27), which set the world Grand Prix record did not allow Russia to be an architect of its own fate. Second game of the day fell prey to Thailand. The hosts of Pool L beat Puerto Rico.

 

 

Thailand – Puerto Rico 3 – 1 (18-25, 25-7, 25-22, 25-11)

Thailand: Nootsara 1, Onuma 20, Thatdao 5, Ajcharaporn 1, Wilavan 23, Pleumjit 9, Piyanut (L) and Tapaphaipun, Pornpun
Puerto Rico: Valentin 2, K. Ocasio 16, S. Ocasio 7, Rosa 12, Ruiz 6, Morales 9, Venegas (L) and Nogueras, Jimenez

The Puerto Ricans got off to a convincing start as the 192cm-tall Ocasio used her height advantage to attack aggressively at the net to help the world No.18 take an initial 13-7 lead. And as the attacks continued, it was clear that the Puerto Rico – who have yet to win a match in their year’s Grand Prix – stunned their hosts with their performance. The Puerto Rico side eventually secured a 25-18, taking the first set of the match on Friday.

However, the host team pulled themselves together and fought back valiantly during the second set.  Helped by the offensive combination of Wilavan’s devastating cross-court spikes and Onuma’s powerful jump serves, Thailand took a comfortable second set with a score of 25-7.

With one set each, Thailand maintained their poise to continue their impressive form. Malika Kanthong, Wilavan and Onuma took turns penetrating the visitors’ fragile defence with their spectacular attacks to help Thailand take a narrow lead with a score of 21-19. The Puerto Ricans gradually worked their way back to close the gap and tied the score at 22-22. However, Thailand was not to be outdone and remained in devastating form to win the remaining three points and the third-set with a score of 25-22.

Thailand were still in superb defensive and offensive form fourth set. And although Puerto Rico tried to tighten their defence, their attempts did not work out well and the hosts continued their onslaughts to win the set and finally the match with a score of 25-11.

Team Stats:

ActionsSpike pointsSpike %BlockServeDigReceptionSets noteUnforced Errors
Thailand5843%893141%16.512
Puerto Rico3829%1131427%15.121

 

Team Leaders:

Actions/PlayersPointsSpike pointsSpike %Spike errorsBlockServeUnforced Errors
Apinyapong Wilavan232160%1201
Karina Ocasio161431%6119

 

World Grand Prix

 

Germany – Russia 2 – 3 (25-22, 25-17, 18-25, 19-25, 11-15)  

Germany: Weiss 2, Beier 10, Furst 14, Kozuch 13, Brinker 15, Ssuschke-Voigt 5, Durr (L) and Hanke 1, Brandt 1, Hippe 10, Geerties 2, Izquierdo 3
Russia: Pankova, Kosheleva 13, Zaryazhko 15, Obmochaeva 21, Chaplina 12, Shlyakhovaya 14, Malova (L) and Pasynkova 2, Matienko 2, Malykh 5

Defending and successive two-time world champions Russia(world No.6), whose height average is 186cm against the rivals’183cm, got off to a dismal start in the first set. Germany, led by hard-attacking Saskia Hippe and veteran Christiane Furst, played exceptionally well to win the closely-contested first set 25-22.

Germany continued their winning streak in the second set, as Russia became more prone with unforced attacking mistakes. Germany led from the start to finish to take the easy second set 25-17.

Russia’s Tatiana Kosheleva and Nataliya Goncharova allowed Russia to come back in the third set, overpowering the German’s defense with powerful attacks, giving Russia the 25-18 win.

Russia still showed their brave fight in the fourth set. Kosheleva and Goncharova overcame the smaller blockers with aggressive attacks to help their team win the set 25-19.
Russia lost one vital point, as a result, Yuri Marichev’s players are classified on the 6th place in standings, so they not only have to win two remaining game, but they also must overtake there very strong teams.

Team Stats:

ActionsSpike pointsSpike %BlockServeDigReceptionSets noteUnforced Errors
Germany6536%742323%13.625
Russia5636%2442415%7.421

 

Team Leaders:

Actions/PlayersPointsSpike pointsSpike %Spike errorsBlockServeUnforced Errors
Margareta Kozuch131234%5016
Natalia Obmochaeva211434%1432

 

The situation in the table is extremely interesting as nine national teams still save chances to visit Sapporo for World Grand Prix Final Six. China (20 points) and Japan (Hosts) have already booked the spot. Serbia and Italy are very close to sign their presence in Sapporo. The last two tickets will be emerged among five teams: USA (17), Brazil (17), Bulgaria (16), Turkey (15), and Russia (14). “Sborna” seems to be in the poorest “seat” losing 3 points to the  pursuit groupand having the worst sets ratio.