2017 FIVB WORLD LEAGUE – GROUP D2
- June 8th-11th, 2017
- Hartwall Arena, Helsinki, Finland
- World League Round 2
Australia and Finland both came into this week with losing records but have excelled in the second portion of group play. Finland came into this week searching for its first win after an 0-3 start in Pool A2. They got they what they wanted to begin week two as they sat atop the Pool D2 standings in a tie with Australia; both at 2-0. Both at six points. Australia was 1-2 in their opening week, so their 2-0 start to this weekend had them vaulted up in the Group 2 standings. As Australia came out on top in four, they earned the maximum three points and now have nine in Pool D2.
Slovakia came into the day without any points in Pool D2 as they were winless at 0-2. However, Slovakia had the complete opposite path of Finland as they did a majority of their work in the opening week going 3-0 in Pool B2. Today, they collected the maximum three points against China. Interestingly enough, because Slovakia had a much better first weekend than Australia, they rank a single point ahead of the Australians in the overall Group 2 standings.
AUSTRALIA DEF. FINLAND 3-1 (25-21, 14-25, 25-21, 25-19)
Both of the countries in this match came in unbeaten through two matches of Pool D2 Play. Not only were they tied atop the pool standings, but the FIVB World League series (tied at 2-2) was to be broken as well.
The Australian side came out swinging with a 25-21 first set victory. They were quickly matched by Finland’s 25-14 second set shellacking. Urpo Sivula and Jan Helenius each led the set win as both finished with a dozen points.
Set three was like a boomerang – it came back to Australia on a similar path as the first. Again the Australians would win the set 25-21, giving them a 2-1 edge. With the end in sight, Australia was able to pull away a bit in set four and eventually take a 24-19 set point opportunity. Setter Harrison Peacock back-peddaled to the right pin before crossing the ball to the left pin where Nathan Roberts, who totaled 10 points, crushed the ball to the back row for match point. Paul Carroll recorded 22 points with Luke Smith adding 13. Australia also thrived in the service area, logging seven aces to Finland’s four.
Beyond pushing themselves alone in first of Pool D2, the Australian side – at least for the time being – cemented themselves in the top four of the overall Group 2 table. Finland will look to get another winning streak going as they fall to 2-1 in Pool D2 and 2-4 overall in Group 2.
SLOVAKIA DEF. CHINA 3-1 (25-20, 17-25, 25-12, 25-21)
China came into the series with a 5-2 record against Slovakia in FIVB World League play. However, it was Slovakia striking early as they took set one 25-20. China would quickly respond behind Chuanhang Tang, who had a team-high 13 points, to win set two 25-17. Rui Li and Daoshuai Ji were also key contributors as each collected 11 points.
After splitting the first two sets, Slovakia steamrolled China in set three, 25-12. Set four would be the closest among all as Slovakia again finished on top 25-21. Four different Slovakians finished with double-figure points, as Marcel Lux lead the charge with 19. Slovakia had an astounding 21 blocks to China’s 8 in the four-set win.
The victory looms large for Slovakia, who were undefeated entering the week, but fell in their first two matches. The win moves them to third in Pool D2 and keeps them among the best in the Group 2 standings at 4-2 while China remains in the bottom half.