FIVB World Championships – European Qualification Women
- May 24- June 4, 2017
France continued its fall from grace on Friday, dropping its third straight match of Pool F play. This time the 14th-ranked French fell to No. 24 Finland via sweep. 4
In other action, No. 3 Germany held its own against No. 27 Portugal though it took four sets to complete. Slovenia swept Estonia in the final match of the day in Viana do Castelo, Portugal.
Finland 3, France 0
Finland won all major statistical categories in the 26-24, 25-18, 25-17 win over France, but did not lead on the scoreboard for much of the match.
Finland rallied from down five in a 26-24 Set 1 win, grabbing the set on its third set point chance. The French again carried the load for much of Set 2 after taking an early 8-2 lead, only to see it slip away in a 25-18 loss. Finland led Set 3 nearly from the start, save an early 2-0 deficit.
Finland outblocked France 5-4, outserved them 9-6 and outhit them 45 percent to 38, and committed just nine errors in the match.
“Today I am happier than in the previous days, not only because we won but also because our team is improving from match to match,” Finland coach Tapio Kangasniemi said. “Tomorrow we will play against the pool favorites, Germany, but as in Volleyball it’s difficult to dominate every match, let’s see what we can do.”
Piia Korhonen put up 19 points, including 16 kills and two aces to pace the Finnish attack. Daniela Ohman added 10 points, with seven kills, two aces and a block.
Juliette Fidon managed 16 points to lead France, while Christina Bauer added 10.
Germany 3, Portugal 1
Germany cruised to wins in Sets 1 and 2, but Portugal proved it would not go down without a fight in the third. The Germans were, however, too much to handle in the fourth, ending Portugal’s hope of an upset in front of its home crowd.
“It was a very difficult match, but I think that if we had believed more in ourselves, we could have achieved a different result,” Portugal’s Julia Kavalenka said. “Mainly we struggled with our reception, but in the third set we showed that we have the right set of skills to beat any of the teams playing in this pool.”
Both teams turned in 10 blocks and Germany edged Portugal 5-4 in aces, but the Germans hit at a 39 percent clip and took advantage of 36 Portuguese miscues in the win.
Jennifer Geerties scored 13 points, with nine kills, two blocks and two aces for the Germans. Maren Brinker added 12 points, including 10 kills.
Kavalenka racked up a match-high 20 points for Portugal, including 16 kills and a match-best four aces.
“We are one victory away from reaching our goal and we can feel that we are getting closer to qualifying to the World Championship,” Geerties said.
Slovenia 3, Estonia 0
Estonia led at the start of each set, but Slovenia proved too strong in a 25-19, 25-20, 25-12 win, keeping Slovenia in the hunt for a Worlds berth.
“Tomorrow we will have our most important match, since it will decide about who finishes second in the pool and will move on to the third round of qualifications,” Slovenian captain Eva Mori said. “The sports hall will certainly be crowded with Portuguese fans and I only hope that we can play like we did today.”
Slovenia used 11 blocks and six aces to overpower the Estonians in the win. A 42 percent hitting effort also was a factor.
Lana Scuka tallied a match-high 19 points, with 17 kills and two blocks. Iza Mlakar was right behind with 18 points, including 12 kills, four blocks and two aces. Sasa Planninsec added 10 points.
Eliisa Peit scored seven points for Estonia.