FIVB U21 Championships
- June 23-July 2, 2017
- Brno, Czech Republic
Iran 3, Ukraine 2 (25-19, 25-21, 23-25, 20-25, 15-13)
Argentina 3, Italy 1 (32-30, 25-19, 14-25, 25-21)
Argentina and Iran are on a collision course for a battle for the top spot in Pool C after registering their second victories of the U21 Championships on Saturday.
The teams will face off in the pool finale on Sunday.
Iran 3, Ukraine 2
Iran was bested in nearly every statistical category, but won the match 108-103 with help from 35 Ukrainian miscues.
Ukraine won on the offensive front (64-55), on the block (13-12) and from the service line (7-6). Iran helped its own cause by limiting its errors to just 19, which made up the difference in the match.
“This match was very important for us, if we could win this, we could go to another level – and we did,” Iranian coach Behrouz Ataei said. “Ukraine was not playing on their top level yesterday but today they were very strong and ticked all the boxes of strong volleyball play. My players are tired, yesterday was a hard match and now I’m very happy with this result.”
Rasoul Aghchehli racked up 28 points, including 26 kills, while Amirhossein Esfandiar and Esmaeil Mosaferdashliboroun added 15 and 10 points respectively. Esfandiar managed 11 kills and three aces, while Mosaferdashliboroun put down nine kills.
Ukraine boasted two 20-point scorers, Tymofii Poluian (27) and Oleh Plotnytskyi (22). Poluian downed 24 kills and three blocks, while Plotnytski registered 15 kills, four aces and three blocks. Dmytro Vietskiy added 14 points, with 13 kills.
“The main problem of our play is our attack,” Ukrainian coach Mykola Pasazhin said. “We did not make the most out of it today. We were very weak in our attack during the first two sets and recovered as a team later on but Iran proved too strong.”
Argentina 3, Italy 1
Four Italian players scored in double digits and the team bested Argentina offensively, but a win was not in the cards Saturday.
In a match decided by just one point (96-95), Italy outdid Argentina 54 kills to 52, but the Argentinians won the block (9-7) and committed one less error (33-32) in the victory. A lopsided 25-14 Set 3 win made the score much closer than reality.
Argentina won a back and forth battle in Set 1 and used a strong offensive front to register a 25-19 win in Set 2. Italy jumped ahead 7-1 in Set 3 and carried on to the 25-14 win. In the end, the Argentinians scored a 25-21 Set 4 win and knocked Italy out of contention for the best eight of the tournament.
“We knew we were playing a tough match they know how to play good volleyball,” Argentina coach Alejandro Grossi said. “The level of the teams in our group are the same level and today I am very happy. We played with a good team and we are so happy we won. Tomorrow we will have a difficult match against Iran.”
Jan Martinez Franchi scored a match-high 21 points for Argentina, with 19 kills, a block and an ace. Agustin Loser (10), Felipe Benavidez (9), Liam Ernesto Arreche (9) and Juan Horacio Bucciarelli (8) followed.
Paolo Zonca (15), Giulio Pinali (14), Paolo Di Silvestre (11) and Gianluca Galassi (11) paced the Italian side. Zonca and Pinali tallied 14 kills apiece, while DiSilvestre added eight kills and three blocks.
“When you play against Argentina, you know it is going to be difficult,” Italian coach Michele Totire said. “They have a great system. In this stage of the tournament it is hard to play against them. We played better than yesterday but their blocks, defense and serves were just so much better.”