2017 FIVB VOLLEYBALL WORLD GRAND PRIX – POOL C1
- Group 1, Pool C1
- July 7th – July 9th
- FIVB World Grand Prix Round 1
- Omnisport Apeldoorn, Appeldoorn, Netherlands
Netherlands and Japan both went 1-0 on day one, but only the Dutch recorded a full three points. In the second day of action, not only did Japan falter, but Netherlands scored another three points as they are the only undefeated team remaining in Pool C1. They also clinched the pool victory, because they would either have more points than Japan or have a better set ratio than the Dominican (if they were to lose tomorrow and Dominican Republic won).
The team that lost to Netherlands in day one was the Dominican Republic – the team that won Group 2 in the 2016 FIVB World Grand Prix. They almost let a 2-0 lead slip into a fifth set, but pulled it out in the end as they recorded their first win of the 2017 tournament.
Pool C1 Table:
Editor’s Note: While teams are divided into 4-team pools for pragmatic reasons on each of the 3 weekends of the tournament, each teams’ record goes into a single group-wide table to determine who advances to the knockout stages. The pool standings presented here are to help keep up with each pool only, and on each day of the tournament, we will post a summary that includes the full table as well. Prize money, however, is awarded based on pool standing each weekend.
NETHERLANDS DEF. THAILAND 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-21)
Netherlands began the day at 1-0 after a three-set sweep of the Dominican Republic yesterday. Thailand lost, but came into day two in third of the pool because they scored one point in a 3-2 loss to Japan.
Playing in front of a home crowd, Netherlands proved to be too much for Thailand. The defending bronze medalists in the World Grand Prix jumped and stayed ahead behind a strong block and serve. The Dutch combined for 11 points between block and serve while Thailand had just two.
None of the three sets were blow outs by any means, but Netherlands was able to control the match enough for a sweep, with every set ending in a four-or-more point difference. Five players for Netherlands totaled nine or more points, with a trio in double-figures: Celeste Plak (17), Robin DeKruijf (11) and Maret Balkestein-Grothues (10).
Netherlands now sits at 2-0, winning both matches in straight sets as they hold the maximum of six points. The Dutch have already clinched the pool victory, but they will look to have a perfect first weekend as they take on Japan tomorrow.
For Thailand, only Ajcharaporn Kongyot hit double-digit points, as she led the team with 11. She will look to play a key role as Thailand will go for win number one tomorrow against a team in Dominican Republic that comes off a victory against Japan.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC DEF. JAPAN 3-1 (25-20, 25-19, 24-26, 29-27)
The Dominican Republic netted their first win of 2017 in the World Grand Prix as they defeated Japan in four sets. It’s a big win for Dominican Republic’s confidence after they were in Group 2 in 2016 and earned promotion to the highest stage.
It was all Dominican Republic early, as they took set one 25-20 and set two 25-19 behind a balanced attack that would feature five with double-digit points. In the third set, Japan bounced back. They seemingly held a small lead for much of the set, but eventually sealed it in extra points at 26-24. Risa Shinnabe came up big in the set, as the wing-spiker did not appear in the first set and was just a substitute in the second. She would go on to total 10 points in her limited action, good enough for third on the team behind Yurie Nabeya (16 points) and Yuki Ishii (15 points).
As the Caribbean nation tried to avoid going from 2-0 lead to set five, Japan was slightly in front in the fourth. The set raced past the 20-point plateau and the match was constantly tied or in Japan’s favor by a tally. Finally, things changed when Bethania De La Cruz De Peña had one of her three blocks to give Dominican a match point. Again the teams would exchange points, but finally at 28-27 in a long rally, De La Cruz De Peña took two long strides on her approach for a back-row attack and slung the ball of a triple block and into the Japanese half of the court.
The Caribbean nation had a strong front-line defense in the match, as they out-blocked Japan 14-6. Annerys Victoria Vargas Valdez (16 points) led the team with five blocks while Jineiry Martinez (15 points) wasn’t far behind with four.
They’ll look to replicate that block as they face 0-2 Thailand tomorrow. With a win, they could finish the first weekend with a winning record. It’d be a nice step as they could be looking to the path of Canada in the latest men’s World League – a team who also won Group 2 and now is in the third-place match.
For Japan, a win would have made tomorrow’s meeting with Netherlands a de facto pool championship match. With their loss (since they have two points and the Dutch have six), there is no outcome that could give Japan the pool title, but the match still remains important as they will try to finish week one with a winning mark.