2017 FIVB MEN’S U21 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – Pool A
- Pool A
- June 23rd-25th, 2017
- Brno, Czech Republic
- MU21 World Championship Round 1
Pool A Standings:
The day began with Poland and Canada sitting atop the Pool A table – both undefeated at 2-0 with a chance to round out the week unblemished. On the other end of the pool, the Czech Republic and Morocco had a chance to find footing and get their first win.
While Canada saw its first loss, the Czech Republic got its first victory. After Canada was able to win a five-setter with the Czechs, the point difference isn’t much even though Canada has one more win. Poland ends up as the Pool A victor with an undefeated mark while Morocco lost all nine sets of the weekend.
POLAND DEF. CANADA 3-0 (31-29, 25-23, 25-20)
Both teams felt good about making the cut for the final eight (that get fed into Pool E and F), but only one could finish the weekend undefeated and Pool A champions.
The first set was the most back-and-forth, as Poland squeaked it out in the end 31-29. They had two set-point chances in the second as they took it 25-23 before having a bit more cushion in the third and final set.
Bartosz Kwolek steadied the Polish offense with a match-high 14 points. He was assisted by Tomasz Fornal‘s dozen along with a trio of others who had seven or more points. In total, Poland out-spiked Canada 49-36. That was enough to overcome the four blocks (and 10 points) from Fynnian Lionel Mccarthy of Canada as he helped the Canadians out-block Poland 8-5.
“It was not a beautiful game today, but we are glad that we won,” Polish head coach Sebastian Pawlik told FIVB after the match.
The win continued the hot start for Poland, as they won every match in Pool A without conceding a single set. As one of the top eight teams, they get pushed into Pool E, which begins on Tuesday. They’ll see China and Cuba as well as another unbeaten team in Iran as they’ll look to make a push for the semifinal round at the start of July.
Canada also did enough in the opening weekend to be classified in one of the pools for the top eight. They had a three-set sweep of Morocco yesterday, but the biggest result was their five-set victory in a road match over Czech Republic on Friday. They now jet off to Pool F where they’ll face two 3-0 teams right off the bat in Brazil and Russia, followed by another 2-1 squad in Argentina.
“It is very good that we qualified among the top eight, but today I am not satisfied, because we did not win, although we came to win,” Canadian head coach Gino Brousseau said post-match to FIVB. “But I must say my team is still progressing and we are playing better and better.”
CZECH REPUBLIC DEF. MOROCCO 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-18)
Both nations were looking to get off the schneid – both knowing that a win wouldn’t put them into the top eight, but would help start a turnaround. Czech Republic dominated a good portion of the match in finding their first win of the tournament.
Donovan Dzavoronok, who finished with 13 points, strung together 10 of them in just the first set as he put down all four of his aces in the first. That effort pushed Czech Republic to a 1-0 lead with a 25-16 convincing first game. Soufiane El Gharrouti (nine points), Oussama Elazhari (eight points) and Youssef Aatata (six points) were the only Moroccans over five, as they made set two a tighter affair. Still, the Czechs came out on top, 25-21. Leading 2-0, Matej Smidl helped put away the match with eight points in the third – as part of his 15 total points.
The Czechs out-spiked Morocco 40-32 and dominated with eight blocks and nine aces to Morocco’s one and three, respectively.
“I am very glad to have won today,” Czech Republic head coach Ivan Pelikan said post-match. “The atmosphere here, in Brno, was great. We played the match the way we wanted.”
Czech Republic avoided the top eight due to the five-set opening loss to Canada, but was able to salvage the weekend in front of a home crowd. They’ll head off to Pool G where they’ll face Egypt, USA and Italy starting on Tuesday.
Morocco on the other hand gets pushed to Pool H to face Japan, Turkey and Ukraine. Beyond looking to find their first win, they’ll look to just take a set after going 0-9 in sets in the opening weekend.