2017 FIVB MEN’S U21 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – Pool B
- Pool B
- June 23rd-25th, 2017
- Brno, Czech Republic
- MU21 World Championship Round 1
Pool B Standings:
Russia and Cuba looked like the potential favorites in the pool coming into the weekend and only reaffirmed that by making it into the top eight. Both sides assured it with another win today (although for Cuba things didn’t look good early). At the end of the weekend, Russia won the pool and is one of four unbeaten teams left in the tournament while Cuba got through at 2-1. Turkey just missed their chance at the top eight and the U.S. was unable to win a single set.
RUSSIA DEF. USA 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-22)
The United States were already in a position to not make the top eight, but they still had a chance to spoil Russia’s unblemished record. Although the U.S. scored 20 or more in every set, Russia came out on top, not allowing the U.S. to win its first set of the tournament.
The first set charge for Russia was led by Anton Semyshev, who had five points – which was the difference as Russia won the set by five. He was even better in set two, scoring eight times to help overcome an early 8-3 American lead for a 25-21 set win. He sat out the third set, enough to make things even closer for the U.S. but not enough to change the result as Russia swept the match.
Dylan Missry, Jordan Ewert and Matthew Szews put up a valiant effort for the Americans, all scoring double-digits. The only Russian over five points besides Semyshev was Aleksei Kononov, who had seven. The individual numbers were a representation for what happened in the match, as the U.S. actually out-spiked Russia 36-28. However, they were marred by mistakes and wild shots as they finished with 31 attack errors (to Russia’s 15). Russia also out-blocked (9-8) and out-aced (7-4) the United States.
“Russia is a good team,” USA head coach Jay Hosack said after the match to FIVB. “They are going to be in the hunt for a gold medal. They have a lot of professional players. We do not have any professional players in my team. My guys got better with each match. They put on a good fight and that is what I want.”
For the United States, they look to reset in Pool G on Tuesday. They’ll see the likes of Italy, Czech Republic and Egypt as they search for win number one.
Russia will be looking for number four on their next match after the 3-0 weekend that featured nine set wins to zero losses. Russia’s next matches will come against Argentina, Canada and Brazil. That’s a pair of 2-1 teams with a clash of 3-0 sides in the Pool F finale. From here, it gets tougher for Russia as they look pick up in Pool F where they left off in Pool B as they hope to be part of the semifinal round.
CUBA DEF. TURKEY 3-2 (25-21, 23-25, 22-25, 25-20, 15-7)
In a match that featured two 1-1 teams that had hopes of the top eight, Cuba pulled off the comeback to win the match in five.
Led by Miguel David Gutierrez Suarez‘s 24 points with seven blocks, the Cuban side pulled through a 25-21 first set. The next two sets wouldn’t be runaways, but it was Turkey who took control of the match by winning the second and third. Adis Lagumdzija was key in Turkey going up 2-1, as he finished the match with a team-best 19 points to go with four blocks. He was also joined by Abdullah Cam, who had 13 points, in Turkey’s success. Trailing 2-1, Cuba had to make a stand and did by winning the fourth, 25-20. The fifth was the only set that saw one team dominate the other, as Cuba came out on the right side, 15-7.
Beyond the 24 point performance of Gutierrez Suarez, Cuba also saw 39 combined points contributed by Miguel Angel Lopez Castro and Osniel Lazaro Melgarejo Hernandez. They helped Cuba to have the better offense, as they out-spiked Turkey 64-47 with only five more attack errors. The two sides also each got 18 total points from a combination of blocks and aces.
“I am really happy,” Cuba coach Nicolas Vives Coffigny said post-match. “The Turkish national team is a really good team and we played well against them today. We were simply better.”
Cuba will look to be better than their next opponent Iran, who went 3-0 in Pool C. They’ll also matchup with 3-0 Poland and conclude their time in Pool E against China.
While Cuba moves on to the top eight pools, Turkey heads to Pool H after the 1-2 start. They’ll face Ukraine, Morocco and Japan as they look to bounce back from a two-match losing streak.