2017 FIVB WORLD LEAGUE – GROUP D1
- June 9th-11th, 2017
- Azadi Indoor Stadium, Tehran, Iran
- World League Round 2
Pool D1 Standings:
Serbia picked up the maximum points on Friday while Iran got the extra tally over Belgium earning the five-set victory.
Coming into the fresh play in Pool D1, Belgium (second) and Serbia (fourth) both sat at 2-1 from their opening weekends and in position for the Final Six. Iran (tenth) and Argentina (eleventh) on the other hand were looking to ascend out of the bottom of the standings. Following the results of today, Serbia moved into the top three with Belgium right behind. Iran made the biggest leap in the standings moving to the fringe right behind the Final Six.
For Serbia, the win was a bit of vengeance – last year, in the entirety of the World League, en route to the overall title, Serbia lost only one match – to Argentina.
SERBIA DEF. ARGENTINA 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-23)
The Pool D1 opener saw just a three-set match, but one that came down to the wire in sets two and three.
“Obviously, I am very satisfied with the approach of my team,” said Serbian coach Nikola Grbic. “Argentina was the only team who beat us last year in the whole world league 3-0. So, we were very prepared and concentrated for this match. I hope to do the same approach tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.”
After Argentina tied the first set up at five, Serbia’s Marko Ivovic spiked one down from the left pin to give the Serbians the lead at 6-5. That lead would hold throughout the set, as Serbia would pull away and take set one 25-18.
In set two, Serbia held a close lead for a majority of the set. Then as the set dwindled to its close, Cristian Poglajen, who had a team-best 15 points for Argentina, pulled Argentina within one at 23-22. An Argentinian serve error followed by a kill from Srecko Lisinac, who finished with nine points, gave Serbia the 25-22 win for a 2-0 lead.
Serbia carried the momentum over to the third as they grabbed the first three points. The lead eventually ballooned out to 18-13 in favor of the Serbians through 31 points. Showing fight, Argentina racked up eight of the next 13 but still trailed 23-21. The net caught Argentina’s next serve, giving Serbia match point at 24-21. Poglajen’s cut shot followed by a Serbia lift gave Argentina hope as they trailed 24-23. Ivovic put the final nail in the coffin on a first possession kill for Serbia to sweep the match in three sets.
Uros Kovacevic led Serbia with 12 points while Ivovic finished with 11 behind nine kills and two blocks.
IRAN DEF. BELGIUM 3-2 (23-25, 25-17, 25-22, 23-25, 15-12)
The first set was a roller coaster. With Iran leading 13-12, points bounced back-and-forth like a teeter-totter until 17-17 when Bram Van Den Dries, who finished with 18 points to add to his high mark last week, broke the trend with a kill. Belgium eventually earned a 20-18 advantage, however Iran looked to have a 3-0 run after Francois Lecat hit one long, but on replay review the ball was shown to have touched the fingers of Seyed Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi. That switched the count from 21-20 Iran to 21-20 Belgium. After exchanging the next four points, Tomas Rousseaux and Arno Van De Velde blocked Amir Ghafour. Iran won the next point, but Rousseaux finished the set with a kill from the right pin.
Set two started with the same theme in a 7-7 tie. Iran busted out for the next seven points as they pulled away for a 25-17 set victory to even things up at 1-1.
Belgium bounced back in set three, jumping out 8-4. Iran quickly rallied, tightening Belgium’s lead to just one at 12-11. Four unanswered points by Iran gave the lead back their way, which they wouldn’t relinquish up to set point at 24-19. Just when Belgium began to pressure Iran by winning three straight to make it 24-22, Belgium shot itself in the foot as Simon Van De Voorde’s serve went long.
Trailing 2-1, Belgium was in do-or-die mode. In a set that was always seemingly tied or just a point apart, Belgium held a 24-23 lead. Sam Deroo, who finished with six points, had the final kill of the set in a rally to even the sets at two apiece.
In the fifth set, it was Iran nabbing the early lead of 7-6. They eventually expanded it to 11-7 and held on for a 14-12 edge. Pieter Verhees would serve long to give Iran a much needed win.
Milad Ebadipour Ghara H. led the charge for Iran with 20 points while Seyed Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi and Adel Gholami each added 15.