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USA win final rehearsal before start of World Championship

 
Ljubljana, Slovenia, September 8, 2018 - Team USA claimed first place at the Ljubljana Volleyball Challenge, a high-level tournament held just before the start of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship in Italy and Bulgaria. Slovenia finished the tournament second, while Canada and Iran settled for the third and fourth place, respectively.

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Slovenia opened the tournament with a 3-1 (27-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-20) win over Canada. Although Slovenian head coach Slobodan Kovac played the match without three of his top players, the home team still delivered a solid performance. “Today my players played better in all technical elements of the game and I’m happy with that. The World Championship is a long tournament, so we need all the players to be well prepared and to give their best.” His colleague on the Canadian bench, Stéphane Antiga wasn’t that satisfied with the performance of his players: “I saw a good team of Slovenia and just an average performance from our side. I am disappointed with the level of our game. We still have time, since it is just a friendly match, but we need to start playing better.”

Ljubljana, Slovenia, September 8, 2018. Team USA claimed first place at the Ljubljana Volleyball Challenge, a high-level tournament held just before the start of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship in Italy and Bulgaria. Slovenia finished the tournament second, while Canada and Iran settled for the third and fourth place, respectively.

Slovenia opened the tournament with a 3-1 (27-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-20) win over Canada. Although Slovenian head coach Slobodan Kovac played the match without three of his top players, the home team still delivered a solid performance: “Today my players played better in all technical elements of the game and I’m happy with that. The World Championship is a long tournament, so we need all the players to be well prepared and to give their best.” His colleague on the Canadian bench, Stéphane Antiga wasn’t that satisfied with the performance of his players: “I saw a good team of Slovenia and just an average performance from our side. I am disappointed with the level of our game. We still have time, since it is just a friendly match, but we need to start playing better.”



In their second clash Iran fought hard and the hosts had to do their best to secure a 3-2 (25-27, 31-29, 25-22, 23-25, 18-16) win. Slovenia took this match as a good preparation for the upcoming World Championship. “We saw that we must keep fighting even in difficult situations such as those in which were today. We have three strong teams at this tournament and that will help us prepare for the World Championship,” commented Klemen Cebulj, who contributed 17 points to the victory of his team.

Ali Shafiei of Iran stated that they are taking this tournament for adjusting to this level of Volleyball: “We came here from the Asian Games and the quality of Asian teams is so much different compared to the world-class teams. We needed some time to adjust back to this level and now we are going to do our best at the World Championship.”

On the final competition day Team USA upset the home crowd by claiming a 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 24-26, 25-21) win over Slovenia and became the eventual winners of the tournament. “We lost the third set because of some serving errors, but the rest I think we did good. We are working on our systems as we need to. Overall it was a great tournament for us and it was fun playing against good teams,” commented Taylor Sander, the captain of Team USA. Slovenian captain Tine Urnaut agreed that this tournament was a great experience: “We saw there are no easy points against teams like USA and that took us today’s victory. Still, we got the confirmation that we can play equally against one of the world’s best teams.”

In the last match of the tournament Canada needed five sets to defeat Iran 3-2 (26-24, 22-25, 17-25, 25-23, 15-9). John Gordon Perrin, Canada’s captain was satisfied with the outcome: “We are happy we won the last game, so we have some good moral going to the World Championship. Overall we have a few things to work on, but I think that we are going to come together at the right moment.” Iranian player Mohammad Mousavi was not too disappointed after the match: “Our team is tired after the Asian Games, a long travel and difficult three matches in a row. We have some problems with injuries, since two of our starting players are injured. It was difficult to play against Canada, which is one of the world’s best teams. This kind of matches are just what we need for a good preparation for the World Championship.”


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