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France Starts Strong with Sweep of Greece

France's Krou and Lafitte put up a block versus Greece

PUNE, India (July 31, 2009) - France captured a 25-18, 25-20, 26-24 victory over Greece on Friday afternoon during the opening day of the 2009 FIVB Men’s Junior World Championship (U-21) being held July 31-Aug. 9 at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune, India.

France’s Youssef Krou led all scorers with 17 points, 16 of which came off spikes. Guillaume Quesque added 14 kills in the victory and Fredaric Barais contributed nine points.

Greece captain Mitar Tzouritz collected a team-high 16 points and Pangiotis Pelekousas recorded nine points.

Although Greece out-blocked France 7-3, it was the victor’s offense of 48 spikes that proved to be part of the difference. France also netted a 4-1 ace advantage in the match.

The match was part of the three-day, four-team round-robin first round Pool C also involving Cuba and Argentina. France continues play against Argentina on Saturday at 12:00 local time on the middle day of the opening round, while Greece faces Cuba at 16:00 local time. The overall tournament consists of 16 teams with four pools of four teams in the first round.

The top two teams from each first-round pool advances to second round 1-8 classification matches to be held Aug. 4-6. The bottom two teams in each first-round pool falls to the second round 9-16 classification matches.

France scored a relatively easy 25-18 victory in the opening set as Quesque and Krou produced most of the damage with four points apiece. France had eight different players score in the set to get involved early the tournament.

Greece played it closer in the second set, but France still prevailed 25-20 on the strength of five points each from Barais and Quesque. Tzourits tried to keep Greece close with six points in the period.

Greece looked to extend the match to a fourth set by jumping to a 16-12 lead at the second technical timeout of the third set. However, France inched back into the set at 22-20 and tied the period at 24-all. Without losing a beat, France won the set with the final two points at 26-24.

  

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