Bulgaria relied on good blocking to take the lead 8-4 and extended the gap to 12-6 in the first set. Several Bulgarian mistakes combined with the improved Cuban attack led by Salas, shortened the bridge to 16-14 at the second pause. Block by Giel and defensive fault by Bulgaria tied the score at 18. With the score evened at 21-21, Salas’s spike was too long but she redeemed herself with a bomb. A wide spike from Vasileva gave Cuba the lead 23-22 forcing a time-out of Bulgaria. Grigorova tied the score again and Ruseva blocked for set point. The wide attempt by Palacios closed the set 25-23 for Bulgaria.
Tsvetanova’s spikes and blocking outmatched the exploits of Cubans Palacios and Salas towing Bulgaria to the lead 8-6 in the second set. Two consecutive kills by Rabadzhieva expanded the margin to 11-7 and Cuba called a time-out when the difference widened to 13-8. The second technical stop found Bulgaria in front 16-10. A four-point rally sparked by Salas with help from Silva’s powerful serves shortened the distance to 16-14. Cuban Pumariega was hitting in high gear late in the set, but Rabadzhieva helped to maintain the difference then combining kill and ace for a 24-20 lead. Palacios answered with block and spike but Vasileva hammered a spike for the 25-22 win.
Bulgaria was in front 8-7 in the third set with Ruseva helping the cause with block and spike for the last two points of her side. After a time-out at 12-9 following several mistakes, Cuba responded with a three-point rally behind the attacks of Palacios and Salas to tie the score at 12-all en route to a 16-14 advantage at the second technical time-out. Bulgaria tied the score via ace and spike of Vasileva and went ahead 18-17 with Rabadzhieva’s spike. Pumariega produced the parity for Cuba. At 19-all, Grigorova block was answered with a bomb by Pumariega. Teams kept trading blows to remain tied and at 27-all, Silva blocked the spike of Rabadzhieva and Palacios’ attack sent Cuba to the win 29-27 in the fourth set-point situation.
Cuba benefited from two aces of Marcillan and a couple of spikes by Pumariega to take the lead 8-5 in the fourth set. Cuba expanded the gap to 14-10 only to see how Bulgaria tying the score at 14-14 with two spikes of Rabadzhieva and par or aces by Boncheva. At 15-all, Bogdanova mishandled a set-up allowed Cuba to go ahead 16-15. When action resumed, Cuba scored three consecutive points what seemed a comfortable margin because Bulgaria came back to tie at 20 on the shoulders of Vasileva and Tsvetanova. At 21-all, the attack of Palacios was too long and Ruseva blocked for the two-point lead. The spike of Rabadzhieva sent Bulgaria to the win 25-23 and to the Final Eight round.