Beijing, August 18, 2008 - Bulgaria secured a spot in the quarterfinals of Men's Volleyball by beating Venezuela 23-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-22 in their last preliminary match on Monday, August 18, the last day of the preliminary round. Venezuela is now eliminated from contention for the next round, which means China, who will gain at least point in the standings with their final match, is guaranteed a spot in the quarterfinals.
Bulgarian captain Plamen Konstantinov came back after missing the first three games and scored five points.
He played the first match for Bulgaria and then returned back to Sofia of Bulgaria because in the words of Bulgarian team doctor Dr. Dinko Zahariev "In the last Konstantinov sample, there were values very close to the limits settled by the regulations. We dicided not to risk it and stopped the player. We need to test him again. that is why he is back in Bulgaria."
Ernardo Gomez of Venezuela was the main attacker and scorer in the first set, scoring all over the court from the front and at the back providing Venezuela an early lead. Bulgaria adjusted their defense and offense and was trailing closely behind until an obvious fault call by referee Mohammad Shahmiri ended the set in Venezuela's favor.
Stronger blocking from Vladimir Nikolov, Matey Kaziyski and Evgeni Ivanov of Bulgaria dominated the net and suppressed Gomez's offense.
Bulgarian setter Andrey Zhekov's impulsive drop-shot surprised Venezuela's defense. With more reception errors, Venezuela failed to set up their attacking combinations.
The score was tied at 16 in a closer fourth set. Kaziyski stepped up with his vigorous quick middle attacks while Venezuela failed to dig his shots, widening the scored gap to 19-16. Nikolov's final touch from right-side of the court finished off the set.
Venezuela qualified for the 2008 Beijing Games after winning the Continental Olympic Qualification tournament in Formosa, Argentina in January 2008. Venezuela secured their first ticket to the Olympic Games after they beat hosts Argentina in the final match of the tournament, a reverse of the result at the previous Olympic qualification tournament in 2004.
"At the very beginning of the Olympic Games we hoped that we could do a better job and reach the quarterfinals, but we didn't realize that goal," said captain Andy Roja. "However, we are happy because we have already performed better than any other Olympic Games, we didn't even qualify for previous Games."