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Venezuela unable to repeat performance against Finland

Finland's Mikko Oivanen (13) and Matti Oivanen block a Venezuelan attack

Caracas, Venezuela, June 14, 2009 - Team Finland exacted revenge on the Venezuelans Sunday with a four-set victory (23-25, 22-25, 25-22, 23-25) following a straight-sets loss to the hosts on Friday.

The Finns ruined Venezuela’s party, who in front of 9.700 spectators at the Poliedro de Caracas were looking to begin this year’s competition with a clean sweep, which would have been the fourth in their history.

In the first set, the Finns took control of the game early on and never lost it. In spite of making six errors in their service, they knew how to use other weapons of attack, in addition to their defence, to stay ahead. Venezuela failed seven times in the service during the set but nevertheless stayed close to Finland’s score. However, the hosts failed to order their attack (they could do it in the first game of the series) and compounded it by their mistakes.

The visitors had no trouble in organizing their block in the second set. With accurate service games, Finland did damage to the Venezuelan reception, who could not order the attack successfully. The Finnish defense again was effective, while Venezuela did not work to support the work of their blockers. In this way, the Nordic team was able to pass many balls and add many points.

The adjustments made by Venezuela in the third set brought results. Carlos Luna came to the court and managed to stabilize the reception. At the same time, the setter Rodman Valera left the bench and made changes in the distribution of the attack. All this enabled the offensive Venezuelans to triumph over the Finnish defense and the board was placed 2-1.   

In the fourth and final set, the Venezuelan defense dropped. Finland also took advantage of the attack led by Mikko Oivanen. However, an incredible defensive play from the Venezuelans to move the marker 16-18 seemed to inject the home players with enthusiasm. The set was tied 21-21, but at the end the Finns remained calm and sealed the game in their favor.

Finland’s two top scorers were Mikko Oivanen with 21 points and the captain Jukka Lehtonen with 14, while the sextet South American Thomas Ereu excelled with 15 point


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