Belgrade, Serbia, June 14, 2009 - After a victory of the French Team in the first match of the week-end of the World League Intercontinental Round, the Serbian Men's team used all their wits to gather up the strength and win the second match of the week-end, acquiring thus their first victory in Pool B, in presence of Minister of Youth and Sports, Ms. Snezana Markovic-Samardzic, Ambassador of Korea, President of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia, FIVB and CEV Vice-President, Mr. Aleksandar Boricic, and many representatives of the City, Government and sport authorities.
Even though hosts and directly qualified for the Final Tournament of this year's 20th anniversary of the FIVB World League, it was the task of the Serbian Team over the week-end to work out the startegy to make today's game a victory for their Belgrade spectators, even though not in their finest numbers, who cheered their beloved Team to a victory with 25-19, 25-22, 19:25, and 25:22.
With a victory in mind from both sides, the first part of the set started in a great atmosphere of the Sports Hall Pionir in Belgrade where the Teams played point for point. Having reached first the TTO with 8:7, the Serbian Team tried hard to keep up the difference, with Sasa Starovic on the block, showing all his strength. Just a couple of points later and the second TTO was theirs with only one point difference. It was then that they found their concentration and stopped the attacks of the horrendous French player Antonin Rouzier. Not even the TO of their Head Coach Philippe Blain at 21:17 could help them save the result. In a series of 8:2, the Serbian Team came from 16:16 to unbeatable 24:19, and it was the second set ball that was scored by the home Team after a service error of Romain Vadeleaux after only 21 minutes. Learning from their mistakes in the past game, Serbia scored 7 points from the block. Evidently, the Serbian Team recovered and started playing together as they did so many times before.
If in the first set Serbia dominated through its block, the counterattacks in the second set was their middle name. The second set kicked off with the lead of the Serbian Team led by joyous Starovic, who had no mercy for their oppoinents and they very soon reached the first TTO, helped by a number of service errors of the French Team. The French soon caught up with them and only one point divided them before Starovic came hard on them again. Unforgiving attack of Janic and Stankovic on the block helped by Starovic moved the Serbian Team to a new lead and the four point difference for the second TTO and 16:12. Then they hurried up, with the frenzy of the fans in Pionir and got easily to 18:13 with ever pressing Starovic on the net. This time, all functioned well, setting was perfect and no TOs for the French Team could stop him playing so vigourously, making him absolutely the best scorer of the set and the whole match. With the highest point difference in the sets, 20:13, Blain tried all the ways to change the result and introduced other players, but the result kept on going. For a while he stopped the attacks with the reserve players coming to 24:21, when the point was repeated. Then the uncertainty of four set balls and after 27 minutes the Serbian Team resolved the set with a strong attack of the young Borislav Petrovic who already showed his quality in the first match of the week-end, ending the set with 25:22.
Another point for point play in the third set until the Serbian Team reached the first TTO with 8:7, but then the French Team found new strength to respond to the attacks, as the concentration of the Serbian Team fell to an unretreivable low and horrid services of Pierre Pujol, leading to 8:13. Having tried almost all his players (except Yannick) Blain found the combination suitable to respond to the counterattacks of Starovic. Not only did they reach the 2nd TTO with a four point difference with excellent play of the French Team Captain Marien Moreau and the mid blocker Jean-Philippe Sol from the reserve, but they soon made a 6 point difference, in no time reaching 22:16 and 23:17, in spite of all efforts of the Serbian Team. After an attack error of Milos Nikic, the second set ball of the French Team won them the third set after 22 minutes with 19:25.
There was no way the result could be kept this way and the Serbian Team's attack grew with Bojan Janic and Starovic being ever more in the mood of getting back to the French Team. They reached the first TTO with a 8:4 and continued keeping up the result difference high 9:4. At 12:7 Blain called for a TO but to no avail as the Serbian Team reached high point difference of 15:9, and the second TTO at 16:13. The difference continue and using their opponent's errors, the Serbian Team kept gaining the difference. It was at 19:17, as the French Team gained up the difference that Head Coach of the Serbian Team Igor Kolakovic had to call for the TO and keep up the good result they had from the start of the set. Without good result as the French came to equal 19:19 with attacks of greatly in mood French Team captain Moreau. Point for point again, victory close in sight for Serbia and possibility for another set for France. Probably the courage of the young Team playing before their audience rbought nervousness to both sides, but it was the service error of Romain Vadeleux that brought all the hall on their feet for the set and match ball, as the Serbian Team finally achieved their long wanted victory against the French Team improving thus their statistics in their 34th match in history of men's volleyball.
The best scorer of the match was young Sasa Starovic with 20 points, followed by ever joyous French Team Captain Marien Moreau (19), Serbian Team Captain Janic (15), and Dragan Stankovic and Emmanuel Ragondet, with "only" 12 points today.