Rosario, Argentina, May 29, 2011 -- Argentina used strong blocking and serving to secure a huge win over Serbia 3-0 (25-21, 26-24, 25-20) in the second match of the first weekend of the Intercontinental Round of the World League in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 5,000 at Newell's Old Boys Stadium in Rosario on Sunday.
Facundo Conte was the best scorer for the South American side with 18 points (including three blocking and one serving), while Sasa Starovic totaled 11 for the European team.
Argentina jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead thanks to a Pablo Crer ace and good blocking before Starovic was able to score the first two points for his team. The home team used their strong serving and blocking to keep the pressure on Serbia and at 6-2 Igor Kolakovic requested his first TO. A Rodrigo Quiroga spike saw the home side 8-4 up at the first technical timeout. Both teams kept scoring well with few unforced errors but the local team stretched their lead to six points before Serbia pulled back to 16-12 at the second TTO. Serbia's coach requested another timeout at 17-12, but the difference in blocking (5-2) and serving (2-0) was telling, and two great spikes by Crer, one from Conte over Starovic and the closing point by Pereyra gave Argentina their first set in this World League.
The second set started out even, but from 3-3 Conde's blocking allowed the hosts to move three points clear at the first TTO. Serbia stayed in the game and Milos Nikic leveled the scores at 13-13, but Argentina were out in front again at the second TTO, 16-14. With Argentina continuing to score with good blocking and spiking while Serbia were making unforced errors, Argentina maintained their lead, but Serbia rediscovered their blocking and levelled at 21-21. Argentina coach Javier Weber asked for a timeout when a Luciano De Cecco mistake gave Serbia the lead at 22-21, but three spikes by Conte and a block over Starovic earned Argentina a 2-0 advantage in the match.
The third set again started out evenly, but Argentina edged into ahead from 6-6 to 8-6 with the crowd urging them on. Kolacovic's team kept fighting and stayed close throughout the set, with dazzling performances from Starovic, Kovacevic and Stankovic, while Conte and Crer impressed for the home side. With the fans becoming the seventh player on the court, Argentina romped home for a historic win.