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Press release

Serbia prevail against a tough Puerto Rico


Serbian Milena Rasic contributed 17 points to the victory over Puerto Rico, including nine blocks

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, August 4, 2013 – Serbia overcame a resilient Puerto Rico in four sets (25-22, 22-25, 25-17, 25-22) to conclude with a 3-0 win-loss mark, and the maximum nine points, in Pool B of the FIVB World Grand Prix on Sunday.

Jovana Brakocevic and Milena Rasic spearheaded the winning side by registering 20 and 17 points respectively, with all the points by Brakocevic via spikes while Rasic totaled a match-high nine blocks and added two aces.

Brankica Mihajlovic, who had scored 44 points in the two previous matches, was limited to 13 tallies for the last contest of the weekend while Jelena Nikolic chipped in with nine points.

Karina Ocasio led Puerto Rico with 14 points followed by Sheila Ocasio and Lynda Morales with 11 points apiece, and setter Natalia Valentin who served four aces among her tally of 8 points.

Serbia held a 50-39 advantage in spikes and of 16-10 in the blocking category while Puerto Rico topped in the aces department 11-6. Serbia made 26 unforced errors to 25 from the defeated side.

Puerto Rico took an 8-4 lead in the first set thanks to a couple of quick attacks by middle blocker Lynda Morales and serving aces by Natalia Valentin and Kanisha Jimenez. Serbia tied the scores at 10-all behind the offence of Brankica Mihajlovic combined with Puerto Rican errors. At 13-all, Puerto Rican Rosa landed a laser shot and after an attacking error by Mihaljlovic, Jimenez scored her second ace for 16-13. The rest of the actions were dominated by the Serbs with Jovana Brakocevic leading the reaction with four powerful spikes and Jelena Nikolic and Milena Rasic contributing with a pair of blocks. The first set concluded 25-22.

Both sides played in erratic form at the early stages of the second set but Serbia went into an 8-7 lead when Maja Ognjenovic blocked the spike of Karina Ocasio. Puerto Rico took a 15-9 lead with Ocasio and Valentin as the main producers, but Serbia were able to cut the gap 16-14 at the second technical time-out. Two blocks by Rasic against Rosa and Sheila Ocasio tied the scores at 18-all. Ania Ruiz broke the tie at 20-all with a spike from the left side but Serbia equalized again at 22 with the spikes of Brakocevic and Mihajlovic. Then Brakocevic crashed her serve into the net, Ruiz scored again, and Krsmanovic hit one too wide for the 25-22 set in favor of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico took a 5-0 lead in the third set when the reception of Serbia failed badly and Karina Ocasio scored with a block and a soft spike. Mihajlovic sparked a reaction that led Serbia to be on top 8-7 at the first technical stop. Both teams were now executing at top level with razor sharp spikes by Brakocevic and Mihajlovic from Serbia and Karina Ocasio from Puerto Rico. At 15-all, Rasic landed her spike just on the baseline. The rest of the third set was dominated by the Serbians and closed 25-17 with Ninkovic and Brakocevic as the main contributors.

Puerto Rico led 8-7 in the fourth set with both sides giving a good show of volleyball. The action continued evenly with teams battling aggressively every point. At 12-all, Rasic blocked Rosa for her eighth block of the match and Mihajlovic blocked Karina for a 14-12 score. Trailing by three at 15-12, Puerto Rican coach called for time-out. When play resumed, Brakocevic planted a parallel spike from the right side. At 21-14, Puerto Rico called for another time-out and sparked a late reaction capped by Rosa’s spike to cut the distance to 24-22 when Serbia called for time-out. The spike by Mihajlovic gave Serbia the set 25-22 and the 3-1 victory.






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