FIVB - Volleyball World Grand Prix

Press release

Czech Republic secure win over Croatia in World Grand Prix opener

Czech Republic capitalised on a strong frontline against Croatia

Almaty, Kazakhstan, July 25, 2014 – Czech Republic concocted a spirited offence in their 3-1 (32-30, 25-21, 19-25, 24-20) victory against Croatia in the first match of the 2014 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prixat the Baluan Sports and Culture Palace on Friday.

Croatia are making their first appearance in the World Grand Prix, while Czech Republic are on their second campaign. 

Key Points

·     Czech Republic matched their performance on their 2013 debut with a win on the first match of the 2014 edition.

·     Czech Republic recorded their third victory in the World Grand Prix, including the two matches they won last year.

·     Czech Republic hitter Aneta Havlickova charted 24 points, all on attacks.

·     Czech Republic players Havlickova, Tereza Vanzurova, and captain Helena Havelkova combined for 60 points – more than the total points of two sets and more than half of the team’s total match output.

·     Mia Jerkov, the most senior player on the Croatian side, scored the most points on a losing effort.

Czech Republic worked on a strong frontline, scoring off blocks in the opening set. While they suffered from several service miscues, their setter Lucie Smutna ran the offence in various angles. Havlickova proved to be the Czechs’ red-hot hotter as she fired from the frontline as well as from the back. 

The Croatians tried to vary their offense as well, and even succeeded in combination plays, but their lacklustre reception could not carry off the faster pace they planned for. The Czechs soon misfired on their attacks in crucial plays which gave Croatia a taste of the lead at 22-21. The Croatian side worked hard in earning their points but they suffered from an attack error to lose the first set at 32-30. 

In the second set, the Czechs continued to capitalise on their straightforward offence, mostly anchored on Havlickova and captain Havelkova. When the Czech hitters proved inconsistent with their spikes, it would have been easy for Croatia to rev up. However, Croatia could not fully steam past their opponents as they suffered from errors. They tried to put up a more gallant stance, pounding and playing catch-up like they did late in the previous set. However, another attack error on the Croatian side led to the Czech victory in the second set 25-21. 

Croatia vastly improved on their reception which set their offence with much more precision. Captain Jerkov showed her leadership for the Croatian team but Samanta Fabris likewise contributed with her attacks. Nikol Sajdova and Veronika Trnkova stepped up on offence for the Czechs but Croatia proved more steady, giving them a convincing 25-19 victory in the third set. 

An exchange of points between sides marked the fourth set, with Croatian Jerkov serving up an ace leading to the first technical timeout. Fabris continued to heat up from both flanks but Croatia had a hard time to defend against Czech hitter Havlickova. The fourth set closed out at 25-20 for the Czech team.

Czech Republic will be facing Australia, another World Grand Prix debutant, on Saturday.

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