MAY 18-20
Serbs lead as
three teams
finish with 2-1
Serbia came out on top of Pool A after the first
week of matches in Hamamatsu, Japan, but the
seven-time medallists finished only a point ahead
of Cuba and Russia. Serbia, Cuba and Russia all
finished with 2-1 records. Hosts Japan welcomed
the FIVB World League back after having to play
last year’s fixtures away following the devastating
earthquake in March, but they lost all three of their
matches. They did manage to pick up two points
after taking Russia and Serbia to five sets. Cuba
overcame a resilient Japan 3-0 (25-22, 28-26, 25-
in their opening match and beat Russia in five
sets, which was only their fourth win over their
rivals in 21 encounters dating back to the 2002 FIVB
World League. But Cuba were unable to match
Serbia, who beat them 3-1. Serbia came back from
two sets down against Russia on the opening day,
but couldn’t maintain their momentum and lost
the final set 15-9. Cuba’s Wilfredo León topped the
scorers with 63 points, followed by Russia’s Pavel
Moroz and Japan’s Tatsuya Fukuzawa.
The last three days we have had five-set matches
and that has been difficult for us,” Russia captain
Konstantin Ushakov said. “There are some things
we need to improve.”
We had three matches here in Hamamatsu, and
each day our team improved their play,” Cuba
coach Orlando Samuels stated. “León needs to
train a little more to improve physically, and his play
needs to be more stable, but he is doing well.”
Cuba’s Fernando Hernandez started
in two games of Pool A play,
scoring 15 points against Japan
and another 15 against Russia