Israel and Switzerland keep on winning in Ra’anana
Israel edged Montenegro in straight sets (25-15, 25-19, and 25-20) while Switzerland needed a tie-break for a come-from-behind victory over Hungary (23-25, 25-19, 19-25, 25-19, and 15-9). In the other match of the day, after losing to Switzerland on Wednesday, Greece got back on track routing Latvia in straight sets (25-23, 25-20, and 25-21) to keep alive their chances to finish among the top three of the tournament.
After winning their opening matches on Wednesday, Hungary and Switzerland were supposed to contribute a very exciting game for the second round of play at Metrowest Sports Palace and they eventually lived up to the expectations. The Swiss players started out strong (14:9) but Hungary was able to claw back and eventually pocketed the first set after a close final rush (25-23). In the second set Switzerland found their best play and anchored by their opposite Mandy Wigger – who scored 7 points in this section of the game – cruised to a comfortable 25-19 to draw level in sets. Hungary responded in the third set bringing it home with the same score before the course of the game changed once more in the fourth where it was Switzerland to have the upper hand, once again at 25-19.
Switzerland kept the winning momentum also in the tie-break going up 8:4 as teams changed sides of the court and did not look back anymore to cash their second victory (15-9) in the tournament with Wigger chipping in with a massive tally of 26 points.
After losing to Hungary on Wednesday, Greece needed to score a victory in the match with Latvia to keep alive their hopes to make it to the third and last round of the World Champs qualification and they eventually accomplished that mission. Greece immediately set the pace of the game (11:8) and even though Latvia fought their way back to 15 all and once more at 23:23, Greece was able to keep cool and seize the opening set at 25-23. After another close race up to 17 all, Greece broke away in the score to cash also the second set (25-20) and everything went easy in the third (25-21) as Evangelia Chantava paced the winning side with 13 points. Lana Sorokina top scored for Latvia with 11.
Israel rounded out the program by taking on Montenegro and the home heroines stormed out to a terrific 8:2 lead in the first set to immediately set the tone of the game. After such start, everything went easy for Israel that had a very reassuring margin by the second technical time-out (16:7) and did not slow down to cash the final 25-15. Anna Velikiy called for the first mandatory stop in the second set as the score stood at 8:5 for Israel and even though Montenegro had stabilized a bit their play in defense, the hosts did not look back and sealed the provisional 2:0 after seizing set 2 with the score of 25-19.
In the third set Montenegro surprised the hosts taking a 3:2 early lead and this time the match was a bit closer with the Israelis leading the way by two points halfway through the set (15:13). Anna Velikiy killed another spike to make it 20:18 for Israel and the home favorites finally pocketed their second win in the tournament to take another three points and top the standing of the group with six points after two rounds. Montenegro’s Tatjana Bokan top scored in this match with 17 points while Velikiy ended the game with 15 for Israel; team captain Moran Zur added another 10 to the count of the winning side.