Dutchmen claim second victory to top the charts at World Champs qualifier
The first, second and third placed teams at the end of this single round robin will make it to the third and last stage of the qualification process for the 2014 Men’s World Championship that is scheduled for early January.
After routing Romania on Wednesday, Sweden suffered a setback on the second day of action losing in straight sets to Ukraine (24-26, 15-25, and 22-25). Ukraine got off to a flying start in the opening set (15:11) but Sweden fought their way back to flip the charts around (19:18). It was a very close race down the final stretch with the score standing at 24 all before Ukraine scored the next couple of points to bring it home at 26-24. Ukraine kept the winning momentum also in the early phases of the second set (8:4) and widened their lead up to eight points (20:12) to pocket that section of the game with a massive 25-15. Ukraine showed great play also in the third set to cash a well-deserved straight win (25-22) being anchored by Sergiy Tyutlin who chipped in with 24 points. Sweden’s superstar Marcus Nilsson finished the game with 15.
On Wednesday Romania had lost in straight sets to Sweden but today got back on track after edging Israel 3:1 (24-26, 25-19, 29-27, and 25-20). Actually Israel set the pace of the game all the way through the opening set before Romania responded to tie the score at 24 all. With a couple of great spikes killed by Amir Vinarsky and Alexander Shafranovich, Israel eventually cashed the provisional 1:0 (26-24). Romania came back strong in the second set dominating the scene there and finishing it off at 25-19 with the help of their middle-blocker Andrei Spinu and setter Cristian Bartha. The score remained very tight from the start up to the end of the third set with a series of ties from 24 all up to 27:27 before Romania scored the next couple of points to seal the final 29-27. Israel regrouped in the fourth set going up 16:11 at the second technical time-out but Romania kept cool and eventually restored their supremacy (23:18) to finish it off at 25-20 to take three points from this game and remain in contention for a spot in the next round.
As they had won their previous matches on Wednesday and after Sweden had lost to Ukraine, the hosts of the Netherlands and Belarus were going to play for first place in the standing of the tournament. The Dutch team started strong setting the pace of the game at the first technical time-out (8:4) but even though they could widen their lead, Belarus stormed back to flip the score around for a while (22:23) before the Netherlands went for the final 26-24. The second set followed a similar pattern with the Dutchmen leading for most of the time and Belarus coming back strong later on; the “Oranjes” were nevertheless able to keep cool and closed it at 25-22 for the 2:0 in sets. After Belarus seized the third set (22-25), the hosts showed great composure in the fourth and finished it off after another very close race (26-24) to stay unbeaten in the tournament. Niels Klapwijk registered 30 points for the Netherlands while Siarhei Antanovich top scored for Belarus with 16.
On Friday Romania will play Ukraine to open the program of the third day before Israel go for their first win against Belarus. The Netherlands will try to prolong their winning streak as they get to test the likes of Sweden.