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Russia, Germany reach Montreux semifinals as Brazil miss out

 
Germany defeated Japan to reach the semifinals of the Montreux Volley Masters
 
 Montreux, Switzerland, May 30, 2014 – Russia and Germany booked the last semifinal tickets at the Montreux Volley Masters on Friday after overcoming Switzerland in straight sets.

Russia qualified for the semifinals at the expense of Brazil on points ratio. Germany took the last ticket for the semifinals – the first time they have reached that stage – by defeating Japan in three sets, while in Friday’s last clash, USA won against the Dominican Republic, also in three sets. 

In Saturday’s semifinals, USA will play Russia, while China will confront Germany. 

Russia 3, Switzerland 0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-15) 
In the first game, world champions Russia overcame Switzerland and eliminated defending champions Brazil.

Yana Shscherban was Russia’s top scorer with 16 points, while Mandy Wigger had 13 points for the Swiss. 

The result was immaterial for Switzerland who couldn’t reach the semifinals, but not for Russia and Brazil who both still had a chance to advance. Switzerland could have helped Brazil if they had won at least one set or only lost by a differential of 23 points. 

The Swiss kept the game tight at the beginning of the match by keeping the number of unforced errors low. However, at 17-17 the Swiss started to become nervous and committed more mistakes. Coach Timo Lippuner tried to calm his players down, but the Russians took advantage and won the first set 25-19. 

Russia started with confidence in the second set, while Switzerland lacked focus and made mistakes on easy balls, as well as in passing and defence. Russia won the set 25-13. 

In consequence, Switzerland needed to win the third set or score at least 21 points to stop the Russian dream of reaching the semifinals. The Russians got the early lead they needed and Yury Marichev’s players outscored their hosts, winning the set 25-15.

Germany 3, Japan 0 (25-15, 27-25, 25-16) 
The 2013 European silver medallists qualified for the semifinals for the first time as they won in three sets against a fighting Japanese team. 

Margareta Kozuch (18 points) and her teammates were able to overwhelm Japan, led by Arisa Inoue (10 points). 

It was a decisive game for both Germany and Japan. With three points each, both teams had an opportunity to qualify for the semifinals. Germany’s coach, Giovanni Guidetti, wanted to make history with his “Schmetterlinge” by claiming a semifinal ticket for the first time. 

The Germans started well and were able to put pressure on the Japanese defence with good diversity in an offensive game. The Japanese had to work hard as German setter Mareen Apitz played a good game. The Europeans constantly increased their lead and won the first set 25-15.

Japan had to react in the second set if they wanted to stay in the race. Masayoshi Manabe’s players fought for every ball and started to get kills with their quick offensive game. The set progressively became a fight between the two setters – Germany’s Apitz and Japan’s Natsumi Fujita – with the German prevailing as she made the decisive point with a beautiful tip. 

World No. 3 Japan then had their backs to the wall. Germany took advantage of this lack of confidence and kept up the pressure. The Japanese mobilized the power they had left, but the Germans were too strong in their offensive game and couldn’t be blocked. 

USA 3, Dominican Republic 0 (25-19, 25-11, 25-14) 
Outclassing the Dominican Republic in straight sets, World No. 2 USA kept a clean sheet after the preliminary round of the Montreux Volley Masters. The U.S. ladies improved to 3-0 while the Caribbean side remained winless.

Kelsey Robinson (USA) was top scorer with 13 kills, while Mambru Casilla led the Dominicans with nine points. 

Pool B winner USA will play Russia in Saturday’s semifinals, while the Dominican Republic will challenge Brazil for fifth place. 

The Americans had an 8-7 lead early in the opening set and even though the Dominicans tried their best to resist the powerful U.S. attack, they couldn’t cope with the speed and precision of the North Americans. Led by an impressive Kristin Hildebrand, the U.S. ladies slowly took control of the game. Mambru Casilla answered with some hammers from the right side, but couldn’t stop the American powerhouse in the crucial phase of the first set. Five consecutive points from 18-18 to 23-18 helped USA to a hard-earned 1-0 lead. 

The Dominicans, traumatised by the unexpected end to the first set, lost their positive spirit early in the second set. The U.S. squad, on the other hand, kept the pace high. Kelsey Robinson fired several missiles into the opposite court, while the block and defence specialists showed their incomparable skills in defence. As a consequence, the North Americans sailed to an easy 25-11 win in the second set.

Things didn’t change in the third set with the USA heading toward an undisputed straight-sets win. TeTori Dixon closed it out at 25-14 with an ace. 





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