London 2012

Press release

Brazil rout Russia in top match of the day as Bulgaria upset Poland

Poland star and FIVB hero Bartosz Kurek looks evidently disappointed after the defeat his side suffered on Tuesday to the likes of Bulgaria

London, Great Britain, July 31, 2012 – It was a long day at Earls Court on Tuesday for the second round of action in the prelims of the men’s tournament but the triple world champs of Brazil rounded it out with a classy performance whereby they routed Russia in straight sets to re-assert their intention to crown this Olympic campaign with yet another medal. While all other matches ended up as almost everyone had foreseen – with Serbia, Italy, USA and Australia quite comfortably edging their respective opponents, i.e. Tunisia, Argentina, Germany and Great Britain – Bulgaria caused the major surprise of the day at Earls Court by powering to a 3-1 win over 2012 FIVB World League winners Poland. After two rounds, the guys captained by Vladimir Nikolov are the sole undefeated team in Pool A while the charts of Pool B are topped by Brazil and USA that haven’t conceded a single set to their rivals in the group.

Serbia vs. Tunisia 3-1

Serbia scored on Tuesday morning its first win in the men’s Olympic tournament by edging Tunisia 3-1 (25-15, 25-21, 20-25, and 25-18) before some 10,500 spectators in attendance at Earls Court. With this result Serbia improved its Olympic record against Tunisia to 3-0 and got back on track after losing in straight sets its opening match with the USA on Sunday. Aleksandar Atanasijevic scored 24 points en route to this win with impressive figures being registered also by Uros Kovacevic (19) and Marko Podrascanin (14, including 8 blocks). Hamza Nagga scored 22 for Tunisia. Serbia imposed its pace to claim a 2-0 lead but then suffered a drop of concentration thereby opening the way to Tunisia that called for a fourth set that was nevertheless dominated by the 2011 European champions. Serbia outclassed Tunisia in all fundamentals with 18 blocks vs. 11 for the guys from Northern Africa and with 9 aces confirming the very solid performance of the group captained by Bojan Janic also from the serving line. 

Poland vs. Bulgaria 1-3

On the fourth day of action at Earls Court Bulgaria eventually contributed the first major sensation of the volleyball tournament as the guys captained by Vladimir Nikolov powered to a 3-1 win (25-22, 29-27, 13-25, and 25-23) to edge Poland. This is a real surprise especially since Poland had claimed all of the last few matches with Bulgaria, scoring also a speedy 3-0 in the semis of the FIVB World League held only some weeks ago in Sofia. Cheered from the stands also by former high jumper Stefka Kostadinova, who is currently chairing the Bulgarian Olympic Committee and is a gold medalist from the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the players mentored by Nayden Naydenov scored their second win of the tournament after beating Great Britain on Sunday. The real man of the match was opposite Tsvetan Sokolov, who amassed a total of 28 points including 4 aces and attacked with a terrific – 24 out of his 44 attempts were successful – consistency to stun Poland’s block-and-defense system. 

Italy vs. Argentina 3-1

Italy secured their first win in the men’s volleyball tournament of the London Olympics beating Argentina 3-1 (25-17, 21-25, 25-17, 25-23) and taking their record to one win and one loss in Pool A at Earls Court on Tuesday. Italy’s offense was anchored by Michal Lasko and Ivan Zaytsev who scored 18 and 17 points respectively while Facundo Conte paced Argentina with 14. Italy literally outclassed their opponents in blocking, totaling 14 vs. only 6 for the South Americans, and thereby extended its positive tradition at the Olympics for a fifth win over Argentina in as many matches.

United States vs. Germany 3-0

The United States claimed on Tuesday afternoon their second consecutive preliminary match at Earls Court beating Pool B opponents Germany 3-0 (25-23, 25-16, and 25-20)  to go one step closer to defending their Olympic crown. This result totally reversed the outcome of the match played by these sides only a few weeks ago at the World League finals where Germany had rallied to a 3-2 win. Team USA totally outclassed their opponents in blocking (11 vs. 4) and scored also more aces (6 to 4) to improve their Olympic record with Germany to 2-0.
Matthew Anderson continued his strong form, scoring 15 points with an excellent 45% strike rate on spikes. USA captain Clayton Stanley was also very effective in attack. USA’s offence was well marshaled by Donald Suxho, who carried the majority of the setting load, finishing with an average of 11.67 per set, two more than anyone else in the match.
Germany’s top scorer, György Grozer, finished with 12 points, but he was responsible for many of the team’s wayward serves and spikes, which impacted on his effectiveness.

Great Britain vs. Australia 0-3

Australia won their first match of the London 2012 Olympic Games volleyball competition beating Great Britain in three straight sets (25-15, 25-18, and 25-20) in a preliminary round Pool A match at Earls Court on Tuesday. There are 70 world ranking places in between the two teams, and it showed. Britain committed error after error throughout the match – particularly on serve – making it very difficult for the home team to compete with their antipodean foes. The most obvious area where the Australians dominated was in defense. The Australian blockers formed an impenetrable wall and Thomas Edgar lead the way with three. In total Australia blocked nine shots to Great Britain’s one. Edgar also led Australia in scoring with 13 points followed by Igor Yudin’s 10. Great Britain’s players were their own worst enemy in this match, committing 32 errors to Australia’s 20. Their best was Mark McGivern who finished with seven points.

Brazil vs. Russia 3-0

World No.1 Brazil beat No.2 side Russia in straight sets (25-21, 25-23, and 25-21) in the last match on schedule at Earls Court on Tuesday. The result reflects the outcome of their previous clash dating back to the 2011 FIVB World Cup in Japan where Brazil inflicted Russia their only defeat in the tournament. Murilo Endres paced Brazil with 13 points but it was Russia’s lack of accuracy that paved the way with gold for the South Americans who benefited from 28 errors committed by the players coached by Vladimir Alekno. With this result Brazil got the right boost of confidence to play on Thursday the only other unbeaten team in the Pool, the 2008 Olympic champions from USA. 

Volleyball a unique synthesis of all athletic abilities
A special guest joined some 15,000 fans on Tuesday evening for the second match of Team GB in the men’s volleyball tournament of the London Olympics. Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the LOCOG, showed up to cheer on the local heroes captained by Ben Pipes who were playing their second preliminary match at Earls Court, with a young but promising Australian side standing on the other side of the net…

Priddy family gets together to cheer on Reid’s quest for second Olympic gold
Sharon and Ken Priddy have been following their son, Reid, almost everywhere. They were in attendance also on Tuesday afternoon at Earls Court as Team USA played and eventually downed Germany in straight sets…

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Highest Scorers day-by-day
21 – Maxim Mikhaylov of Russia v Germany (29-7-12)
28 - Tsvetan Sokolov of Bulgaria v Poland (31-7-12)

Top- Scoring Performances
28 – Tsvetan Sokolov of Bulgaria v Poland (31-7-12)
24 – Aleksandar Atanasijevic of Serbia v Tunisia (31-7-12)
22 – Hamza Nagga of Tunisia v Serbia (31-7-12)
21 – Maxim Mikhaylov of Russia v Germany (29-7-12)
21 – Zbigniew Bartman of Poland v Bulgaria (31-7-12)
20 – Bartosz Kurek of Poland v Bulgaria (31-7-12)
19 – Uros Kovacevic of Serbia v Tunisia (31-7-12)
18 – Matthew Anderson of USA v Serbia (29-7-12)
18 – Michal Lasko of Italy v Argentina (31-7-12)

Top-Blocking Performances
8 – Marko Podrascanin of Serbia v Tunisia (31-7-12)
6 – Todor Skrimov of Bulgaria v Great Britain (29-7-12)
5 – Dmitriy Muserskiy of Russia v Germany (29-7-12)
5 – Michal Lasko of Italy v Argentina (31-7-12)

Top-Serving Performances
4 – Tsvetan Sokolov of Bulgaria v Poland (31-7-12)
4 – György Grozer of Germany v USA (31-7-12)
3 – Bartosz Kurek of Poland v Italy (29-7-12)
3 – Aleksandar Atanasijevic of Serbia v Tunisia (31-7-12)
3 – Pablo Crer of Argentina v Italy (31-7-12) 
3 – Matthew Anderson of USA v Germany (31-7-12)

Highest Set Score:
31-29 – Russia v Germany (Set 1) on 29-7-12

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