Two weeks of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League 2019 are history. Likewise, the Dominican Republic also made history as they edged the defending champions United States in five sets. It was a see saw battle as no team won consecutive sets. The Dominicans handily won the opening frame, 25-10, before the Americans responded in the second, 25-16.
After splitting the next two sets, both teams fought fiercely in the opening stages of the deciding set. However, the Dominicans had more ammunition in the end to pull off the upset. Defeating Brazil and the USA gives much pride to this team despite owning a 3-3 record.
On the other hand, it has been a disappointing performance for the Americans. They had momentum coming into the fifth set but let it slip away. Their 21 unforced errors helped their opponents seal the victory. The 61 attack points they made was put to waste too. Sadly, the defeat removed their grip from the top spot of the VNL standings.
Sensational Brayelin Martinez led the charge for the Dominicans with 26 points. Bethania Dela Pena had 12 while Lisvel Mejia added 11. Meanwhile, USA’s balanced scoring did not produce victory this time. Chiaka Ogbogu paced with 16 markers while Dana Rettke contributed 11. Madison Kingdon, Andrea Drews, and Jordan Thompson all had 11 points apiece.
The Dominicans will travel to Bangkok for Week 3 to face Turkey, Bulgaria, and hosts Thailand. Meanwhile, the Americans will welcome Brazil, Germany, and South Korea to their home turf in Pool 10.
Payback time for Italy
The Italians suffered a bitter five-set defeat against the Serbians in last year’s Women’s World Volleyball Championship. At least they settled the score in their VNL match. But the victory wasn’t easy as Davide Mazzanti’s crew took an extended third set, 27-25. Italy closed the contest in the fourth set, 25-23.
The host team didn’t leave their fate to chance even though some of Serbia’s top guns were not playing. They unleashed a strong service game by tallying 16 aces. The block battle also went to their favor, 14-7. Paola Egonu finally had a breakout game in the Volleyball Nations League by scoring 32 points, seven off aces. Cristina Chirichella gave support with 12 markers. Indre Sorokaite and Lucia Bosetti made eight apiece.
More straight set victories
Belgium bounced back by winning over Thailand in three sets. However, it was a sorry loss for the Thais as they scored 21, 22, and 23 points, respectively. Kaja Grobelna led the Belgians with 19 points while Pleumjit Thinkaow had 14 for the Thais. Belgium goes to 3-3 while Thailand drops to 2-4.
Meanwhile, Japan completed an undefeated run in Week 2 by defeating Germany. Kumi Nakada’s squad had the edge in aces, 8-1, and attack points, 49-41. Yuki Ishii and Ai Kurogo had 14 and 13 points, respectively. Louisa Lippmann paced Germany with 13. Japan owns a 4-2 record while Germany has one win in six matches.
Brazil returned to its winning ways by keeping Bulgaria winless in six matches. Ana Guedes led the Brazilians 18 points while Mara Ferreira made 12. The Brazilians improve to 4-2.
China unleashed a dominating performance by limiting South Korea to 44 total points. Lang Ping’s troops mounted a great wall of net defense by compiling ten kill blocks. The Chinese only had ten unforced errors in the entire game. Changning Zhang tallied 17 points while Xinyue Yuan contributed 12.
Finally, Turkey demolished Russia in three sets. Meryem Boz had another excellent game by scoring 25 points while Zehra Gunes supported with 15. The Turks re-established their superiority upfront by collecting 12 kill blocks while Russia only had five. The Turks are now on top of the standings at 5-1. Russia is struggling at 1-5.