WU18-POLvsSRB (35)

On day one of the FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship, Romania opened Pool C defeating Puerto Rico in straight sets while Serbia needed five sets to prevail against Poland in Pool A.

Romania and Puerto Rico kicked off the actions at Fenadu Venue in Durango, with Romania celebrating a straight set victory 3-0.

Romania overpowered Puerto Rico in the second set with a huge 10-3 lead, but Puerto Rico’s serves along with several blocking points kept Romania on their toes up to an even score of 19 points; finally Romanian attackers seized control again. In set three, Romania took the lead by a comfortable 11-6 margin but had a scare as libero Alexandra Ion crashed with one of her teammates defending an opponent attack and suffered a minor wrist injury. Puerto Rico, still pressured aggressively to restrain Romania who missed two match points before sealing the win 25-21.

Romania v Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-21)

Romania finished with 36-17 advantage in attacks and 8-6 in the blocking category; with opposite hitter Denisa Cheluta and middle blocker Andra Dariana Badiu as top scorers with 13 and 10 points accordingly.

Lidia Paula Partnoi, Captain of Romania said “It was a little hard for us because it took time to adapt to the court and the sport hall. We hope this is the first of many victories. I believe our height was an advantage against Puerto Rico”.

In Pool A, Serbia prevailed in five sets over Poland thanks to a huge 20-9 margin in blocking, in a match full of ups and downs.

Serbia v Poland 3-2 (22-25, 25-10, 23-25, 25-14, 15-6)

The scores were very close in set one and tied on numerous occasions up to point 11 when Poland had a more consistent offense in attacks taking the first set. The second set was a whole different story as Serbia overwhelmed Poland with a huge 25-10 finish, improving their overall performance, but mostly in their blocking system that prevented Poland from scoring on attacks. Serbia´s unforced errors helped Poland winning a close third set; but Serbia´s reaction didn’t take long storming over Poland with confidence and leading set four with a huge 18-9 margin and forcing a tie-break. Serbia was tougher in the fifth set jumping to an early 10-4 lead and controlling every element of the game to pocket their first tournament win with a comfortable 15-6 finish.

Serbia also led in attacks 62-46 with outside hitter Una Vajagic scoring a match-high of 25 points, on 23 kills and two blocks.

“The result shows it was a tough game, on occasions we were smarter and that made the difference” said Serbian captain Nina Mandovic.

Cameroon and Nigeria had been due to participate in the event; however, were unable to arrange their visas for Mexico in time and so forfeited their matches.(Thailand v Nigeria in pool C and Mexico v Cameroon in pool A).