Strong opening for Belgium as Switzerland cruised to second win
2014 FIVB Volleyball World Championship - Women
Kortrijk, Belgium, May 24, 2013. The home favorites of Belgium started out their World Championship adventure by scoring a straight-set win over Portugal (25-11, 25-9, and 25-16) on the second day of the first-round qualifier running in Kortrijk. On the other hand, after their speedy win over Northern Ireland (25-6, 25-2, and 25-10) the Swiss girls mentored by Svetlana Ilic keep a perfect record and confirm their status of closest competitor for the sole ticket at stake to advance directly to the third qualification round scheduled for early January 2014.
Frauke Dirickx set the tone for the home side with her serves paving the way for massive 6:0 and 8:0 leads in the first and second set. Good blocking by Charlotte Leys and Laura Heyrman plus the attacks killed by Hélène Rousseaux – she registered 20 points in the end – paved the way for a 3:0 win of the Belgians. “We were very good in serving and defense” Belgium’s head coach Gert Vande Broek said after the game. “To be honest we have been playing for the past few years at a much higher level than the teams we are set to play here. We therefore need to concentrate on our own game and avoid mistakes” Rousseaux stated. Only in the third set Portugal – with a roster including seven players from the junior national team – went up 7:6 thanks to Joana Polido and a drop of concentration among the Belgians. However, Freya Aelbrecht could fight her way back for the home side and it was Heyrman who finished it off with a great block.
In the other match of the day Switzerland needed only 49 minutes to down Northern Ireland in three straight sets (25-6, 25-2, and 25-10). The Swiss players mentored by Svetlana Ilic could score their second win in the tournament after a match that was more than one-sided. In what was their very first World Championship game, the Northern Irish players around US-American head coach Sarah Jankowitz could score only 18 points in three sets. “We came here to learn as this is the very first time that our inexperienced team is performing on the global stage” Jankowitz said. Ines Granvorka literally “killed” the first set as she paced Switzerland up to a 12:0 lead with her serve before Stéphanie Bannwart did the same in set 2 (11:0). Things changed a bit in the third set where Northern Ireland could score 10 points with Claire Dowey, Rhian McCarroll and their captain Chloe Walkingshaw before Mandy Wigger finished it off for the Swiss.
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