Italy and Russia score fourth consecutive wins to keep perfect record
2012 Olympic Games
London, Great Britain, August 3, 2012. Olympic defending champions Brazil kept their chances alive by edging China in an exhausting five-set battle of more than two hours at Earls Court on Friday. Brazil’s both victories so far have come in five sets with the previous one against Turkey in the opening day.
It was one of two matches that was extended to the five-set limit in the next-to-last day of the preliminary phase of the competition that will see the top four placed teams advancing to the quarterfinals. In the other long-match of Friday, Turkey overcame Korea.
Russia and Italy continue to share first place in Pool A with a 4-0 win-loss record and 12 points after wins over Japan and Algeria respectively while USA improved to 4-0 and 12 points in Pool B following their sweeping victory over Serbia. In the other match, the Dominican Republic defeated Great Britain 3-0 for their first victory after three losses.
In Sunday’s schedule, the Dominican Republic opens the morning session against Algeria followed by China versus Korea. Then Great Britain plays Japan and Italy faces off Russia in the afternoon program before closing the preliminary pool play with USA against Turkey and Brazil versus Serbia.
Brazil vs. China 3-2
Olympic defending champions Brazil outdueled China in a five-setter (25-16, 20-25, 25-28, 28-30, 15-10) that lasted 2 hours and 17 minutes to stay in contention for a spot in the 1/4 finals. The Brazilians are now with a win-loss 2-2 mark and four points as each of their victories have been by the score of 3-2, while China stayed with six points and also show a 2-2 record in Pool B. Sheilla Castro and Thaisa Menezes led five Brazilians in double digits with 23 and 22 respectively with Menezes recording six blocks. Jaqueline Carvalho, Fernanda Rodrigues and Fabiana Claudino finished with 15, 14 and 13 points. China’s Zeng Chunlei led all the players in the game with 24 points, including three blocks and one ace. Xu Yunli finished with 18 while Chu Jinling and Hui Ruoqi added 15 and 13 respectively. The winners held an 18-8 advantage in the blocking category and trailed 4-2 in the aces.
Russia vs. Japan 3-1
Star players Ekaterina Gamova and Nataliya Goncharova contributed 29 and 26 points respectively leading world champions Russia to a four-set win (27-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-19) over Japan in Pool A. The victory enabled the 2010 world champions to stay in first place of the group with a 4-0 win-loss record and full 12 points. Japan dropped to a 2-2 mark and 6 points. The Russians, who led 15-6 in blocks but trailed 10-5 in aces, also had veteran Evgenia Estes in double figures in the scores with 11 tallies. Gamova finished with five blocks and Goncharova, Estes, Maria Perepelkina, Maria Borisenko and Yulia Merkulova had two apiece. Saori Sakoda and Saori Kimura each finished with 23 points for the defeated side.
Turkey vs. Korea 3-2
Turkey claimed their second win of the tournament as Neslihan Darnel anchored her side to a 3-2 win (25-16, 21-25, 25-18, 19-25, 15-12) over Korea to improve their record to 2 wins and 2 losses with 6 points so far in the competition. The Asian team has got similar win-loss figures but 7 points and hence the fifth and last round of action coming up on Sunday will determine the final standings of the group as well as the composition of the quarterfinals. Darnel scored 27 points for Turkey well supported by Gözde Sonsirma and captain Esra Gümüs with 13 and 12 respectively while Korea’s scoring machine Kim Yeon-Koung chartered “only” 21 and Kim Hee-Jin added 13. The winners, who made 34 unforced errors to 17 by Korea, held the advantages in blocks (12-10) and service winners (6-1).
Dominican Republic vs. Great Britain 3-0
The Dominican Republic claimed their first win of the tournament by edging hosts Great Britain in straight sets (25-9, 25-18, 25-19) in what was for both sides the very last call to remain in contention for a spot in the quarterfinals coming up next week. Bethania De La Cruz paced the side from the Caribbean with 12 points, including three blocks, with Prisilla Rivera also finishing in double figures with 10. Milagros Cabral finished with 9 points and Annerys Vargas had four blocks among her eight tallies. GB captain Lynne Beattie registered a match-high of 11 points. The Dominican Republic killed a total of 13 blocks vs. only 3 for Team GB in what was the first match in history opposing these teams. With the Dominican Republic having to play Algeria in the last round of the prelims on Sunday and GB set to take on Japan, the chances of the hosts to make it to the next round look quite minimized.
United States vs. Serbia 3-0
USA cruised to a straight-set victory (25-17, 25-20, 25-16) over Serbia in 1 hour and 12 minutes to continue undefeated in Pool B with 12 points and a win-loss record of 4-0. The Serbians are still looking for their first victory in the tournament. The Americans, who only committed 8 unforced errors for the whole match, outblocked Serbia 15-3 and served 3 aces to 1 from the defeated side. Destinee Hooker once again topped USA in the score charts with 19 points, including 6 blocks, while Foluke Akinradewo had five blocks among her 11 points and veteran Logan Tom contributed 12 points. Serbia’s Brankica Mihajlovic finished with 13 points as the best for the losers while Jovana Brankocevic and Milena Rasic each finished with eight.
Italy vs. Algeria 3-0
The last match of Friday at Earls Court saw Italy crushing Algeria in straight-sets (25-11, 25-12, 25-17) to stay undefeated in four outings in the women’s tournament of the Olympic Games while the losers fell to a 0-4 record. Italy and Russia continue to share the top position in Pool A and will meet in a decisive match next Sunday while Algeria close their Olympic tour with a match against Dominican Republic. Antonella Del Core and Valentina Arrighetti led Italy with 13 and 10 points respectively. Simona Gioli finished with nine while Carolina Costagrande and Francesca Piccinini, who only played in the third set, each had eight. Zohra Bensalem and Lydia Oulmou were the top scorers for Algeria with 13 and 9 points respectively. The winners outclassed their opponents in blocks (8-1) and also in service winners (8-2).
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