Cyprus ladies keep clean record after second day at World Champs qualifier
2014 FIVB Volleyball World Championship - Women
Cospicua, Malta, June 29, 2013. On a busy Saturday with four competitions games scheduled for the first-round qualifier for the 2014 FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship – Pool G, Cyprus started strongly against the local Malta team winning 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, and 25-22).
The first set was evenly balanced with Cyprus stepping up the gear at the end of the game. Alison Borg was Malta’s best player defensively and in attack, while Antonia Theoti pushed the team forward with some good combinations with setter Ioanna Leonidou. During the second set, Malta failed to maintain their challenge and Cyprus quickly opened an 8-point lead. However, the Maltese coach changed the setter to Maria Costa and Malta was able to close the gap thanks to some good spikes from Thais Gatt and Daniela Bonnici. However, some very good defensive work from the Cyprus libero Elena Mosfilioti enabled Antonia Theoti and Antri Iordanou to close the set 25-16 with good spikes. Malta played Maria Costa as setter for most of the third set and Alison Borg and Gertrude Zarb kept Malta in touch with Cyprus only to be edged 25-22. Cyprus thus maintained their 100% record.
San Marino sprung a surprise in the second game winning quite comfortably 3-0 against Scotland (25-20, 25-17, and 25-19). Samanta Giardi and Elisa Parenti provided some good attacking play to recover Scotland’s initial lead and close the first set 25-20. Scotland started the second set quite strongly and although they never had a comfortable lead, looked in command of the set thanks to Lynne Beattie and Anneka Hastings but San Marino’s libero Veronica Barducci and setter Maria Montironi were determined to keep every ball alive and San Marino managed to turn the set around and win quite comfortably at 25-17. The third set was evenly balanced but San Marino was determined to close the game and did so thanks to good spikes and blocks from Samanta Giardi combining well with the setter Maria Montironi.
Cyprus maintained their top form in the third game winning 3-0 against Luxembourg (25-10, 25-13, and 25-20). Cyprus started strongly building up a healthy lead thanks to strong well-placed spikes from Irina Koudouna. Luxembourg found it difficult to find its rhythm and Cyprus easily closed the set 25-10. During the second set, Cyprus still maintained their form and good defense work from libero Elena Mosfilioti and with the setter distributing good balls Antri Iordanou and Andrea Charalambous took up a number of points through strong spikes. Analena Mach performed well in the set for Luxembourg but could do nothing to stop Cyprus winning the set 25-13. The final set was a balanced affair with Betty Hoffmann and Corinne Steinbach improving their game. However, Katerina Zakchaiou was introduced by the Cypriot coach, with the score standing at 16:12, and Cyprus managed to close the set 25-20.
In the final game of the day, San Marino managed to beat Malta 3-1 (25-20, 25-10, 14-25, and 25-23). The first set was evenly balanced with the score tied at 11-11 but good spikes from Cristina Bacciocchi and blocks from Sarah Glancy helped San Marino open a gap. However, good blocks by Daniela Bonnici enabled Malta to narrow the score to 17-15 and both teams maintained the gap till 21-19 before Cristina Bacciocchi closed the set 25-20. San Marino opened the second set with an advantage of 8:4 thanks to spikes from Samanta Giardi and Chiara Parenti. Alison Borg was giving her utmost to push Malta forward but could not help Malta falling 16:5. Malta failed to find their rhythm in defense especially with good services from Maria Montironi and San Marino closed the set 25-10. In the third set, Malta settled down more quickly than their opponents and they were 8:3 thanks to services from Alison Borg and Amanda Agius. Daniela Bonnici produced some good blocks to give Malta a 15:7 lead. Gatt and Gertrude Zarb continued to combine well with setter Sarah El Gasi to close the set 25-14. The fourth set saw Malta racing forward to an 11:6 lead thanks to good attacks from Gertrude Zarb and Alison Borg but services from Chiara Parenti produced an astonishing comeback for San Marino to narrowly win the set 25-23.
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