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30/07/2013 17:00
Six European teams to round of 16 at Girls' U18 Worlds
News from the FIVB

Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, July 30, 2013. All six European teams participating in the 2013 FIVB Girls’ U18 Volleyball World Championship made it through the prelims and continue their campaign in the round of 16. After a rest day on Wednesday, the competition will be resumed on Thursday with 8 matches in the round of 16 where the winner of these encounter qualify for the quarterfinal for positions 1-8, while the losers compete for the playoff 9-16.
A clash between World No. 2 Brazil and No. 3 Italy highlights the schedule on Thursday, which features also a classic Asian clash between hosts Thailand and the World Ranking leaders China. Other matches are defending Champions Turkey vs. Dominican Republic, Japan vs. Egypt, Poland vs. Puerto Rico, Serbia vs. Greece, USA vs. Chinese Taipei, and Peru vs. Slovenia.  

Serbia is the only team with an impeccable record of 4 wins in as many matches and did not drop a single set following their win against fighting Puerto Rico (25-13, 25-16, and 25-23) at Chatchi Hall. Tijana Boskovic led the Serbian scorers with 20 impressive points with 3 aces and 2 blocks.  

Talented Japan lived up to the crowds’ expectation as the Asian champions recovered from the first-set down to brush off gallant Greece 22-25, 25-15, 25-16, 25-21 in their final Pool B clash at the Liptapanlop Hall. Kaori Mabashi led Japan with 17 points, 14 of them from deadly attacks, while Anthi Vasilantonaki top scored for Greece with 24 points. She shared 14 points with Olga Strantzali in the spiking skill, but Vasilantonaki led the blocking and serving skills with five points apiece. With the success, Japan collected eight points from three wins against one loss to be sure of topping Pool B while Greece finished in fourth following China’s straight victory over Argentina.  

World No. 8 Dominican Republic came back from one set behind to achieve an exciting 3-1 (22-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-23) win against No 33 Slovenia in Pool C. The Dominican Republic improved their win-loss ratio at the end of the preliminary to 2-2, while Slovenia dropped to the same but finished third in the pool by set quotient rule. Starting with some problems in defense, the Dominican team regained their rhythm to win three successive sets with the marvelous performance of the sisters Elizabeth and Natalia Martinez. Elizabeth was as usual the best performing player and came out as the top scorer with 23 points including 3 stuff blocks, while the younger sibling Natalia was the second best scorer of her side with 14 points. From the Slovenian team Sasa Zdovc was the best scorer with 11 points followed by Katja Mihalinec with 8.  

World No.3 Italy ended their Pool D campaign on a high note following a scintillating one-sided 25-14, 25-10, 25-11 victory over underdogs Chinese Taipei at the Liptapanlop Hall on Tuesday. Anna Nicoletti led Italy with 17 points as the young “Azzurre” finished third in the pool.
World No.15 Mexico caused a major sensation on their final match at the Liptapanlop Hall by pulling off a stunning straight-set (25-20, 25-22, 25-21) victory over reigning champions Turkey. However, despite the remarkable success to collect three points from this match, the NORCECA team failed to make the cut for the last 16 teams. Turkey, which stunned Asian powerhouse China in the final showdown of the previous edition two years ago to capture the world’s crown for the first time in history, fielded many substitutions in this match against Mexico as they had already claimed first place in their group.  

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