World League – Day 8 – Russia and USA win in straight sets to keep Final Six hopes alive

Friday 16th of June 2017

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 15, 2017. Russia and USA both enjoyed straight-set wins on day eight of the 2017 FIVB World League to maintain their chances of reaching the Final Six in Curitiba.




Russia defeated hosts Poland 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-21) in Katowice, while USA beat Iran 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 30-28). It means that both teams now have a record of three victories and four losses and they will now go up against one another on Saturday. Poland take on Iran. 

Opposite spiker Maxim Zhigalov produced another strong performance with 16 points, five more than teammate Egor Kliuka. Russia had a strong performance in defence with 10 blocks, outshining Poland’s Dawid Konarski’s 10 points.

The first set was nip-and-tuck at the outset but Poland went ahead and surged into a two-point lead at 8-6. The home side increased their lead, but Russia came back after the technical time-out and Vadym Likhoshertsov served an ace to win the set. The Russians started the second set with a bomb from the service line by Dmitry Volkov and a block by Maxim Zhigalov to take an early 4-1 lead. The three-time World League gold medallists remained on top for the remainder of the set as Zhigalov and Ilyas Kurkaev came to the fore and they comfortably saw out the set.

Poland started the third set strongly to raise hopes of a comeback, but Russia’s defence held firm. Volkov served two aces to put his side 20-16 ahead and they saw out the match and won when Kliuka hit a powerful spike.

USA rookie Benjamin Patch continued his successful campaign as he led USA’s scoring in their victory over Iran. The 23-year-old Patch was the man of the match as the explosive opposite spiker recorded a team-high 24 points. However, it was the American performance at the block, which made the difference (12), as Iran’s Amir Ghafour was the best scorer of his team with 12 points.

With an all-round performance, Taylor Sander (12 points, including two blocks, one ace) was also instrumental in his team’s win.

John Speraw’s men lost their three opening matches but turned things around by winning twice in Pau and have now tasted victory in three of their last four games.

With three wins and four defeats, the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallists maintained their hopes of booking a ticket for the finals in Brazil at the beginning of July.

Group 1 continues over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Group 2 and Group 3 also come to an end. Group 2 will now progress to the final stages on June 24 and 25, while Group 3’s gold medal match takes place on Sunday in Leon, Mexico.

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