Cuba and China played a classic of a match on Thursday with Cuba claiming the honours 3-2
The four teams that will compete in Saturday’s semifinals at the 2010 Montreux Volley Masters have been confirmed following the third day of competition on Thursday. In Group A, Russia qualified after beating Germany 3-0 with the United States having already qualified, although they had a day off, while, with still one day to go, Cuba and China are guaranteed to finish in the first two positions in Group B.
Thursday’s opening match saw the Netherlands beat Poland 3-1 (25-23, 16-25, 25-16, 25-23). Eight months ago they had played each other twice at the 2009 European Championship in Lodz (Poland), where the Dutch claimed a couple of wins - the second win allowing the Netherlands to qualify for the title match. Like in Poland, the Netherlands once again found a way to take advantage over their opponents. Even if the girls of coach Jerzy Matlak dominated during most of the game, the difference was made by the experience of the “Oranje”, in particular star player Manon Flier (25 points). The Dutch captain was well assisted by Debby Stam and Alice Blom, who ended up the match with 15 and 16 points respectively.
In the second match, Germany, needing to win to qualify for the semifinals, started strongly in every set, following the tactical instructions of their coach, Giovanni Guidetti however the experience of Russia saw them home each time claiming a 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-21) win. The first set remained very balanced until the second technical time-out (16-15), when Russia scored some decisive points and closed the set 25-21. The following set was almost a copy-paste from the first one, finishing on the exact same score. The Russian defensive game has notably improved from the past years; the players are moving much better despite their impressive height. The last set also finished 25-21. Guidetti had predicted before the game: “If we respect our tactic, we’ll win 3-0; otherwise we’ll be defeated 3-0.” He was right!
At the end of the evening, the spectators present in Montreux witnessed the first five-set match with Cuba beating China 3-2 (28-26, 22-25, 25-22, 19-25, 15-8). Cuba and China offered a fantastic show, where the long suspense and the numerous spectacular points took the breath away several times. Although China decided to let their star Yimei Wang play, Cuba was able to find some extra energy in order to win this last decisive set. During that game, the young Cuban generation displayed all its capacities, in particular its powerful offense. At only 18 years old, Giselle Silva was the best scorer with 21 points, mixing impressive and precise kills with extremely powerful serves. Despite their first defeat in this tournament, the Chinese, with their magical combinations, are nevertheless qualified for the semifinals, along with Cuba.
For more information visit the official website of the 2010 Montreux Volley Masters: www.volleymasters.ch