Russia celebrating a successful action

Russia claimed a 3-1 victory over USA on the second day of play in Pool E of the FIVB Volleyball Women's U20 World Championship. However, they did so after missing as many as four match points. The players around head coach Igor Kurnosov had lost by the same score to the same opponents in the first phase of the competition, and thus, Wednesday's win had a special meaning for them. It was the first loss for the USA team so far. In the other match of the day in Pool E, the Netherlands showed no mercy, beating Brazil 3-0, and taking an important step towards the semis.

Russia entered the court at the Topsportcentrum Rotterdam highly motivated, pushing hard on the serve, thus causing problems for USA’s reception. The Russians outperformed their opponents on the block as well. It was the first time in the competition that USA were chasing their opponents. Anastasiia Chernova and Vita Akimova led Russia in the second set. USA had their moments, taking advantage of small Russian mistakes. USA then grabbed the third set after saving three match points. However, this wasn’t enough for the North Americans who conceded the fourth.

With 59 attacks, 15 blocks and six aces, Russia finished as the better team. Chernova with 23 points was Russia's top scorer.

“We are very happy that we won. We showed mental toughness in the fourth set after losing the third one. We started well in the match, and we put all our energy into beating USA, especially after losing to them in the first phase," said Viktoriia Kobzar, setter of Russia.

Brazil stormed out to a 4-0 in the beginning of the first set, but the Netherlands quickly responded. The Dutch took the lead, finishing on the top of the first set with 12 attacks, four blocks and the same number of aces. Elles Dambrink was the hero for her team in these moments, making it difficult for Brazil’s reception after some sharp serves. Brazil tried to keep up with the Netherlands’ rhythm on the block in the second set, but it didn’t work out as the Dutch were more precise in finishing their attacks. The third set was highlighted by a point for point race, but the co-hosts of the FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship repeatedly found their opponents' weak spot. Jolien Knollema shined, contributing 15 points, while Dambrink added 13. For Brazil, Livia recorded 9.

“We felt the pressure after having won the first match against Brazil. We could only hope it would pan out as it did," commented Marije ten Brinke, middle blocker of the Netherlands.