Lublin, Poland, August 1, 2015 – The Netherlands and hosts Poland have qualified for Sunday’s World Grand Prix Group 2 final which will offer the winner a ticket to World Grand Prix Group 1 next season. The Oranjes overcame the Czech Republic in straight sets (25-21, 25-14, 27-25) while Poland proved too strong for Puerto Rico (25-21, 21-25, 25-16, 25-23) in the second World Grand Prix Group 2 semifinal in Lublin, Poland.
In Saturday’s first semifinal, the Netherlands out-lasted the Czech Republic in straight sets. Lonneke Slöetjies sparked the Netherlands with 17 points and captain Maret Balkestein-Grothues chipped in 15 points. Tereza Vanzurova led the Czechs with 13 points and teammate Helena Havelkova charted 9 points. The Czechs out-blocked the Netherlands 11-9, but 21 Czech errors were too much to overcome.
Even though the Czech ladies did their best to win a set against the favourites from the Netherlands, the Dutch eventually kept the upper hand. A 16-13 lead and a set ball at 25-24 in the third set were not good enough to stop the Oranjes who secured their well-earned ticket for Sunday’s World Grand Prix Group 2 final match versus Poland with a 27-25 win in the third set and a 3-0 overall triumph.
Dutch coach Giovanni Guidetti said it was a difficult game, but that he prefers difficult matches than easy ones.
In the second semifinal at Globus Hala in Lublin, Poland gave their home fans plenty to cheer as they defeated Puerto Rico in four sets 25-21, 21-25, 25-16, 25-23. Katarzyna Zaroslinska led the Polish offense with 21 points, while Maja Tokarska added 13 points. Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Enright scored a team-best 16 points, while Alexandra Oquendo and Karina Ocasio totalled twelve points each.
It was mainly the error rate (Puerto Rico 29, Poland 22) which made the difference between the two teams in a hard-fought semifinal clash on Saturday evening.
Poland's coach Jacek Nawrocki was full of concerns before the match considering a short period of time that his squad have been playing together. His team – however – proved to have a great fighting spirit and fulfilled the exceptions of the home crowd.
On Sunday, the Czech Republic will take on Puerto Rico in the race for the third place before hosts Poland and the Netherlands will compete for the crown of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Group 2.
The Netherlands vs Czech Republic 3-0
Poland vs Puerto Rico 3-1
Places 3-4: Czech Republic vs Puerto Rico (15:10 local time)
Places 1-2: The Netherlands vs Poland (18:10 local time)
Top scoring performances
21 – Katarzyna Zaroslinska of Poland vs Puerto Rico (August 1)
16 – Stephanie Enright of Puerto Rico vs Poland (August 1)
17 – Lonneke Slöetjes of The Netherlands vs Czech Republic (August 1)
Top scoring performances by team
96 – Poland vs Puerto Rico (August 1)
85 – Puerto Rico vs Poland (August 1)
77 – The Netherlands vs Czech Republic (August 1)
Top blocking performances
4 – Veronika Trnkova of Czech Republic v The Netherlands (August 1)
4 – Maja Tokarska of Poland vs Puerto Rico (August 1)
4 – Lynda Morales of Puerto Rico vs Poland
Top blocking performances by team
14 – Puerto Rico vs Poland (August 1)
11 – Poland vs Puerto Rico (August 1)
11 – Czech Republic vs The Netherlands (August 1)
Top serving performances
3 – Anne Buijs of The Netherlands vs Czech Republic (August 1)
Top serving performances by team
6 – Poland vs Puerto Rico (August 1)
5 – Puerto Rico vs Poland (August 1)
5 – The Netherlands vs Czech Republic (August 1)
Highest set score
27-25 – The Netherlands vs Czech Republic (August 1)
25-23 – Poland vs Puerto Rico (August 1)