Home » WL M: Cuba seal place in Finals with victory over Serbia

WL M: Cuba seal place in Finals with victory over Serbia

by WoV
source: fivb.org

Cuba booked their place in the 2012 FIVB Volleyball World League Finals on Thursday with a 3-2 (24-26, 25-16, 21-25, 26-24, 15-13) win over Pool A hosts Serbia in Belgrade.


Cuba celebrates

Wilfredo Leon and Cepeda both scored 22 points while Atanasijevic scored 15 for Serbia.

Both teams looked very sharp in the first set. Serbian coach Kolakovic continued shuffling the line-up, with a young team taking the experienced Cubans by surprise, snatching the first set at 26-24.

But Cuba bounced back in the second, earning a firm lead right from the off. Serbia were off the mark throughout but coach Kolakovic introduced couple of new players such as Aleksa Brdjovic. However the youthful injection was not enough as Cuba drew even.

The start of the third set was marked by powerful serves on both sides. For Serbia it was Atanasijevic, for Cuba Leon, who shook the receivers. However, the teams maintained focus in defence, receiving well, and attacking with power. The teams played point-by-point until Serbia went ahead 18-14. Cuba coach Samuels Blackwood called for a time out and although Serbia moved another point ahead, Leon eventually pulled them back to 20-20. But it wasn’t enough as Serbia went ahead again and took the set.

Serbia furiously went ahead 5-2 in the fourth set forcing a Cuban time out. Cuba continued to make mistakes as Serbia went four points ahead, but the NORCECA outfit pulled back to within a point at 11-12. A couple of Podrascanin blocks regained the lead for Serbia. Blackwood called anoher time out at 12-17 and it worked as Cuba got the next three points (15-17) and eventually pulled back at 21-21. Both sides stayed confident going into the finale of the set but it was Cuba who had the luck as they drew even at 2-2.

The decisive set started with both teams giving their best, with Serbia gaining a slight advantage. But Cuba stormed right back into it, going two points ahead advantage (5-3), but soon Cubans turned the score completely in their favour at 7-6. It stayed even until 10-10 when Leon stepped up with couple of monster serves to carry Cuba into the lead. The visitors stayed ahead to eventually clinch a win and a place in the Finals.

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