Plan de Corones / Kronplatz, Italy, April 6, 2019 – After the force majeure day off on Friday, main draw action at the Plan de Corones / Kronplatz stop on the 2019 FIVB Snow Volleyball World Tour, co-organized with the CEV, finally got underway on Saturday under an adjusted format to determine the teams advancing to the quarterfinals on Sunday morning.
Even though, with the third-placed teams in the pools now eliminated from further participation, many of the teams were in a win-or-die situation, the spirit of fair play never left the snow courts around the Concordia 2000 peace bell, and the spectators got to applaud Brazil’s Giba, who insisted the opponent team’s score should be corrected upwards, or to see the Italy 2 team showing their appreciation of a fantastic Cameroon ace against them…
Women’s pool play was extremely competitive with seven of the 12 matches on Saturday being resolved with a tie-break. Even Wagrain-Kleinarl gold medallists Russia did not manage to win any of their games in straight sets. They still topped the rankings in Pool A after a 2-1 (15-8, 11-15, 15-13) over Poland and a 2-1 (10-15, 15-13, 15-13) over Czech Republic 1. With the Poles shutting out the Czechs, they advanced as pool runners-up and eliminated former European Queen of the Snow Anna Dostalova and her teammates.
In Pool B, last week’s silver medallists USA survived a couple of tough encounters to top the table. They persevered for a hard-fought 2-0 (15-13, 16-14) win over Turkey and came back from a set down to claim a 2-1 (12-15, 15-9, 15-9) victory over Japan. The Asian squad defeated Turkey in a three-set battle to register their first ever win on the snow.
“It was a really fun day out here! We are excited to get to play as we have a lot better weather than yesterday,” USA Katherine Spieler said.
“I think the competition is really strong this week and a lot of teams are figuring it out. So we are expecting even better quarterfinals, semifinals and finals and we are just looking one game at a time, because everyone’s so good!” Karissa Cook added.
Wagrain-Kleinarl bronze medallists Argentina also scored two victories to win Pool C - 2-1 (15-9, 13-15, 15-7) over Czech Republic 2 and 2-0 (15-8, 15-5) over South Africa. The Czechs joined them in the quarterfinals as the second-placed team as they managed a straight-set win over the African team.
Pool D was the most contested one, as the three teams claimed one win each. The point ratios placed qualifiers Slovakia in the first place and Italy 1 in the second, leaving Lithuania out of contention. Slovakia mastered a 2-1 (11-15, 15-6, 15-13) turnaround against Lithuania, Italy 1 achieved a 2-0 (15-13, 15-11) victory over Slovakia, and Lithuania took a 2-1 (15-13, 12-15, 15-8) win over Italy 1.
Russia vs. Czech Republic 2, Slovakia vs. Japan, Argentina vs. Italy 1 and USA vs. Poland are the four women’s quarterfinals on Sunday morning. In the men’s quarterfinals to follow, USA 2 will face Slovenia, Italy 2 will play Austria, Russia 2 will meet Poland and Russia 1 will take on Brazil.
Argentina’s Julieta Puntin blocks a Czech attack
Maddison McKibbin, Riley McKibbin and Troy Field, or United States 2, who came into the main draw from Thursday’s qualifications, continued their winning streak into their Pool A matches, first delivering a 2-0 (16-14, 15-12) upset of last week’s World Tour winners Austria and a speedy 2-0 (15-9, 15-7) shutout of Italy 1 to become the first team with a spot in the quarterfinals.
Italy 3 pleased the home crowd with a 2-1 (15-13, 6-15, 16-14) upset of Wagrain-Kleinarl bronze medallists Russia 1 to get Pool B action underway. Then Poland managed a 2-0 (16-14, 15-13) win over Italy 3, before Russia 1 got back into the game with a 2-0 (15-10, 15-11). The Russians and the Poles progressed to the next round on point ratio.
Russia 2, also coming into the main draw from the qualifications, did not drop a set in Pool C and topped the standings after 2-0 (15-10, 15-9) over Slovenia and 2-0 (15-11, 15-12) over USA 1. The Slovenes took the runner-up position with a straight-set win over the Americans.
Italy 2 will defend the host country’s honour in the men’s quarterfinals. Wildcards Giorgio Amorosi, Massimo Di Risio and Antonio Sasso came back from a catastrophic set against Brazil to celebrate with a 2-1 (5-15, 16-14, 15-13) victory at the start of Pool D play and then battled on to a hard-fought 2-0 (15-13, 15-13) win over Cameroon. In a hard-fought decider, the squad around Giba and Marcio Araujo persevered for a 2-0 (15-10, 17-15) shutout of their African opponents to stay in contention.
“It’s like a dream! Unbelievable! I am so excited for these two wins! It’s fantastic for my team! I am 40 years old and I came here just for fun, but tomorrow we will play for fun and to win!” exclaimed an excited Giorgio Amorosi after his team’s second victory.
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