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In a very tight match the Czech could make a difference to win

Hong Kong, China, August 11, 2013 — Czech Republic claimed their first victory in the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix against Argentina 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-22, 25-20) at the Hong Kong Coliseum on Sunday. The Czech Republic’s captain Aneta Havlickova helped lead her team to victory, with 25 rallies in the match, of which 24 were spikes. Argentina’s Emilce Sosa was the top scorer for her team, with 18 total rallies.

With a record of 2-4 but good performance in all matches - the light blue - white team also played a very tight match v China, one of the best teams of the Globe, the team finished its participation in Hong Kong and heads towards its third weekend of the 2013 FIVB Grand Prix preliminary round also in China in th city of Wuhan.

Having lost two games in Pool I, set one began as a thrilling encounter between the two teams right at the start as both fought for their first victory of the weekend (Argentina won two of the three matches played in Italy on the first weekend). It was an even battle as both sides traded points early on, but Argentina managed to surge ahead with a slim margin at 8-6 at the first technical timeout. With more determined serves and blocks by Czech Republic, Argentina was forced to call for a timeout at 9-12. Czech Republic maintained their lead as Michaela Mlejnkova and Havlockova scored tremendously by attacks from all sides. Poor reception and judgment from Argentina also forced them to call for a timeout at 16-21. Without much pressure, Czech Republic sealed the set 25-20.

Havlockova’s bullet serves and attacks enabled Czech Republic to take an early lead in the second set, breaking the 3-3 tie until the first technical timeout (8-3). Yet when the game resumed, Argentina gained four straight points with a more stable performance in attack, especially by the team’s lead scorer Emilce Sosa, leading to a tie at 12-12. Even though Czech Republic showed great determination in attack, particularly Mlejnkova, the youngest player in the team, Argentina eventually managed to pull away with solid defense and ended the set 25-21.

The rally remained in the third set. Argentina sustained an early lead at 8-6 at the first technical timeout. Czech Republic tried to consolidate the defense line, yet they did not manage to reverse the situation. Pressure intensified with Argentina widened a five-point gap at 12-7. Argentina reached the second technical time out at 16-11. Czech Republic united and successfully limited Argentina from further widening the gap. The game stayed up to 16-15. Czech Republic performed spectacularly throughout the set, taking charge of the set to score 24-22. Argentina called for a time out, but failed to regain their momentum, losing the set at 22-25.

With exceptional serves and blocking, Argentina controlled the fourth set with a 5-0 run, forcing Czech Republic to call for a timeout. Argentina scored high at 8-1 at the first technical timeout. The women of the Czech Republic battled back with attacks demonstrated forcefully by key players. Czech Republic jumped ahead with one point at the second technical timeout, at 16-15. Neither team allowed each other any breathing space until late in the set. Czech Republic surged ahead and gained their first victory in the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix in Hong Kong, winning the set 25-20.

Press Conference:

Argentina captain Paula Yamila Nizetich: “Congratulations to Czech. They played like a team. We were determined to close the fourth set however; we lost the momentum towards the end of set. We have too much unexpected problems in reception.”

Czech captain Aneta Havlickova: “To come back at fourth set was the highlight of game. Argentina played very well. It was a hard match.”

Argentina Coach Guillermo Orduna: “Congratulations to the Czech team. They served very well in this match and were the main threat to Argentina. It was our first trial not to use a middle blocker; the new adjustment affected our ability to attack. Concentration cannot be retained throughout the game.”

Czech coach Carlo Parisi: “Yesterday and today’s match meant a lot in boosting our team confidence. We need to trust more in ourselves. One victory is essential in developing the level of our players. We started a good match. It was difficult.”

Japan leg will not be an easy game for Czech, coach Parisi reckons. They will come face to face with top of the crop teams including USA and Bulgaria, who out played Brazil in Pool G yesterday.

FIVB GRAND PRIX - WK#2: Results - Live Scoring
P2 - P3 | Photos: FeVA - FIVB