The Netherlands and Portugal paid their opponents back for Friday’s failures  scoring the first points this season. Only a game between Korea and Japan did not bring any unexpected twists and took leadership in Pool C at least for the following week.

 

Finland – Portugal 2 – 3 (25-23, 23-25, 23-25, 25-23, 12-15)

Finalnd: Esko 4, Sivula 6, Matti Oivanen 11, Mikko Oivanen 26, Siltala 5, Shumov 7, Rajala (L) and Seppanen 9, Tervaporti, Kerminen, Hietanen 5, Lehtonen

Portugal: Pinheiro 3, Andre 10, Jose 8, Sequeira 26, Alex 21, Marcel 1, Coelho (L) and Violas, Casas, Botas 5

The guests managed to take a giant leap in 24 hours as the team was blanked 3-0 the night before in Helsinki Ice Hokey Hall.

Portugal played much better in the first set than they had on Friday, holding a five point lead at one point, but the Finns managed to steal the set in the closing stages. Konstantin Shumov blocked well, and his decisive spike gave Finland a 25-23 win.

The Portuguese took the driving seat in the second set, leading by four points. Finland again crept back, but Portugal won their first set of the weekend 25-23, partly thanks to the effective spiking of Valdir Sequeira, who got seven point in the set. 1-1.

Portugal led the third set 16-13 at the second technical time out, but inconsistent serving wasted points. The Finns were not blocking at their best, though, and Portugal piled up the spikes to lead 24-19. Finnish substitute Niklas Seppanen hammered winners three times via Portuguese blocks, but Alexandre Ferreira tookthe set for Portugal with a great spike. It was another set that ended 25-23.

The fourth set also finished 25-23 – this time to Finland.The Oivanen twins, Mikko and Matti, excelled in the later stages, and a decisive set was forced.

It was a thriller, just like the previous four: the teams tied nine times, but in the end Portugal broke a 12-12deadlock with a smart tip from Andre Reis Lopes. This was followed by a hit from Jose Joao and a block by the excellent Shumov. Portugal took the set 15-12 and clinched the match.

Outside hitter Valdir Sequeira finished with 23 spike points in 46 attempts, for a total of 26 points.  He was followed by the well serving Alex Ferreira with 13 from spikes and seven from serves totalling 21. For Finland, top scorer Mikko Oivanen had 26 points, with 20 spikes.

 

Canada – The Netherlands 1 – 3 (22-25, 17-25, 25-20, 23-25)

Canada: Schneider 2, Winters 6, Simac 6, Schmitt 17, Perrin 10, Vigrass 7, Bann (L) and Faucher 1, Mainville 2, Van Lankvelt 6, Brinkman 4

The Netherlands: Abdel-Aziz 5, Ter Horst 19, Koelewijn 8, Kooistra 21, Rauwerdink 9, Van Bemmelen 10, Jorna (L) and Freriks, Van Garderen  

Wytze Kooistra was the top scorer for the Netherlands with 21 points while Thijs Ter Horst added 19 and Bas van Bemmelen 10. Gavin Schmitt led Canada with 17 and Gordon Perrin added 10.

The Netherlands took command early by winning the first two sets, including a six-point run to finish out the second.

The Canadians however rebounded with a strong third set much to the relief of the 3,600 spectators at the Colisee. They pulled away late in the set earning seven of eight points to grab a 23-17 lead.

The fourth set went down to the wire with the two teams exchanging leads before the Dutch closed it out with two unanswered points.

Canada’s next four World League matches are in Mississauga, Ontario, at the Hershey Center: June 7-8 against Portugal and June 14-15 against South Korea. The Dutch meanwhile return home to host Japan on June 8-9 in Apeldoorn.

 

Korea – Japan 3 – 1 (25-22, 25-20, 21-25, 25-19)

Korea: Han 2, Kwak 13, Shin 7, C.W Park 14, Jeon 23, S.H Park 5, K.J Lee (L) and M.G Lee 1, Bu, J.H Kim 12, Y.S Lee 1

Japan: Kondoh 1, Fukuzawa 23, Suzuki 1, Yako 14, Gottsu 4, Yamamura 5, Nagano (L) and Koshikawa 12, Imamura 1, Yokota 4, Chijiki    

Japan had a certain advantage entering the second match because of Moon’s injury. Moon sustained a knee injury in the third set of their first match. But the big loss in their starting lineup did not stop Korea from overwhelming their opponents in front of the home crowd.

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Japan committed crucial errors allowing the Koreans to make a run and post consecutive wins in the first and second sets. Japan’s Tatsuya Fukuzawa delivered on his attacks but the rest of team’s setter-attacker connection was not as effective. The Korean attackers saw this as an opportunity to pound on Japan’s defense.

Japan came back in the third set and moved ahead with a surprising 18-9 advantage. Japan’s renewed attacking scheme was effective and forced the Koreans to lose concentration on the match. Japan easily took the third set 25-11.

As both teams tried to put pressure on each other, the fourth set became a rubber match. Japan got the better of Korea and took the lead as Daisuke Yako and Fukuzawa teamed up on excellent combination plays until the middle of the set.

The Koreans showed persistence and tied the score at 20-all. As Japan committed crucial errors, Jeon Kwang-in heroically stepped-in to jumpstart the Koreans 25-22 run.

Jeon’s intense presence on the attack and visibility on defense lifted Korea to post two consecutive wins and grabbed the lead in Pool C before facing Finland, Canada, Netherlands and Portugal in the Intercontinental Round.

Standings:

  1. Korea 6
  2. Finland 4
  3. The Netherlands 3
  4. Canada 3
  5. Portugal 2
  6. Japan 0

Photo: FIVB

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