FIRST CLASS SERBIA MOVE INTO SECOND
Santa Fe, Argentina. June 14, 2018 – Ana Bjelica was on the money once again as Serbia fine tuned their assault for the VNL title with a comprehensive 3-0 win (25-17 25 -20 25-11) over struggling Korea that lifted them into second place in the table above Brazil.
The in-form opposite spiker scored 18 points in Wednesday’s destruction of hosts Argentina and there was no let-up against their Asian opposition in another ruthless Serb display.
The Europeans have already bagged their tickets to the finals in China but it’s vital to keep the consistency of performance on track and, led by 13 point Bjelica (11 spikes , two aces) and 10 points from Maja Aleksic Serbia were far too strong for a Korea side who cannot wait for their campaign to end.
“We are so happy that we are second in the table, we did a great job , won all three games here, “ she said. “ We have a really good squad. Everyone can play, that’s the key.”
This was another chastening display by Haewon Cha’s side who won four of their first five matches but then proceeded to lose nine of the last 10.
Too many errors – they gave up 23 compared to 15 from the other side of the net – and although Jaeyeong Lee (10) and Heejin Kim (9) had a profitable afternoon, it was simply not enough.
This was as comprehensive a triumph we’ve seen in the VNL with Serbia dominating all three sets without ever looking in danger of seeing their excellent record of winning 12 matches for the first time at world level put in danger.
In their last eight games, Serbia have always gone on after winning the first set, and their start in Santa Fe set the stall out for the thumping which followed.
The Serbian assistant coach shuffled his pack but mainstay Bjelica led the way and when the European side were 14-8 up in the second, this one sided encounter already looked done and dusted.
While Korea are athletic, they were overpowered by the taller Serbian players on the other side of the net.
Korea served long to gift the second set and from then, it was only a matter of time.
Bojana Milenkovic was smashing the ball fearlessly – at one point her spike was registered at around 83 kph – and although Lee was producing some brilliant defensive work, Serbia just pushed through the gears to make it a hat-trick of wins in Argentina.
Serbia coach Branko Kovacevic: “It was a perfect weekend for us because of the results and for the type of game we showed in these three matches. We gave our important players some rest and we have a few more days in Belgrade to get in the best possible shape for the Final Six in China. I hope we can go to the semifinals and also reach the final.”
Serbia player Ana Bjelica: “It was a perfect weekend for us and we’re really happy because we are now in second place and we will go to Nanjing. We did a good job here by winning three hard matches. I think we have a great players that can all play.”
Korea player Lee Jaeyeong: “This weekend was important for us, we gained experience facing top teams. We will now go back to Korea to prepare ourselves for the next competition.”
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