Montreux, Switzerland, May 31, 2014 – In Saturday’s semifinals at the Montreux Volley Masters, Germany overcame China in straight sets to reach the final for the first time, while USA needed four sets to defeat Russia in the other semifinal.
In other games Saturday, Brazil beat the Dominican Republic in three sets and Japan defeated Switzerland by the same score.
Sunday’s final between Germany and USA will be preceded by the bronze-medal match between Russia and China, while Brazil and Japan will battle for fifth place.
Germany 3, China 0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-21)
Giovanni Guidetti’s team rolled past China with Margareta Kozuch and Maren Brinker each contributing 15 points. The Chinese were led by Hui Ruoqi and Yang Junjing who both had both 12 points. Both teams started at full power and the spectators were able to enjoy a high-level game with long, spectacular rallies. But Guidetti had a great trump card in Christiane Fürst. The middle blocker of VakifBank Istanbul made an impressive performance with good serves and amazing blocks to help her team take the first set 25-22. The “Schmetterlinge” then started to dominate, forcing China coach Lang Ping to make some changes. But the Germans were unstoppable and won the second set by seven points. In the third set, the game remained close with both teams fighting for every ball but Germany were able to pull away at the end.
USA 3, Russia 1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-20, 25-21)
In the second semifinal, USA were led by Rachel Adams’ 17 points but she got good support from her teammates in attack. Natalia Malykh led Russia with 22 points. Coming into the match, the Americans were undefeated, while Russia’s only loss was against China. The two teams didn’t disappoint and started at a high pace. The liberos and the back row players had a lot of work to do as there were some breathtaking attacks. Both setters – Courtney Thompson and Ekaterina Kosianenko – displayed an amazing variety in their setting game which resulted in some beautiful hits. However, the Americans had the edge and took the first set 25-23. The Russians responded well in the second set. Yuri Mirachev’s players did a nice job of blocking and saved some really difficult balls. The European champions were able to get the kills to tie the game at 1-1. Setter Courtney Thompson spurred a U.S. comeback with some great sets and the Russians struggled to react. The Russians tried their very best and improved their own offensive game, but in the end the Americans prevailed.
Brazil 3, Dominican Republic 0 (27-25, 25-16, 27-25)
After narrowly missing out on the semifinals, Zé Roberto’s Brazil had to get over their disappointment and they delivered a straight-sets victory. Monique Pavão scored an outstanding total of 18 points and the Olympic gold medallists seemed to smash out all their anger. But Marcos Kwiek’s players remained unfazed and put on an impressive blocking game. They had three set points in the first set but the Brazilians fought their way back into the game with four points in a row and finally won the set 27-25. In the second set, the Dominicans tried their very best, but weren’t able to stop the offensive game of the No. 1 team in the FIVB World Rankings. The Dominican Republic found their power again in the third set and started to read the Brazilian offensive game better. But once again, it wasn’t enough and Brazil took the final set by the same score as the first, 27-25.
Japan 3, Switzerland 0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-19)
Without too much of a surprise, the Japanese overcame Switzerland in straight sets. The Japanese offense was very diverse with all five hitters averaging between eight and 10 points. On the Swiss team, right-side hitter Mandy Wigger was the best scorer with 12 kills and one ace. The Swiss faced some difficulties scoring on the outside and rotated four outside players throughout the game. Against the young Japanese players, the Swiss had a hard start in the first set, falling behind 16-8 at the second technical timeout, a gap that remained to the end with both sides making errors. The second set was very similar to the previous one. Switzerland struggled to develop their game and find themselves 16-9 down at the second technical timeout and 25-16 at the end of the set. After another strong start in the third, Switzerland stayed closer, but the four-point gap at the second TTO grew to nine at the end.