Pools overview released for thrilling inaugural season of VNL

Lausanne, Switzerland - An overview of the pools for the inaugural FIVB Men's and Women's Volleyball Nations Leagues has been released, as the top 16 teams in the world of each gender prepare to launch on a marathon of 240 matches (not including the final rounds) that will keep volleyball fans on their toes for over a month and a half starting from May 15.

The pool phase includes 120 matches for each gender, with teams playing round-robin in pools of four over a total of five three-day periods.

A combined table will determine the top five teams that will join the organisers for the Final Six.

The Men's Volleyball Nations League includes the core teams of Argentina, Brazil, China France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, Serbia and USA, plus the challenger teams of Australia, Bulgaria, Canada and Korea.

Play begins on May 25 with pools in Rouen, France; Ningbo, China; Poland (host city TBC); and Kraljevo, Serbia. The fifth and last weekend will be June 22-24, ahead of the finals in Lille, July 4-8.

Click on image above to download in pdf format.

The Women's Volleyball National League features the core teams of Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey and USA, together with the challenger teams of Argentina, Belgium, Dominican Republic and Poland.

Competition will be midweek, starting May 15-17 with pools in Ekaterinburg, Russia; Ningbo, China; Lincoln, USA; and Barueri, Brazil. Pool play will wrap up from June 12 to 14, ahead of the finals from June 27 to July 1.

Click on image above to download in pdf format.

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China Rio 2016 captain Hui bids farewell to active duty

After overcoming huge personal obstacles to lead China to triumph at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Hui Ruoqi is finally calling it quits, retiring from active duty according to reports in the Chinese media.

An emotional retirement ceremony for the 26-year-old outside hitter, who captained China to their epic 3-1 win over Serbia in the Olympic final at the Maracanazinho two years ago, was held during the China League match of her club Jiangsu at the close of the Regular Season over the weekend. Jiangsu beat Shanghai in five sets and made it to the semifinals of the national competition.

This puts an end to a brilliant 18-year career, during which Hui underwent multiple surgeries, including on her heart, but always came back to thrill her millions of fans at home and across the world.

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Sports Events Council enthusiastic about the new era of volleyball

Lausanne, Switzerland, January 30, 2018 - FIVB President Dr. Ary S. Graça F° chaired the two-day Sports Events Council meeting and talked to members about the exciting developments in volleyball.

The FIVB President was joined by the Presidents of the Continental Confederations, President and Secretary of the Council as well as its members and athletes’ representatives to discuss the new era of volleyball. The delegation spoke at length about the launch of the Volleyball Nations League, an initiative that is set to revolutionise the sport.

At the meeting, President Graça said:

“Let me remind you all that the Volleyball Nations League will be the same event, same format, same prize money, number of teams for men and women. Gender balance in our sport is crucial for the FIVB. Together with our partner, IMG, we will control TV production and distribution, to ensure the consistency of our images and provide a first class experience for our fans all over the world.

“Those teams that do not participate at the Volleyball Nations League will have a chance to participate in the Volleyball Challenger Cup, and earn the right to be promoted to the Volleyball Nations League. This way we are providing more opportunities for national teams to participate in our events!”

The Sports Events Council also talked about the upcoming 2018 FIVB Volleyball World Championships, which will be hosted by Italy and Bulgaria (men’s edition), and Japan (women’s edition). Preparations are underway and both events are set to be great milestones for volleyball.

President Graça also discussed the success of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, where volleyball (indoor and beach combined) was the number one sport based on the number of viewer hours according to official IOC data. The FIVB is now working hard to ensure the true celebration of the sport’s return to its Olympic birthplace, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Ariake Arena was confirmed as a host venue for indoor volleyball at the end of 2016, following a number of meetings between the FIVB leadership with the IOC and Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

Among other topics discussed during the meeting were the FIVB Volleyball Club World Championships 2018 as well as the FIVB commitments to the digital transformation, establishing of an optimised, global volleyball calendar and review of the World Rankings System.

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Brazil v Russia & Argentina v Cuba in Men's U23 Top Four

Cairo, Egypt, August 23, 2017 - Undefeatd Brazil meet defending champions Russia and Argentina take on Cuba as the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Men's U23 World Champioship comes down to the semifinals on Thursday after a day of intense action here on Wednesday in desperate bids by teams to stay alive in the competition.

In Pool A Cuba did away with Mexico 4-1 (15-7, 15-9, 24-26, 15-13, 15-11) to claim the second qualifying ticket behind Brazil who had secured their semifinal spot a day earlier. Brazil themselves, wrapped up their pool play obligations with a 4-0 (15-9, 15-12, 15-7, 16-14) sweep of Japan.

But hosts Egypt were the sensation of the day as they knocked Poland out of the competition 4-1 (15-13, 15-7, 32-30, 13-15, 17-15) and remained alive to play another day - for positions 5-8.

In Pool B Argentina dismissed China 4-0 (15-8, 15-9, 15-9, 15-9) to secure their own semifinal ticket, and then found themselves at the top of the standings (thus avoiding Brazil in the semifinals) after Russia lost to Iran 4-3 (15-11, 12-15, 10-15, 15-13, 13-15, 20-18, 15-11) - though the defending champions had already secured their presence in the top four after going 3-2 up.

All matches in Cairo are played under a new scoring system currently being tested: a best-of-seven, 15-point set format.

Poland, Turkey, Mexico and Algeria are all out of the tournament, as the final ranking begins to take shape:

9. Poland
-. Turkey
11. Mexico
-. Algeria

All matches are available to watch live or on demand on the FIVB YouTube Channel.

Summary Statistics - 2017 FIVB Volleyball Men's U23 World Championship

Highest Scorer by Day
21 – Zhou Liying of China v Turkey on 18 August
29 – Hisham Ewais of Egypt v Cuba on 19 August
25 – Kenta Takanashi of Japan v Cuba on 20 August
23 – Kamil Semeniuk of Poland v Japan on 21 August
24 – Hisham Ewais of Egypt v Poland on 23 August

Top Scoring Performances
29 – Hisham Ewais of Egypt v Cuba on 19 August
25 – Kenta Takanashi of Japan v Cuba on 20 August
24 – Hisham Ewais of Egypt v Poland on 23 August
23 – Kamil Semeniuk of Poland v Japan on 21 August
22 – German Johansen of Argentina v Russia on 21 August

Top Individual Blocking Performances
6 – dogukan Ulu of Turkey v Algeria on 23 August
5 – Aleksei Kononov of Russia v Argentina on 21 August
5 – Ivan Iakovlev of Russia v Iran on 23 August
4 – ten players

Top Team Blocking Performances
16 – Russia v Iran on 23 August
14 – Russia v Argentina on 21 August
13 – Iran v Russia on 23 August
12 – Cuba v Egypt on 19 August
12 – Poland v Japan on 21 August
12 – Iran v Turkey on 21 August

Top Individual Serving Performances
3 – Romulo Silva of Brazil v Mexico on 18 August
3 – Sergei Pirainen of Russia v Algeria on 18 August
3 – Aleksei Kononov of Russia v Algeria on 18 August
3 – Masato Matsuoka of Japan v Mexico on 19 August
3 – Javad Karimisouchelmaei of Iran v China on 19 August
3 – Jakub Zwiech of Poland v Japan on 21 August

Top Team Serving Performances
11 – Egypt v Mexico on 21 August
10 – Brazil v Mexico on 18 August
9 – Russia v Algeria on 18 August
8 – China v Turkey on 18 August
7 – Poland v Mexico on 20 August

Highest Scoring Sets
32-30 Egypt v Poland (3rd set) on 23 August
26-24 Mexico v Cuba (3rd set) on 23 August
22-20 Brazil v Poland (2nd set) on 19 August
22-20 Brazil v Poland (3rd set) on 19 August
20-18 Egypt v Mexico (5th set) on 21 August
20-18 Iran v Russia (6th set) on 23 August

Highest Scoring Matches
198 – Iran v Russia 4-3 (15-11, 12-15, 10-15, 15-13, 13-15, 20-18, 15-11) on 23 August
189 – Russia v Argentina 4-3 (11-15, 15-12, 13-15, 15-13, 8-15, 15-12, 16-14) on 21 August
187 – China v Turkey 4-3 (19-17, 12-15, 11-15, 15-8, 15-10, 10-15, 15-10) on 18 August
184 – Brazil v Cuba 4-3 (13-15, 15-13, 1115, 11-15, 15-11, 15-8, 15-12) on 21 August
180 – Egypt v Japan 4-3 (15-10, 15-13, 12-15, 15-8, 9-15, 13-15, 15-10) on 18 August
180 – Cuba v Japan 4-2 (15-13 19-17, 14-16, 13-15, 16-14, 15-13) on 20 August
172 – Egypt v Poland 4-1 (15-13, 15-7, 32-30, 13-15, 17-15) on 23 August

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Three pairs with two victories in Varadero

VARADERO, Cuba, July 14, 2017 – Three men’s teams of the fourteen taking part in competition scored two victories in opening day of the fourth stop of the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit at Barcelo Solymar Arenas Blancas Hotel.

Jeremy Casebeer/John Mayer of USA-B defeated compatriots Skylar del Sol/Jon Mesko of USA-B 2-0 (21-19, 21-16) and Cuba-D of debutants Daniel Duran/Hermes Quevedo 2-1 (17-21, 21-16, 15-10) to lead Pool D.

Other teams who dominated in both outings were in Pool C, Rosso Bonneau/Fecteau-Boutin of Canada-A and Luis Reyes/José Luis Aguilera of Cuba-C, the latter in their first international experience, who swept the teams of Suriname and Guatemala.

The champions of the three previous stops, Karell Peña/Daisel Quesada of Cuba-B defeated Ruben Mora/Dany Lopez of Nicaragua 2-0 (21-15, 21-15) and the Dominicans Victor Castillo/William Sanchez over the same Central Americans 2-0 (27-25, 21-14) in the only matches in Pool B.

One of the teams favored to win the gold, Sergio Gonzalez and Nivaldo Díaz of Cuba-A didn’t have problems in Pool A to sweep Sylvester Hodge Penny/Rohan Jeffers of St Kitts and Nevis 2-0 (21-11, 21-10) in 27 minutes.

The latter were also victims of Fiodar Kazhamiaka/Sergey Grabovsky of Canada-B by scores of 21-11, 21-7 so they will face on Saturday the fifth placed at the Olympics of Rio 2016 to close the preliminary phase ahead of the quarterfinals.

Men’s Results on Friday:

Pool A: CAN-B d SKN-A 2-0 (21-11, 21-7); CUB-A d SKN 2-0 (21-11, 21-10).

Pool B: DOM d NCA 2-0 (27-25, 21-14); CUB-B d NCA 2-0 (21-15, 21-15).

Pool C: CUB-C d SUR 2-0 (21-17, 21-10); CAN-A a GUA 2-0 (21-19, 21-17); CUB-C d GUA 2-0 (21-14, 21-19); CAN-A d SUR 2-0 (21-7, 21-13).

Pool D: USA-B d USA-A 2-0 (21-19, 21-16); CUB-D d CRC 2-0 (21-16, 21-14); USA-A d CRC 2-0 (21-9, 21-8); USA-B d CUB-D 2-1 (17-21, 21-16, 15-10).

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Men’s Poreč medalists upset in Gstaad

There might not have been a medal hangover for Sarah Pavan but try telling that to all three of the men’s medalists from Poreč who suffered shock defeats in the pool play in Gstaad today.

It was 13 unlucky for the Poreč champions from Brazil Pedro Solberg and Guto Carvalhaes as they went down in straights to last year’s Mexican Olympians Ontiveros/Virgen 16-21, 19-21. The defeat ended a run of 12 successive wins for the South American duo who had to battle through country quota and qualification for a second tournament running.

For the silver medalists on the Croatian coast, Italians Lupo/Nicolai, it got from bad to worse as they suffered a second successive defeat in the mountains. They might have ended the Poreč Major with a medal but the pair were disappointed with their final set against Pedro Solberg/Guto – and their bad form has continued here as the lost again on Thursday to Chilean cousins Estaban and Marco Grimalt.

For Poreč Major bronze medalists and Olympic champions Alison/Bruno they went down to a surprise straight sets defeat to Cubans Nivaldo/Gonzalez. The men from the Caribbean were in awesome form as they destroyed the Brazilians in just 34 minutes. Nivaldo/Gonzalez restricted their illustrious opponents to just 13 points in an incredible first set. And they cruised to victory, and secured a place in the elimination round by winning the second 21-19.

The Brazilians now face Swiss pair Beeler/Krattiger on Center Court on Friday needing to win to stay in the competition.

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Gutierrez saves Cuba’s semifinal hopes

Miguel David Gutierrez was once again the driving force in Cuba’s success at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship. In their last match of the second stage of the tournament, the Cubans claimed a hard-fought 3-1 (25-21, 25-23, 24-26, 27-25) victory over China to keep alive their chances for making the semifinals.

Gutierrez hammered out 24 points to become the best scorer of the match. His teammate Miguel Angel Lopez and China’s Yuantai Yu were next on the chart with 20 points each. After China’s out-of-this-world blocking performance on Wednesday, on Thursday it was their opponents who defeated them with their own weapon – 14 kill blocks, with Jose Israel Masso responsible for as many as six.
The match started well for China, but between the two technical time-outs Cuba came back from behind to take the lead and cruise on to a 25-21 win. The Cuban spikers became even more efficient in the second set to keep their team in the lead, but the Asian squad made sure to stay close behind – 25-23 in favour of Cuba. The Caribbean team reached match point at 24-23 in the third set, but the Chinese reacted with three in a row to take the set and stay alive. They saved three more set points for Cuba in the fourth set, but on the fourth one they surrendered against the double block of Javier Octavio Concepcion and Miguel David Gutierrez.
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Melgajero, Masso and Yang erect Cuban wall for Iran

Some fantastic blocking effort, led by Osniel Lazaro Melgarejo, Jose Israel Masso and Marlon Yang, lay the foundation of Cuba’s first win in Pool E of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s U21 World Championship.

Cuba piled up as many as 17 kill blocks on the way to a 3-2 (25-22, 25-23, 19-25, 13:25, 15-8) victory over Iran’s fighting squad, with Melgarejo topping the overall scorers’ chart of the match with 20 points.

Cuba’s great blocking and fewer mistakes made up for Iran’s efficient spiking and led to a 25-22 win in the first set. This continued in the second set as the Caribbean team doubled their lead after 25-23. In the third set Iran were able to cope better with the Cuban blocking. With Shayan Shahsavand also chipping in with three aces, the Asian squad won the set by 25-19. Led by captain Rasoul Aghchehli, it was the Iranian blockers that made the big difference in the fourth set, which their team won by a landslide – 25-13. The tie-breaker was also one-sided, but Cuba’s way. With Melgarejo on fire, the Cubans broke way to a 15-8 win and stamped the victory.

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