Santa Fe, Argentina, June 12, 2018 - Antonela Fortuna helped serve up a memorable night for Argentina who avoided the most unwanted record in volleyball and sensationally ended their VNL drought by beating Korea 3-0 (25-18, 26-24, 25-21).
It’s been a difficult campaign for Guillermo Orduna’s side who arrived to play in front of their home fans 0-12 so far and headed into this match against a team who the South Americans have lost to in straight sets in all of their previous seven meetings.
One more crushing defeat would have made it a world record for successive losses at this level.
But thanks to expert serving from Fortuna who hit four aces and six spikes - Argentina outserved their opponents 11-3 and outspiked them 44 -31- allied with brilliant support play from Anahi Tosi (nine spikes, one block and an ace), Orduna's battlers were able to see off Korea and finally get on the board, much to the delight of the blue and white fans who cried with delight as the final point was scored by captain fantastic Paula Nizetich (14 spikes).
“For us it was a very tough game and we were losing all the games but to win at home is great and we are so happy,” said a delighted Nizetich. “We were patient and served really well. We are so happy.”
Korea finally awoke in the third set and started to exert pressure but it was too little, too late despite 15 spikes and two aces from star player Jeongah Park.
All the history and current form book pointed to a Korea win but pumped up playing in front of their own fans, Argentina roared out of the blocks and when Tosi hit the winner, the relief was there for all to see.
It was the first set ever won against Korea at world level - and just the third in the entire VNL campaign - and with the spike count reading 14-10 for Orduna’s team, it was clear the gameplan was to stay positive and attack the ball.
Luckily for the home side, Korea were having a real off night but take nothing away from Nizetich and co who brought wonderful intensity and desire onto court.
Argentina raced 4-0 up in the second thanks in part to some brilliant blocking as well as being boosted by their service games with Julieta Lazcano’s dipping serve causing all kinds of problems.
Korea managed to claw back to 21-21 but errors from Park on serve allowed the South Americans to seal the second and even though the visitors established a 15-12 lead in the third, Fortuna stepped up to the plate to help settle nerves and lay the foundations for a famous win.
Both sides are struggling to make the finals - but no-one in Santa Fe will forget the feeling when that final point was fired home.