Katerina Holaskova of the Czech Republic jumps high to spike against Peru's triple block of Angel Leyva (#12), Diana De La Peña (#20), Brenda Uribe (#3)
Lima, Peru, June 28, 2019 – Canada, the Czech Republic, Argentina and Croatia are the four semifinalists of the 2019 FIVB Women’s Volleyball Challenger Cup set to continue their race to be promoted to the 2020 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
The Czech Republic, who were the top finisher in pool A, will face Argentina and pool B winners Canada will play Croatia in Saturday’s semifinals.
2019 FIVB Volleyball Challenger Cup – semifinals schedule (all times local)
Saturday, June 29
17:00 Czech Republic vs. Argentina
20:00 Canada vs. Croatia
Alexa Gray scored 20 points in Canada’s sweeping victory over Argentina 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-23). The “Maple Girls” led with a 47-42 advantage in attacks, a slim 8-7 in blocks and 6-2 in aces. Kiera Van Ryk contributed with 11 points, while Autumn Bailey and Emily Maglio tallied 10 points each.
According to Canada’s head coach Tom Black their victory came from their fast recovery. "Our key was responding from a bad play quickly, we didn’t run strings of bad points together and this spoke of the girls’ toughness."
Hernán Ferraro, head coach of Argentina said: "I want to see Argentina win, there are things to change, winning gives the players confidence and better attitude. Canada did things well and we failed in key moments, mostly in setting."
Czech Republic top pool A overcoming hosts Peru
European Golden League champions Czech Republic overcame the hosts Peru 3-1 (27-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-21) knocking them out of the competition and keeping their own VNL dreams alive.
In set one, the Czech Republic recovered from an eight point deficit and stopped Peru from scoring four set points to move into a well-balanced battle led on their side by Gabriela Orvosova with 17 points and by Peruvian Angela Leyva with a match-high of 19 points.
Moving into the semifinals as pool A winners, the Czechs outblocked Peru with an 18-11 margin (Andrea Kossanyiova scored four) and finished with a 9-4 serving advantage (Katerina Holaskova with five aces), while both sides committed 22 unforced errors.
Outside hitter Michaela Mlejnkova of the Czech Republic said her team has a really good chance of winning the Challenger Cup. "If we start strong from the beginning we can reach the finals and then end up winners."
Saying goodbye to the competition, Francisco Hervas, head coach Peru said: "We must continue working, we still have a low level of competition and we missed several opportunities. I would have to point out that the subs did not affect our team’s performance and there are many positive things from this outcome against a very highly-competitive opponent, that has competed much more than our team."