Gold Coast, Australia, June 24, 2017 – Mitja Gasparini and Tine Urnaut came up with solid performances on the flanks to steer Slovenia to the FIVB Volleyball World League Group 2 final, following their 3-0 (25-15, 32-30, 25-20) win over the Netherlands in the semifinal at Carrara Indoor Sports Stadium on Saturday.Quick links - Volleyball:
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Gasparini topped all scorers with 18 points, then Urnaut contributed 15 markers for Slovenia. Gasparini and Urnaut combined for 30 of the 46 total attacks Slovenia made against the Netherlands. The Dutch were led by opposite Wouter Ter Maat, who charted 14 points.
Slovenia won the Group 3 Final last year on their debut in the competition and are one win away from taking the Group 2 title this year.
Urnaut and Gasparini relentlessly scored from the flanks for Slovenia to mount a 13-4 lead in the opening set. Slovenia played consistently throughout the set with their well-placed spikes and quick tempo, while the Netherlands struggled to get their offence going as the former put an excellent defensive effort at the net. Slovenia maintained their edge until they seized the set at 25-15.
In the second set, Dutch opposite Ter Maat finally found his rhythm and scored more points to keep the score close, but Urnaut and Gasparini still converted points from their attempts to keep their side ahead at 18-16. Ter Maat scored an ace to record a 19-all deadlock that started the tight race to the end. The extended set featured brilliant plays from both sides, but Slovenia gained edge from a middle hit and finally prevailed as Urnaut scores on another spike 32-30.
Slovenia kept their momentum going in the third set, while the Netherlands struggled on their attack and service turnovers. As Slovenia held a big lead, the Dutch continued to fight and were able to cut down the lead to 21-19. However, Slovenia regained their composure and scored the points to reach match point. Danijel Koncilja’s back row spike secured Slovenia’s straight-set triumph at 25-20.