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Coach Lorne's Fall 2014 Blog

ASPIRE's Dr. Lorne Sawula is one of Canada's FIVB Volleyball Representatives. In this capacity, he will attend a software workshop in Leipzig, Germany on Sept 28-29, 2014. Lorne provides commentary to support the study of picture sequences and video material related to women's volleyball. From Germany, he travels to Italy to attend the FIVB Women's World Volleyball Championship - the 2nd Round in Bari on Oct 1-5, and the Final Round in Milan on Oct 8-12. Many thanks to Coach Lorne as he posts insights about his trip below.

The Women's World Championship News can be followed by clicking on the logo below:

Here's Lorne looking very "Official" with his video camera ….

Oct 12, 2014, 11:00pm ...

Good Morning:

Not much sleep but an interesting couple of weeks. I guess what I have learnt is never to say never, the match has its ups and downs, a mistake is not the end of the world, runs occurs both positive and negative and even if you work harder than your opponent you always don’t get the ‘prize’. But also persistency pays off in the end and if you can put a string of positive things together in match play anything can happen. It is like flying on a magic carpet - when things go right then don’t tinker and enjoy the ride. It will end at some point and your job as a coach is to manage the fall and find a way to hit a trampoline so you can bounce back rather than falling on a concrete deck. This competition seemed to show all of this at some point. Believe that all things are possible and when it does happen then you are prepared for the outcome - dream big!

Well first match tonight was to be a blow out and Brazil started that way. Italy didn’t come to play in the first set - Costagrande showed her age and he eventually decided to change for Diouf who both won and lost the sets she played in (more about this later). 25-15 was not a good result to start in front of 12,600 fans. The second set was much better and Coach, Marco, made a few subs into the match with Diouf,  16, Bosetti (a 20 year old) Power and Folle a new middle. They started off and it was a good match to 11-11. This is when you wonder what else can happen in volleyball. Italy decided to lose 14 points in a row to be down 24-11. 14 points in a row - does it ever happen ?? - to see it at a bronze match of the World Championships still has be make it more surprising. Good teams don’t do that but here is a team in the top 4 of the world doing it so when it happens to you then remember you are in good company. They lost, as you can believe, 25-13. So now it should be all over but this is where never say never occurs. When you win like this you start to wait for your opponent to make more errors so you don’t have to execute yourself. When it doesn’t happen you get surprised and then find yourself looking like you were that other team in the last set you just won. Italy controlled the match and won 25-22, after getting killed in the first two sets. 

But they have a 5 min break between the 2nd and 3rd sets and can you recover. So okay, I guess you start thinking what will happen next. Diouf hit a lot of balls and scored at will. She was the top scorer for her team with 32 points I believe, probably the most of her young career. So now she looks like a winner. 4th set starts in Brazil’s favour and they are up 8-3. Right after the break, technical time out, Italy scores 4 points in a row led by Diouf. #16 Bosetti didn’t seem to be contributing very much, her passing was not super, her block and attack average, etc. but he stuck with her. She is the player that missed her serve in the 5th set when substituted into the semi final match that they lost to China. Anyhow the game played on with her not contributing very much in the positive department. It played on and there was never more than a 2 point difference and mostly exchanges of points to 22-22. 

Then 16 hit one of her few balls, a wipe off the block at the 23rd point after a long rally. The crowd, of course, was going crazy. Then Brazilian #6, Thaisa, who is a middle that has two hats - one as a middle and one as a position 6 pipe attacker. This is a bit unusual but shows that you can train middles in a different way if you have the time and the athlete to do this with. With her ‘middle’ hat on she proceeded to hit a ‘B - short 31’ attack out on the 2m line. So it is now 24-23 for Italy. Young Christina (17 years old) make a beautiful drifting one on one block, when all the fans are bitting their nails, to win the set 25-23. Never say never and know you can change things if you put pressure on your opponent through consistency. 

So lets play another set and Brazil is still a bit shocked and Italy gets down a bit but fights into it and are up16-11. Then then proceed to lose 4 points in a row and it goes on like this with one point difference until Italy goes ahead 22-20. Here comes 16 again - she gets a block to go up 23-20, side out to Brazil, 23-21, then probably her 2nd kill of the match and it is 24-21. Brazil gets the side out but De Core puts the final point away and Italy wins 25 -22 pushing it to a 5th set. in the 3rd and 4th set although Diouf scored many points she also made 4 or 5 serve mistakes. Some which cost them, like in the 5th set.

The 5th set was good to 4-4 then 17 (Diouf) and 16 (Bosetti) sort of self destructed. Brazil had a 4 point run, then a 3 point run, followed by 2 points and 2 points which resulted in a 15-7 win and a Bronze Medal. A good fight but not the ending that gave them a prize they wanted - but they did gain back some pride.  Match 2 hrs and 5 min.

Now began the gold match - which teams will come? Both have put their best matches forward to date or they wouldn’t be here. USA is probably favoured by the press but China has lifted themselves into a gold medal position with positive improvement. Lang “Jenny” Ping has a gold Olympic medal as a player and Karch has 3 golds at Olympics as player. Now was a chance to get a gold at a World Championships, something that the US has never achieved. 

Set 1 starts in China’s favour and they go up 7-3 then they drop 4 points in a row and final make the first TTO with an 8-7 lead. China goes up 11-9 behind the play of potential superstar #2, Zhu. Then the US runs 3 points in a row after a double sub and it is 12-11 for them. At the second Technical TO it is 16-14 in the US favour. China makes a run to go ahead 18-16 with mistakes by the US. Then the US starts to play and makes an run of 5 points to go up 22-19. China rallies back to it 22-21,  US goes up 23-21 and 24-22 but China lead by Zhu makes it 24-24 but the middle for the US puts them back up but China ties it at 25-25. A real barn burner going on. Then a net call on the block against China and 4 hits called on a bunch of quick contacts around the net, which after China denies but it is over and the US wins 27-25.  Great start for the US. How will China respond?

Set 2 begins with the US getting on a roll going up 7-2 and 8-4. Point by point China and it claws itself back into the game. Super star Zhu is pulled, she looks tired and so does their setter. The 17 year old is playing her ‘heart’ out and going strong. China goes up 17-15 behind great defensive rallies but then gives up 3 points in a row to let the US back in and go ahead 18-17. Side out and things look stable but the US goes on  a 5 point run when China’s serve receive falters and the ‘lighting’ offence of the US gets on a roll. They find themselves down 23-18 and then the US finished them off 25-20. Looking good US.

Well the ‘carpet’ that the US is on is on its way to a 3 set victory and their first World Championship. However, in Set 4 the Chinese come back and keep it close to start - remember there is a 5 min break for some kind of performance between the 2nd and third set. I find this strange as the players had to leave the court and when it was over they just started without any more ball warm up. Anyhow it is 8-9 and then China goes on a 6 point run behind their left hander (one of the few in the tournament) and with #9 a new power into the set who has a spin serve. I believe that more teams will be serving with spin servers in the future agains the US as they had problems. China stays ahead and US gets to 16-21 but then gets hammered 25-16. China is back in it.

Talk about roller coasters rides and don’t believe when people say you can't lose lots of points or make lots of points if you are a good team. It may not happen that often but it will happen to everyone a some point in time. How you handle it is the challenge. Back to the match, 6-6 and exchange of points, #9 runs out of magic and is pulled with Zhu coming back in. This doesn’t help China and US goes on a 3 point run to go up 8-6. Looks over but China ties it up at 8-8 but US still pecks ahead bit by bit to take a 16-13 lead at the 2nd TTO. 19-15 US then 7 points in a row for China with great play by their left handed RS player (learn from this setter’s - go to the hot hitter). WHAT IS GOING ON? It is 22-19 for China when the dust settles. Exchange points with China up 23-20, looking good. BUT THEN THE ‘carpet’ runs out of gas and they lose 4 points in a row - two from bad reception passes and US finally gets to the Right Side with a blocked attack. China ties it back at 24-24 and they two attacks in a row by Hill, US power, and it is 26-24 and a GOLD MEDAL for the USA. Well done ladies. Feel sorry for China but think that they are the team of the future along with the USA and BRA.

I am done for now until maybe the next time - as I always believe there will be a next time. Hope you all enjoyed getting this information.



Oct 11, 2014, 7:15pm ...

Hi Everyone:


Have a look at some new data coming from U of Lausanne. I think you will find it interesting. They (about 5 people) are tracking players on the court through a camera recognition system. They have 4 camera’s - 2 above the court and 2 at the center of the end lines. These cameras allow them to get rally time, speed of the serve, movement of the players in relation to the ball, etc. It is still in its infancy but has some interesting future application for coaches to understand movement in relationship to ball, net, etc.

Go to:
2. World Women’s Championships
3. Match Schedule
4. Oct 8th Results
5. Match Center
6. Scroll down to ‘Volleyball Tracking System” (VTS)
7. Press and watch - 
- See all the players and where they are on the court, where the ball is and their defensive and attack coverage structure
- speed of the serve - most around 50-59 K per hour
- height that the serve is contacted at 2.55 m to 2.90 (approx.)

They only have these two matches from Oct 8th:

But tonight’s matches and the finals should also be added. They are still in the draft stages for this study and cannot just pull out information that may be useful in the future i.e. # of rallies over 10 sec, position of players when attack is in 4, etc. They said that will be the next revision. I guess this is the second time that they have used this tracking system - its purpose is a question mark but it can help coaches understand movement of players according to different situations. Problem is to know what type of set, or other attackers who might be involved, etc. 

Also rule changes being discussed by the FIVB:

1. length of the set/ match?
2. changing length and score duration of the game i.e. smaller scores (to 10 pts??)  more sets (7??), or whatever.
3. some are thinking of timed sets??
4. not allowing the touch on the net at all 
5. centre line - use or not use.
6. shortening service time - now 8 secs

Some of these changes could come in as early as Jan 1, 2015

Tonight’s Matches

Wow, don’t try to guess what can happen. In one way I win the pool with my partners here because about one week ago, only knowing the 2nd round results I picked USA and China in the finals. After yesterday I would have changed that to Brazil and Italy in a heartbeat. But as I said ’this is why athletes play’. You should always think that anything is possible. I knew that a few times with Switzerland, Canada and other teams that I have been with (NAIT, is the immediate example that comes to mind - a few years ago)

In the first match the USA was simple “OUTSTANDING”. They ran a flawless offence and Brazil with 9 players from previous Olympics and Worlds managed to act as a ‘deer trapped in some head lights”. I don’t think that they were ready for the USA “Lightning Offense”. Basically, it is a medium shoot (stopping at the antenna) and a back ’92’ to their left handed RS player or a very fast slide with their middles. Add this to a pipe ball run behind this movement and it showed the Brazilians did not prepare for a consistent offence that the US ran. They couldn’t get outside to cover the shoots and back sets and ended up guessing a lot - giving the US 1 on 1 situations which their hitters enjoyed. They made very few mistakes and Glass, their setter, was flawless in her selections and positioning of the ball. They are the only team to have their libero play in 6 and she did a very good job. (I have a copy for some libero I know who is caught up in this system). Add to this a great blocking game they took out the Brazilians in 3 straight sets. Unbelievable was what others said of this match. 

It is great for Marv Dunphy who is helping Karch in this competition. He will get a medal and join Arie Selenger to be one of the few coaches to have World Medals in Men’s and Women’s Volleyball. Tomorrow they play China who did something similar to the Italians.  In the second set the USA was down 11-4, then the Italians went to sleep with some help from the US play. They came back in one streak to 10-12 and then it was a battle all the way to the end. Never more than a 2 point difference with the US never leading until the 28th point. At 27 - 27 # 8 for Brazil (a great middle player) in a great rally got a ’31’ in transition and hit it out by about a cm. That made it 28-27 for the US, the first time that they held the lead in the match. They got a good dig and #10 put ball away for a 29-27 win. 

Unfortunately, the referee did not have a good match and a few calls went against the Brazilians. Learn something from this - don’t over react to the decisions made by officials, you can’t win. They got a yellow card for some choice interchanges, their coach was livid and they lost focus. The third set was never in doubt and the US played steady and in control to win 25-20. The Brazilians were ‘stunned’ to say the least. It was a great performance and they deserve to be in the finals. It also shows that one minute you can be dependent upon someone else to get you in to this position and when it happens take advantage of it.

A unique tactic is that #6 for Brazil, Thiasa, is a middle player who stays in the game and hits pipes for them out of position 6. Their libero is in mainly for one of their powers when she is in the back row. Lots of things possible in volleyball if you train properly for it.

In the second match it was similar. The Chinese played very well and got up by a few points and controlled the match with great play from their powers. The other day they looked as if the Dominicans should have beaten them and today they are at the top of the World, or almost. Everything was super for them. Today their passing only faltered a few times but their powers were spectacular. Also I mentioned the battle of the 17 year olds - Christina from Italy and Yuan from China. Well they both were among the better players on their teams.  Yuan from China gave them very fast attacking out of serve receive and then they were able to run a few combinations with their powers coming inside or the pipe being set in combination with her first tempo attacking. It also seems that she scared the Italians from attacking any quick sets right at her so they went more with the 31 and the slide. 

They won the first 25-12. In the second it was 8-8 but then the Chinese lead by their powers got a 4 point lead which the Italians could not get back and it ended up 25-20. You should feel the fans in the gym - their chanting and screaming continued but it was subdued. However, it started up again as Marco made changes - Costagrande was pulled and 2.02 m Diouf replaced her. She is also only 21 years old. The crowd got into it and they won, finally, 21-20. Zhu had her best match of the tournament scoring 32 points tonight to lead her team to that victory. #1 Yuan, had 11 kills and 5 blocks. China out blocked the Italians 14 to 10.

The fourth set was very close though out. The Italians were 15-13 up but then dropped 5 points in a row through 2 spike errors and 2 bad serve receptions - both from steady Del Core. Down 21-18 there seemed that there would be a story book ending as they tied up the match at 23-23. It was steady and just like the Brazil they jumped into a 27-26 lead only to have #2, Zhu who is 1.95m tall, put the ball away and tie it at 27-27. She is only 20 years old but reaches so high and snaps a ball over the block as if it was not there. She was the one that ran a lot of inside ’32’s in combination with their middle. After a long rally she also got the 28th point. However, Italy came back again with Diouf scoring and it was 28-28. Just like the US there was a long rally and young Yuan from China came very quick and smacked a ‘B’ ball for the 29th point. A great did and rally a few times they got one more chance on an inside high ball and power #12 Hui -23years old, came through with another kill and a 30-28 victory. Who would have won the 5th set if the Italians would have won - who knows. But give credit to the Chinese and they now are in the finals against the US.

Now the Italian fans will have to miss dinner if they want to watch their team play at 5:30. I don’t know why the final match is also at 8 pm on Sunday as it makes for a funny day when it is a holiday. In fact both days could have started one or two hours earlier. There was a great pre-game show with people hanging in the air and doing routines on hoops, dancers doing some kind of hip-hop thing and an announcer who worked up the crowd. About 13000, a sell out was there. I ended up sitting with the ball girls in a row behind some VIP boxes who were in our way but it still was better than walking all the way to the top to watch.

So one more day to go and then it is back home on the big flight - if the Lufthansa pilots don’t have another strike at Frankfurt. Oh yes,the results of the last quiz - according to the FIVB the right answer is 1998, sorry that no one got the right answer. That is over 16 years ago, many youngsters don’t know any other system than this one. 


Oct 11, 2014, 7:30am …

Crowd "Before" and "After" venue opened for competition between Italy and Russia.

It filled up with loud, very loud Italians. Two more days of fanatical fans. I think it is most impressive when they all sing their national anthem. 


Oct 10, 2014, 5:00pm ...

Good Evening:

Well we had a couple of good sets today in two matches. In the first match the Dominicans started slowly and never got into the match. Rivera and De La Cruz had off matches. Last match between them they scored 50% of their team’s points (60+). This time they managed - maybe 15 or so between them. The Brazilians played flawlessly with Setter Danielle LIns controlling the match. They are a true team with good bench, team spirit and all round play. Not many mistakes and tactics are good. They were after Rivera on receive and they would move directly in line to where she was and serve her into problems. It is funny for a player who moves so quickly in attack and in defense to not move her feet in serve reception. If the ball comes high she just stands up rather than trying to keep a specific platform height. It they serve is at her face she just ‘beach digs’ the ball. It rarely when that technique is used that it goes to the setter who has to scramble to make a set.

The Dom’s almost got into the match in the 2nd set - down 22-17 the Brazilians put in 3 non starters and the Dom’s behind De La Cruz’s spin serve got into a roll and got the score back to 23-20 and out of the bench comes running 3 subs at once (all the starters back in). The lost another point point and the got a side out with a back quick that the DOM’s blockers were caught sleeping. A service ace to Rivera and the 2nd set was over. They never were in the 3rd set. 

ITA wins this pool, CHI second and DOM third. All in all the DOM’s are not that far away from China and this was the first time they got to this level. So there was many learning experiences. They had to be getting tired after the same 6-8 played played nearly all of the sets to date. The Coach of DOM benched #17, his right side player, and #20 Martinez came in to finish off the match for 2 1/2 sets. She is the 2.00 m RS/PH, now 18 year old, that played in the U23’s as a starter when I was in Mexico a couple years ago. She looks young at this level but definitely has the potential to improve. He also put his second setter and a couple of other younger players in during bits of the last two sets. I think he realized that they were tired after all and the China match, yesterday, took most of what they had left. Losing does that when it is so close and you can almost taste it. But still positive for this group of athletes. They need one good passing left side power to become a world class team. (Our friend had gotten to the rationalization stage after the China match and is still positive.)

Add the USA to the Norceca list as a top team - both in the top 6 in this Worlds. The other countries in Norceca are all equal but at a lower level. Puerto Rico did not do well in this competition but Canada has not beaten them recently. But it would not take much of a push for Canada to challenge Puerto Rico for that 3rd spot in Norceca if we can give them a good training environment. Anything less than the top 4 in Norceca events would be disappointing in the future for us. We have good athletes, lets give them a good chance to prepare over the years by having a solid progression of support teams from the youth to the National level.

The second match was excellent for Italy and their starters played very well. They neutralized the block of the Russians and keep them off balance with strong service and choice defensive and transition attacks. They won the first two sets and were pushed a bit but they responded well. Gamova is no longer the player that she once was but she still can play. They seemed to do better when they used a faster attack system rather than just high balls. After winning two sets Marco, coach of Brazil, put most of his second unit into the 3rd and 4th sets. In the third set they were bad on reception and thus no attack and thus no chance. Russia took advantage and went on a roll to win easily. In the 4th set it was close with Russia pulling ahead about 22-19 and seemed in control. But a few digs by Italy and about 3 attacks out by the Russians and a big block by their 17 year old, led to a 23-23 tie and the Italians rallied to win by two points. The Russians also used some 2nd team players but it shows the depth of the Italian team. There were two 34-36 year olds on the court for those last two sets and two 17 year olds. 

So the ITA were first, USA got second with the two sets that Italy won, and RUS goes home. The next round has CHI vs ITA (which is the best for the Italians to get to the finals) and BRA vs USA. The US has some fire power but I don’t think they can stay with the team play of the Brazilians. The US will have to play more consistent that they have in the last two matches. They can play good but they have moments of ‘depression’ as well. CHI will have to raise their level of play but they have potential to also go into a ‘lower level’ of play mode. That is all it will take for a team on the prowl to finish you off.

Definitely, the best two teams (who have played consistently) may get to the finals, that being CHI and BRA. But again that is why they play the match and who knows maybe USA and CHI can rise to the occasion. There will be two 17 year old 2.00 youngsters on either side of the court in the Italian vs Chinese match. 

Oh yes, the answer to the last quiz was “”1898””.  Sandy Silver gets the prize for being the closest, (I new she is older, like me, but didn’t know she was that old). But the best answer was a remark that it ‘occurred after the 1976 Olympics’ were held in Canada'.

Next QUIZ QUESTION - We have been playing with it for awhile but do you know WHEN the rally point system came into play and WHEN was the ‘libero’ added as a concept in our team play?? It seems that we have played both forever. You need both answers to win the ‘bragging’ prize.



Oct 9, 2014, 5:30pm


Late night here. Just saw a very good volleyball game between DOM and CHI. Both teams played very well throughout - one mistake at a time and not many in a row, except for a few situations. DOM played flawless volleyball in the first two sets, closing them off after long rallies. In the 3rd set the DOM’s fell down early but rallied back to take a bit of control but some poor passing by #1, Riviera, put them in trouble. Close with swings to close out the 3rd set but CHI hung in and came out on top 25-23 but on the last point of that set their centre blocker came down on a DOM who was attacking and went under the net. She was stretchered out and didn’t return.

Her replacement was a 17 year old rookie who just happens to be 1.99 tall. She didn’t hurt them but added a bit of offence with a quick 51 that seemed to score most times she was set. The 4th set seemed ready to be taken by the Dom’s - up 12-6 I think they started thinking about the outcome and not the process. All of a sudden they were down 16-14, but again it could have gone either way but they lost 25-23 in the 4th set. 

The 5th set was see-saw with CHI taking an 8-7 lead at the change. However, again the DOM came back to go ahead 11-8 and after a great rally and Brenda, the DOM libero, came in to underhand set and easy ball in the 3 m zone to her power. Some how her underhand set went to an over pass and the Chinese said thank you, and won the point. This is unusual for her as even in the 23-23 games their coach is not afraid to pull their setter for a blocker and leave Brenda to set, underhand or overhand during rallies. Instead a 12-8 lead and total control it became a 11-9  game and CHI went on a digging and blocking spree with #1, Riviera again going into the tank passing. Result not many attacks and a 12-15 loss to the Chinese. I felt very bad for them as they had almost made the upset of the tournament. With this 5 set match the DOM’s have gone 7 matches with 3-2 wins or losses and went 4 with 2 other teams to play the most matches of any team in this World Championship. They have made vast improvements in their mental game and if they stick together they may become a ‘little Cuba’. 

The match tonight was 2 hours and 23 minutes. Is this because of the ‘Challenge’ system as sets seem longer 25-30 min in length and even the 5th sets are now going 20 min instead of 12-15 min. Or is it because many players are now using most of the 8 sec allowed for service??? Many questions to be answered.

De La Cruz who I have mentioned before had an average game - scoring 39 points of their 108 points scored. She is not big but is all fast twitch. Rivera, inspite of her bad passing was about a 20+ scorer tonight and worked hard on defense and blocking to give her team a chance to win. In the other match Kosheleva was the top scorer for the Russians with 25 points. Hill for the USA led them with 18 points.

Dominicans biggest fan was on cloud ‘high’ during the first two sets and with chances three times more I don’t think he has any finger nails left. I wish more for him and tonight would have been a nice reward for all his support over the years. They play Brazil tomorrow and will probably end up in 5/6 place as no one thinks they will have the energy or desire or ability to beat the Brazilans who are making themselves the favourite in this tournament. This is an excellent achievement, inspire of what may happen tomorrow for the Dom's.

The second match was in control by the USA, winning the first two sets fairly easily. Their shoot front and back sets were aided by some slides and 51’s to their middles this time. The RUS team is very tall but has some smaller players than I have seen before. Gamova is back but seems to be a ‘spoiled’ princess out on the court. She must have an asthma problem or something because at every time out she would take a sip of water and then reach behind her to her trainer for something she ‘squirted’ into her nose, I think. It was interesting to watch because the trainer just held the towels in his hands and this little blue thing in his fingers. She just reached around when she wanted it and covered it with a towel, then gave it back to him. Interesting.

The Russian offence is a few quick balls in the middle and high balls to power or the RSide + a pipe in the middle with which they were affective when it was used. They block with 3 players on high ball, as did the USA. Interesting they like to screen the server, with the 4 position player, when in 4 moves almost in the right side of the 3 position when they are serving - Jan the head of referees told me tonight that they are going to talk about it tomorrow. Today he talked to the referees about how long the teams are taking to serve. Some take as long as 12 sec which is 4 secs too long. He instructed the referees to let them know it if they should see it happen but not to make a big deal out of it. The teams that do this most of the time is Brazil and sometime Italy. So we shall see tomorrow what happens. 

The other interesting thing about the Russians is that they use two libero’s - one for reception and one for defense. They go back and forth as if they were one person. I guess this has been allowed internationally since London. They are, I think, the only team to do this - maybe one other. The tactic that the USA used tonight was to leave their libero in 6 most of the night and their PH went to 5.

In the 3rd set up by 5 points, 12-7, I think they went into a getting blocked every time and couldn’t find a pass to save themselves. None of the Russian servers are spin servers as is the case for the Americans. Hill, their PH could score and their libero couldn’t pass a ball. Needless to say they lost badly 25-15. The 4th was better, but down a few points they rallied back to have a 2-3 point lead but soon to lose it again. The Russians were blocking better and attacking very well. IN the end the US went up 23-20 but the Russian came back to 24-22 and the 23rd point Karch, their coach, almost lost it as a ball went off the Russian hands (so he said) and the attacker ducked as the ball fell quickly close to her. The Ref said the ball didn’t clear the net and thus was the Russian ball. It was fanatical time period and Karch got a ‘yellow’ card as a warning and tried to ask for a replay of that point. It was something he could have asked for but it has to be within the 5 sec window and this discussion he was having took almost a minute. He tried to signal in the end for a ‘challenge’ but they wouldn’t accept it which is correct. It now was 24=23 and it seemed that we might be going 5 as well. However, the US got a good reception, ran a step to their middle and she scored between a seam in the block. So 3-1 for the USA in 1 hour and 53 minutes.

The question to be asked is can the Russians beat the Italians tomorrow. People here say, no, as the Italians are playing fairly steady. But if they won 3-0 they would be in first place as they would be 4-3 in sets (won over lost) and the Italians would be 3-3. If they can even manage a 3-1 win it would knock out the Americans who would end up in 3rd. That would be a hard knock on the head if that was to occur. Guess this is why they play the games.

They said that there were 5200 fans tonight, a long way from yesterday so I am interested to see how many come tomorrow for the match - me thinks it will be full and if they get to the final round they too may be one of the favourite teams. As it looks now the USA could end up playing Brazil and the Italians get the Chinese. But that can all change for all I know - sport is sport.

More if I am awake tomorrow. Six matches to go in three days. The quiz for today is when did Canada adopt volleyball for “Recreational Purposes” - according to the FIVB???


Oct 8, 2014, 4:10pm 

Hi Everyone:

Well to those that sent in a guess (see my Oct 6th post) we only have one winner and that would be Doug Reimer. The places that seem to be on the hot list for players to go and make better money are Turkey and Azerbaijan.  Next on the list is Russia, a few clubs in Germany and Italy along with the odd contract in Brazil, Japan or Korea. Azerbaijan has 6 teams in their club league, all in Baiku (their capital city). They are very competitive with each other for players and thus pay well. Turkey is where Glenn Hoag coaches (men) and their women’s club system is improving each year. 

Well some surprises again and to think that both matches were over with 3-0 scores is something that no one could predict. In the first match China looked like a club team and let Brazil walk all over them. Brazil looks like the real deal, good offensive and defensive structure, spirited play, good libero and setter. China could not pas the ball tonight, one time there was 4 receive errors in a row. Jenny said that her team was young and maybe the pressure got to them.

In the other match, ITA vs USA, it was supposed to be a strong USA team against a maybe generatrix group of athletes. Well those veteran players played well. The USA controlled the whole of the first set until the end. They were usually up by 3 or 4 points, ahead 22-19 but maybe the Italian chanting of “Italia, Italia, Italia …” got to the Americans. Italy got back into it, went ahead to 23-22 and then it was tied 23-23, with Italy getting the 24th point with a block, then a   and finally the USA watch the serve hit the ground to end the first set. 

The Italians were up to play this match after this and although the USA led by a few points a few times in the 2nd set, the end of the set was similar with Italy taking advantage of the situation and making the USA hurt. This ‘hurt’ continued into the 3rd set and the Italians got a commanding lead and won 25-20 in the end. There was pandemonium on the court after the match. You should see the young Italian volleyball female athletes just screaming and crying while waiting to see, touch or get a pic with their favourite players. This sort of was like the old days when I remember the ‘Beattles’ and their concerts. I think one of the players must have gotten a proposal or something from her boyfriend because everyone stopped in the gym to watch her jump into his arms, total rapture of the moment, him holding a 70 kilo girl in his arms … still don’t know what all this meant but it was more than unusual. Maybe I will find out tomorrow. 

From what I understand the USA can play at a better level but their offence was only the fast shoot to the left side and the fast back shoot to the right side. Their middles got blocked early or hit a few balls out of bounds and never got back into the match. Even in rallies the back shoot and front shoot (not extremely fast but more like a 2nd tempo shoot set and a back 73 from anywhere) where their offence. The Italians were bunch blocking and moved out each time to take the line and push back inside. Their middles are not big but fast and closed well. When they didn’t they dug a lot of balls around or in the hole of the block. Costagrande was impressive as was their other power hitter - Del Corte (not that big) but boy did she crack the ball and her passing, along with Costa Grande was almost flawless. She was the top scorer for her team with 15 points. The Italians also used a fast pipe and a right side 3 m ball to their Right Side, Centon, to their advantage while the USA never did use that tactic much. On a positive, they still can get in to the final 4 when the play Russian tomorrow in their final match. They basically have to win the match and then wait and hope that the Russians don’t do something silly when the play the Italians on the day after that.  They have put themselves in a big hole. 

It was nice to see Marv Dunphy (US Men’s Gold Medal Coach 2 times) on the bench supporting one of his old players the current coach Karch Kiraly. I guess old coaches still have something to offer their National Program in the USA. Part of their philosophy is to have support for their current Men’s and Women’s coaches from previous national team staff.

Both Brazil and the USA had their libero in 6 a few times - not systematically but more tactically, every now and then. All teams used a double sub - Brazil’s was effective, as was Italy with Diouf (1.98)  coming in. The USA’s was not effective in two of the 3 situations that they used it. Definitely, a strength of Italy is that they have about 10 starters and their Coach, Marco, does a good job with them. Not too many challenges tonight by the coaches. Karch tried one early and lost so he was a bit reluctant to use it again. He tried another for a time out but only got a stare and a quick challenge for that time out. Brazil, USA and Italy used 3 blockers against high sets in position 4 - this was not shown by Italy in their last match.

China, has to pull up their socks, as they play the Dominican Republic tomorrow who went 5 with China before and beat Italy in 5 in the earlier round robin. However, the teams that go on from here have to have another level of play which Brazil and Italy seem to be on a rise. DOM will have both players back who had their fingers dislocated but seems that after a 3 day rest they are ready to go. They are my ‘dark horse’ in this competition and it will be interesting if they can withstand the pressure of this event. Russia, if they can pass the ball, can keep up with these teams as they also have some experienced players with Gamova back in stride.

Tonight the crowd was about 9-10,000, not full but probably will be in two more days to support their heroes in action. However the P2 says there was 11,500 spectators.

It will be quiet tomorrow as the Italians are resting.


Oct 6, 2014, 3:40pm 

Hi All:

Not much today except for the major draws that were made for the pools by the coaches themselves. Against Brazil in the last match of the 2nd round the US played their non starters as did the Brazilians. I am sure there are a few surprises to be shown before this next round is done. The talk around here is that Italy should have gotten in a pool with Dominican as it would been a better chance to get to the final round and thus draw large crowds. But don’t tell that to the Italian team. This afternoon I was on the plane with them coming from Bari to Milan and they were pleased with the drawing. Don’t ask me why but they were pleased. They had their phones on during the plane ride but before we landed they knew the results from the draw.  They feel that they are playing well, are confident and the crowd will help them when needed.

Pool G

Pool H

USA plays Italy and Brazil plays China.  These ought to be the best matches of the tournament because if you lose you have to come in through the back door and win your last match. The USA and China both got the 2nd place in the pools and they both like this because they get two matches in a row, a rest day and then the final two matches. The teams that won the pools BRA and ITA have got 1 match, day off, then 3 matches in a row. It can take its toll.

Next matches are on Wednesday. Since I got in early I walked over to the main stadium and had a look - very big - like a big Professional Ice Hockey rink. It will be interesting to see it come alive come Wednesday night. 

Another interesting fact from the Italians, many of their players are going abroad to play as their clubs are having financial difficulties. Italy is no longer the icing on the cake for volleyball professionals. The top two countries are _ _ _ _ _ _ and  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ . Quiz, I will let you guess and if I remember I will let you know tomorrow ( I think that I spelled the teams correctly, each _ is a letter of the country.


Oct 5, 2014, 4:30pm …

Tonight in our pool the DOM went 5 with Japan. They actually played with more composure than I expected. They lost their 2nd starter early in the match with a jammed finger but some how they managed to find a way to keep things close and even had a 9-6 lead in the 5th. Their libero took an easy ball and underhand set it to the power except, somehow, she put the ball on top of the referee’s podium. Martinez made an amazing cut but the ball went out on the far  sideline by about two millimetres. Instead of in control with a 10 - 6 lead it became 9-7 and then it went down from there. They allowed Japan to run 6 points in a row before they got a side out. It was more mistakes than Japan’s great play. Japan won 15-12 and got some satisfaction from not going on to the final six. Give DOM credit, for fighting it out, as they already were in the final 6 pool. They seem to be playing with more composure and are handling the pressure very well. I don’t think they have the best team here but they are finding ways to win. I think this is their 6th match where it went 5 and this could have gone their way.  

The other match was very loud and the fans kept the Italians in the match. It looked as if China had control after winning the 1st set but they let Italy get control in the 2nd and they managed to stay strong. China had the 3rd but at the end they dropped 4 points and got Italy back into it. A block and they found themselves down 25-24. There was a good rally and Italy hit the ball into the corner of the court it was called out by the linesman and the referee agreed. However, the Italian Coach, Marco, challenged the call and on the replay (it did look almost out but they say the back end of the ball hit the line) they changed their mind and gave the set to Italy. Of course China was not too happy. In the 4th Italians were playing like winners and the Chinese were flustered. The big young Italian middle came in the 4th, missed two serves but I think blocked 4 balls, almost in a row - all 1 on 1 to boost her team over the top and win the match. Veteran captain Piccinini started in this match and played very well scoring 15 points for her team. I think that Head Coach, Marco, has managed his older players very well. Tonight 1.96 RS Diouf, one of the younger stars, started in the RS and played very well with strong attacks down the line. Del Cor who started last night in power and Centoni, who was the RS starter, both were on the bench. 

Many were surprised, although China rested their starting setter, the showed good power but serve and serve receive were not good tonight. Just shows that if you get on a roll you can go a long ways. With this win Italy surprises everyone and wins this pool with China 2nd and the Dominican 3rd. By winning tonight Japan saved themselves more embarrassment and ended up 4th, just out of the play-offs. Germany won to finish 5th, Belgium also won to finish 6th with Croatia coming 7th and AZE 8th. 

In the other pool, I have it from good sources that the USA rested most of their starters and as a result lost 3-0 to Brazil. Russia beat Serbia 3-0 to gain the 3rd spot behind USA (2nd) and Brazil (1st). Serbia was 4th, Turkey 5th, Bulgaria 6th, the Netherlands 7th (they will lose quite a bit of money for their athletes from the government, as I was told), and Kazakhstan 8th.

The draw will be tomorrow (at 2 pm my time) and as I said it could be any of the teams in any pools. Even the teams that finished 1st don’t get any breaks. In fact they get the next two days off with the others but have to play 8th, rest on the 9th then play the 10th (to finish off the top 6 pools) and then, if they win, they have to play 3 days in a row. Finishing 2nd seems to be the golden draw as they play on the 8th and 9th then get the 10th free and then the finals on the 11th and 12th. The draw tomorrow will decide who gets that 2nd berth..

I am trying to catch a charter flight with two teams in the morning at 9:15, instead of waiting for Tuesday and my booked flight. There is a charter for the teams and organizers to go and I think that I have one of the last two open tickets. Would be nice to get in early into Milan and catch up on some sleep.

Have a look at the team rankings in skills. The 6 teams in the final pool are in the top 7 of the tournament with 42-46% kill ratings. Attack must be important. 4 of the 6 teams are the top 4 in blocking, also important. Serving, receiving, digging and setting do not seem to correlate with the top 6 results. Just quick thoughts but will look in more detail later.

12,500 sold out tickets now in Milan and if Italy gets to the final 4 it will be mayhem.


Oct 4, 2014, 5:15pm …

6000 Fans!


Well tonight’s matches were a bit of good and bad. There were some extra special rallies and tactics but still too many unforced errors by all 4 teams that I watched. However, it did solidify the top 3 so now the teams can play around a bit. There still is one more round of this final pool to play but with only one meaningful match to be played it means teams may be resting players during the next rounds. As I mentioned before the top 3 get into the final round. There are then two - 3 team - pools with a round robin in that pool. So they are meaningful games unless you feel you don’t have to do too much to get into the final round, as the top 2 teams advance into the final round where the top 1 plays the 2nd one from the other pool and vice versa. As I mentioned previously the top teams from the current pools get to be 1st but the other teams all draw to go into one of the pools. So for example if China is first in their pool and USA first in theirs - then China or the USA could get two of Italy, Dominican, Brazil or (the only placing match left) the winner of Serbia and Russia. So even though that USA just played Russia and Brazil they then could get the same two teams again - same with the other side. From what I hear this was designed and approved by the FIVB as a request of the organizers. Maybe in this way now they will fill the 12, 500 seat stadium in Milan when Italy plays. Tonight and tomorrow it is sold out with about 6000 fans in attendance here in Bari.

In Pool E the Dominican played strong against China, losing 3-2 (but winning 1 point). That meant if Japan did not win 3-1 or 3-0 tonight they were in 3rd place for sure. Both these teams have strong libero’s and they both came to play. China is tall, good blockers and play a good system of offence and defense. Their coach Lang “Jenny” Ping ( a former national team play for China and coach of the USA women) rested a few players but that didn’t seem to affect them too much. Basically, they run some fast shoots outside, use a strong pipe ball in conjunction with some fast 51’s or 61’s and slides. Generally they are an example of the women in this competition who run very good timing pipe sets out of the middle 3 m. area of the court. They are fast enough that if the opponent middle bites on the quick set they don’t get a chance to come back again and get involved in the pipe. The pipe is also moved around depending on the type of quick attack run by the middles. Add this to the fast inside 32 shoots to the PH’s  and a back shoot to the RS you have their basic offence. There is not too much combination player or cross patterns -in the regular offensive system, unless they use it as a surprise. Maybe once or twice a set.

Power De La Cruz for the Dominican has a great spin serve, one of the two on her team to use it in a match. Tonight they both were on fire and did not make one mistake when they were serving. The nice thing is that they used lots of side spin at times on their serves in addition to the top spin. China were all jump float servers, Italians only had one spin server and Japan also were only jump float servers. Anyhow, of the 98 points that Dominican scored tonight De La Cruz had 37 of those points (32 kills out of 64 atts, 2 blocks and 3 serve aces). Power ace Zhu for China had 23 points out of 107 for China. China out blocked  Dominican 14 to 7. 

Another player is leading the point scored category by far over everyone else - Rahimova Polina got 36 points for her team AZE. Nearly all the other top scorers for the teams tonight had around 20 points. So you can see how much each player helped out their team. Polina is far out in front of the other players as the Best Scorer with 210 total points, compared to second place De La Cruz with 169. However, since her team is not going on she will not get any award as these will come from the teams in the last 4, I believe.

China controlled the first two sets and seemed to be ready for a 3-0 victory. But the Dominican’s left by De La Cruz and their special libero, Brenda Castillo, had something to say about things. She dug some unbelievable balls and her attackers found sharp angles and high off the hands balls that went deep out of court in the back line area. I was surprised that the Dominican power’s received the ball as well as they did tonight, usually it is their achilles heel. In the end I don’t have the stats in front of me for errors but I would think that the Dominican passing did not let let them down. 

On the positive I really feel that the Dominican’s have matured in their mental game. They don’t play with so many highs as before and seem to be ‘quieter’ on the court than I remembered them previously. You can really see the focus to detail in the service routines that their spin servers go through before they serve. Each time De La Cruz walks back to the end line, does not look for the ball, eyes straight ahead, takes 7 steps and then turns to the ball giver and asks for the ball, she finishes off her routine with a few bounces and a few breaths before she serves. It is a treat to watch her. Both setters ran a strong choice of sets and used the pipe in a ‘timing’ not a ‘survival’ situation. Of course both teams are capable of making something out of nothing when it counts. To end the 3rd set the Dominicans ran a RX out of serve receive for the only time in the match - resulted in a quick point and set won.

In our second match Japan, as I mentioned, had to win 3-0 or 3-1 to set up a pressure match with Dominican tomorrow night. However, their coach the Bronze medalist from London Olympics, had, as I said previously been using a system with a taller setter playing in the middle. He used this for most of the tournament. Then out of the ‘blue’ he went with his ‘little’ setter, Nakamichi and went back to a conventional system of play. She is a great ball handler but blocking is her nemesis. They had chances in both the first and second sets and I shouldn’t be so hard on them, as if they won one of these two sets I am sure that Italy would be playing with more weight on their shoulders. In the 3rd set Japan went back to the setter in the middle system and they never got in the match was was dominated by the Italian attackers. 

They are very happy to be in the final 6 and their older players will probably get a break. Costagrande (originally from Argentina - Doug and I know her well) is  34 years old and playing very well. Centoni, their middle is 33 years old and Piccinini, their captain who only played briefly, is 35 years old. Add to this their setter Lo Blanco who is only 1.71 m tall but plays with 35 years of experience you probably have the oldest team in the tournament. You would think that she was a Japanese setter the way that she handles the ball. Coach Marco, from what I heard, was instrumental in bringing back these older girls into the team for these World Championships. This is something that Canada has to learn, I think.

Although the Italians missed 14 serves compared to 9 for Japan, Japan missed many early in the first two matches and this resulted in Italy getting their breath back and giving them the chance to win the first two sets. They out hit the Japanese 48% to 36% and actually out passed them 73% to 69%. Funnily enough the Japanese had more blocks 6 compared to 2 for the Italians but the Italian’s serve kept the Japanese offence away from their quicker game and allowed the Italians to touch and control a lot of balls off the block. It seemed that whenever the Italians needed a big attack they got it. Resulted in a 3-0 win and Japan now goes home with a very low position compared to what they were expected to do.

Other teams in this pool are finishing off their placings - AZE beat CRO 3-1 and Germany beat Belgium also 3-0. Tomorrow they all have a chance to get a higher position if things go their way in the result column.This tightens everything up if you look at the standings in the Bulletin.  GER plays AZE and CRO plays BEL in their final matches of this World Championships.

In Pool E the USA, even though they rested a starting middle and power easily beat Serbia 3-0. Now I don’t know if for sure but maybe Serbia rested their players as well, expecting Brazil to beat Russia (which they did 3-1) and now have a do or die match tomorrow vs Russia. The USA and Brazil play each other for bragging rights and 1st place in the pool..

Other matches in this group were: TUR beat the NED 3-1 and BUL beat KAZ 3-0. The NED play BUL and TUR play KAZ, the only team that does not have a win in either of these last two pools.

There was a big confusion in the match in the 4th set between China and Dominican. The FIVB is using an electronic score sheet and somehow the score pushed the button just as the rally went. Apparently he thought the Chinese were out of order on the court and there was a bit hub-hub with the score going from 21-19 to 22-17, to 22-18 before they came to the realization that it was 22-19 for Dominican. This took all of almost 10 minutes to finalize but give bothe teams credit they came back and played as if nothing as happened. Something all young teams can learn.

So one more day of matches, then a rest day, and then it starts with the final six teams. Wonder if age will catch up to the Italians or not. It has got them into a dream position, now it has to carry them the rest of the way.


Oct 3, 2014, 3:30pm …

 Italy vs Belgium - Bari Stadium

Greetings Everyone:

Got some time today to write a few things about the tournament. Regarding the draw procedure when it comes to the last round ... the 1st place team in each pool gets put in one of the final two groups. Then the 2nd/3rd team in each pool go into a draw and then they go in with one of the top two teams. It still means that they may have to play another team that they have already played before so it is still a tough road to the finals 4.

So lets look at each pool and give some thought as to the final 6 results. Pool E still has a bit of nail bitting to go on as although China is guaranteed a play off spot and if they lost their last two matches (which won’t happen) so we will give them 1st in the Pool.  Italy, Dominican have the best chances to move on with Japan having to beat both of them to get into the final 6. Italy needs 1 point in their last two matches to move onwards and more or less the same for the Dominican. Italy plays Japan and China, Japan plays Dom and Italy and Dom plays Japan and China. The rest are out at this point.

In Pool  F the USA should end up in 1st place and Brazil in 2nd place but they have to play each other. USA also has to play Serbia who is fighting for that play-off spot and Brazil has to play RUS who will be playing for their lives after their 5 set loss to TUR yesterday.  Serbia has RUS left so it will be a tight few days for all the teams left in this pool. 

So everyone cannot wait for someone else to help them. To ensure survival they have to control their own destiny. Matches or sets that have been lost previously come into play and under this system there is no room for poor play.  The problem is that even with great play, after the draw for the next round, you still could not make it into the finals. 

CHI, USA and BRA seem to be on the top of world at this moment but, again, you can never tell - maybe after the next two days there are upsets and they could be drawn into the same pool. It is good that competition has the chance to be very close and matches have drawn well, especially in Rome where most nights have been sell outs. I would expect 5-6,000 here in Bari tomorrow and Sunday (which is full capacity). The final round in Milan will can have up to 12,500 spectators. If Italy makes it into the final 6 and then final 4 there will be the chance for full capacity.

Last night in the challenge system the referee won most battles with the replays. That was good - a few calls by the coaches were to use the system to cause delays and hope to throw off the focus of their opponent. So far I haven’t seen the warning given to a coach for delay of game. Did see a few line calls during the Italy - Belgium match that were overruled by the referee. 

On a technical point I understand that the Japanese Coach is only using a system with 1 middle blocker. That means that they have their setter in the middle. They have not played well in this tournament - this is a newer setter who is taller than normal but I understand, as a team, still has the problem of how to block the bigger players. This system was used by Peru in the 80’s and they won a sliver medal in Korea in 1988 Olympics. Maybe Japan will follow in their footsteps once they work out the kinks. On the other hand Korea Men also had a small setter called “Picola Kim/Little Kim and managed to get into the top 4 Men’s team in the World in the early 90’s. Like Japan they said that they can’t get to the top with a small setter blocking so they went to taller setters. Result was a drop to lower 10 in the World. So taller does not always bring the best results and Japan will have to see if this is the right move for them. Having gotten into the top 4 in 2012 Olympics and wining the Grand Prix they want more - but will they get it? I am anxious to watch them tomorrow when they play. More thoughts later.

Raining here today but sunshine tomorrow.

Aspire Volleyball

Oct 1, 2014, 4:45pm …

There are still some maybe’s in the ‘who is going to be in the final pool” but not that much chance for many others. Tonight I saw the Dominican Republic win in 5. A poor match and not much motivation by  the Dominicans but in the end they dominated the 5th set. They have been in the most 5 set victories of all the teams in this competition. However, the FIVB’s system (which I have on rumour will be changed at the next Congress to what I don’t know but it will not be this system) means that most likely they would have to win all the rest of their matches to make it into the final 6.  However, one of their starters (I think their RS player) had her finger either broken or bruised very badly tonight in the 4th set. She went to the hospital for x-rays. 

In the other match here it was a better offensive game with Azerbajjan getting off to a slow start and Italy up 2-0. However the power of the Azerbijan players got better and the Italians thought they had it in the bag. They got beat badly in the 3rd and were down 22-19 but some errors by their opponent gave them a chance to close it out and they did that winning 25-23. About 4 000 fans came to watch the Italians play. There was some outstanding attacking in this match but still not as spectacular as the players can make it. The Azer power was horrible in the first 2 sets and it was no wonder that they lost the first two sets. She was the serve target and did not respond very well but eventually she got into the game and settled down giving them chances. 

Both matches had their share of unforced errors. 23 by the Dominican and 30 by the Belgiques. Italy made 28 errors and Azer’s had 24 - Normal is usually under 20 each. Japan and Croatia’s match also had their fair share.

Pool F is the toughest pool and with Croatia beating Japan tonight it might be fairly certain that Japan will not make it. They are playing like a tired team according to what I have heard. I get to see them shortly. Serbia may push Russia for that final position in Pool F but it seems that Brazil and USA are in that final pool. In Pool E China and Italy seems to be moving along with Dominican fighting for that last spot with Japan and Croatia. Dominican still has China and Japan and Azerbaijan to play. So those lack of 3-0 or 3-1 wins will come into play shortly. 

Also tonight in the first match the ‘Challenge’ system came into play - 2 times in the first match and about 8 or 9 times in the last match. I think it was more like 75% of the calls were changed after video analysis - interesting. It took about 30-45 sec to come up with the right answer. One case was a deliberate delay although he did not get penalized for doing it. It will take some getting used to before everyone is comfortable.


Sept 29, 2014, 9:30am with later corrections by FIVB in red …

The big addition to the next round is a "Challenge System for Calls” which can be made by coaches or the referee, read below:

(it will be used from the second phase of WWCH 2014)

1. Present regulations specify the rules of video verification utility for referees’ decisions during FIVB World events.

2. Video verification can be called upon at the coach’s request, but only before the game has been resumed and directly after the rally (within 5 seconds) which is a matter of doubt.

3. Both teams have the right to call video verification for a referee’s decision twice per set. Between two rallies only one request for video verification can be made. Any team may not make a challenge if within the same interruption there has already been a challenge. If the result of the video verification leads to a decision-change in favor of the requesting team, it does not decrease the number for video verification calls available for this team in this set. On the other hand, if the decision of the referee was correct, it means that the number of video verification calls for this team in this set will decrease by one.

4. The 1st referee him/ herself has the right to ask for video verification in case he/she is in two minds and his/her call will finish the set or the match.

5. Video verification can be requested for the following situations only:
  1. ball position when touching the floor (ball IN*or ball OUT)

  2. faulty antennae or net contact by a player on top of the net only

  3. contact of a player’s feet with the end line (when executing service)

  4. ball contact with the antennae on top or above 

6. Only the Coach can address his requests for video verification to the 1st referee (not later than 5 seconds after the rally has been finished). If the request is judged by the 1st referee as inconsistent with point 5 (above), the request will be rejected and the requesting team will be sanctioned for game delay. In the case of a correct request, the 1st referee will initiate the video verification procedure - whistling and pointing both hands towards scorer’s table. All acting players remain on the court for the time needed to assess the video.

7. Only the 2nd referee analyses the video replay on the screen. No team members or other persons are allowed to attend or to affect the referee’s work.

8. The 2nd referee, after verification based on the video replay, informs the 1st referee of the result by microphone only, and it is the 1st referee who is responsible for the final decision.

9. After video verification and before resumption of the game, the 2nd referee has to verify if the score sheet and all scoreboards around the court present the correct game result, as well as checking if the acting players are all in their correct positions (rotation order) according to score sheet. The Assistant Scorer is responsible for a detailed description of the verification using a special form (see appendix).

10. Where the video verification technology cannot show clearly the nature of the challenged event, the decision of the 1st referee remains in force and the team keeps the challenge. Should the referee be unable to make a decision, even on the basis of the technology, then the rally should be replayed.

11. As soon as the game has been finished, the scorer writes in the ‘REMARKS’ box of the score sheet the number of all video verification cases and final decisions.

12. Any breakdown of the video verification system during the game does not affect the course and validity of the game. In particular it cannot be a reason to stop the game or to protest; the 1st referee conducts the game according to the official volleyball rules.

13. After the 1st referee’s final decision, the replay must be shown on the giant screen inside the Hall.

• For the purposes of the Challenge system, the definition of ball “IN” is as follows: The ball is “IN” if at any moment of its contact with the floor, some part of the ball touches the court, including the boundary lines.

Sept 28, 2014, 10:15pm …

Good Evening:

Well it looks as if THA,ARG, PUR, CAN are out, all tied for 5th place in their pools. That would be 16-20 place in these World Championships. Sharing 21-24th place are CUB, CMR, TUN and MEX. 

Lots of excitement in this final day with BEL moving up to 3rd place in their pool by beating PUR 3-0. GER lost in 5 to CRO and that did drop them into 4th place instead of 3rd. The USA and RUS match has been outstanding 34-32, 25-19, 25-27, 26-24. This win gives USA first place in their pool and they carry a clean record forward, which should help them in their quest to get into the medal round. STAT: TeamRussia had won their last 17 matches at World Championships. This is the longest streak for TeamRussia as a separate nation. As part of Soviet Union, they set the record streak of 29 straight victories (1952-62).

Japan almost took China but lost in 5. BRA went 4 with Serbia winning 3-1 in close sets. The DOM vs ITA left the Italians without figure nails as it went 5 as well with Italy falling behind 8-6 in the 5th, then DOM went on a run to go up 12-6 and win the 5th set 15-8. However, the Italians won the last laugh, winning the pool, with the one point they got from going 5 vs DOM, even though they finished the pool with a 4-1 record and Dominican was 5-0 (go figure). Also look at the points that the DOM brings with them into the next round, compared to Italy - they are 5-0 but now have only 6 points while Italy at 4-1 has 7 points.  USA, BRA and CHI now become favourites to make it into the medal round.

Sets won and lost are carried into the next round so every set won and every match won can pay dividends in the end. Add to that the method of 3 points to win 3-0 or 3-1 makes each set even more important or to get 1 pt if you lose in 5 but only 2 pts if you win in 5. The only possibility for younger players to get a chance to play is when their team has ‘blown’ its chances to advance otherwise the experienced players play most moments in the match. Depth is very important in this competition.

I have tried to add Canada’s rankings in the skill areas but am not certain that they are up to date or finalized at this point. There seems to be some incorrect numbers in the digging, setting and receiving numbers on Canada’s behalf. The FIVB is using a new recording program and I will ask when I get to Bari and will check these when Bulletin 6 comes. Scorers, spikers, blockers and servers seems to be correct.

Pool A
1. ITA
2. DOM
3. CRO (of course the reverse - mental breakdowns but brilliant play at times- very emotional team)
4. GER (just lost tough match with CRO - 5th set - down 6-2, went ahead 8-6, down 11-8, rallied back to 11-9, down 12-10, tip for 12-11, down 13-11, ace serve by CRO 14–11, & lose 15-11)
5. ARG
6. TUN

Pool B
1. BRA
2. SRB
3. BUL
4. TUR
5. CAN
6. CMR

Best Scorer
1. Polina Rahimova AZE 100 kills - 11 blocks - 9 aces = 120 pts
47. Lucille Charuk  32 kills - 13 blocks - 2 aces = 47 pts 
71. Shanice Marceller 34 kills - 4 blocks - 2 aces = 40 pts
74. Kyla Richey 35 kills - 3 blocks - 1 ace - 39 pts

1. Jaqueline Endres BRA 36 kills-  5 faults - 20 cont - 61 atts = 59% kill %
11. Kyla Richey  CAN  35 kills - 18 faults - 26 cont - 79 atts = 44.3 kill %
55. Shanice Marcelle CAN 34 kills - 19 faults - 57 cont - 110 atts = 30.91 kill %
62. Tabitha Love CAN 17 kills - 11 faults - 54 cont - 82 atts - 20.73 kill %

Best Blockers
1. Ting Zhu CHI 18 stuffs - 5 faults - 10 touches - 33 atts = 1.06 bls per set
9. Lucille Charuk CAN  13 Stuffs - 11 faults - 24 touches - 48 atts = .76 bls per set
98. Shanice Marcelle CAN 4 stuffs - 6 faults - 5 touches - 15 atts = .24 bls per set
126. Kyla Richey  CAN  3 stuffs - 5 faults - 9 touches - 17 atts = .18 bls per set

Best Servers
1. Charlotte Leys  BEL  11 aces - 1 fault - 72 atts - 84 total = .69 aces per set
22. Rebeca Pavan CAN   5 aces - 2 faults - 23 atts - 30 total = .28 aces per set
115. Lucille Charuk CAN 2 aces - 9 faults - 29 atts - 40 total = .12 aces per set
116. Shanice Marcelle CAN 2 aces - 2 faults - 49  atts - 54 total = .12 aces per set
Best Setters
1. Natalia Valentin  PUR  124 Running Sets - 7 faults - 345 Still sets - 476 total = 7.29 per set played
26. Jennifer Lindquist CAN 22 running sets - 0 faults - 68 Still sets - 90 arts = 1.29 per set played 
(This must be incorrect as not enough sets made for Lindquist and Megan Cyr had vs SRB 19 running sets, 0 faults, 72 still sets, 91 atts and 4.75 sets per set - she is at the bottom in the web stats with 5 atts)

Best Diggers
1. Wanna Buakaew  THA  80 + Digs - 19 faults - 104 ups - 203 atts = 5.33 per set
124. Kyla Richey  CAN 11 + Digs - 2 faults - 14 ups - 27 atts = .65 per set
136. Shanice Marcelle  CAN 9 + Digs - 2 faults - 11 ups - 22 atts = .53 per set
178. Tesca Andrew-Wasylik CAN 5 + Digs - 2 faults - 7 ups - 14 atts = .28 per set
(I have to “dig” around on this one as I don’t think it is accurate, she had 7 digs, 1 faults, 3 ups and 11 atts vs SRB alone)

Best Receivers
1. Risa Shinnabe  JPN  63 +’s - 4 faults - 42 ups - 109 atts = 54.13% efficiency
36. Kyla Richey CAN  16 +’s - 13 faults - 56 ups - 85 atts = 3.53% efficiency
37. Shanice Marcelle CAN 10 +“s - 12 faults - 69 ups - 91 atts = - 2.20 efficiency
76. Tesca Andrew-Wasylik  CAN 8 +’s - 1 fault - 13 ups - 22 atts = not calculated
(these numbers cannot be right as vs SRB she had 19 + Rec, 2 faults, 7 contacts and 28 atts for a 60.71 passing %)

Pool C
1. CHI down 2-0 to Japan they won the 5th set 15-11
2. JPN but they have lost 2 matches and they carry those losses forward
3. BEL vs PUR was last match of the 1st round, don’t know why as all other pools had their 1-2 as the last match (BEL won 3-0)
4. AZB dropped to 4th from 3rd when BEL beat PUR to gain 3 points.
5. PUR
6. CUB

Pool D
1. USA Winning in 4 vs RUS was extremely important
2. RUS
3. NED
4. KAZ
5. THA
6. MEX

Two travel/rest days and the next round begins:

Pool E
1. CHI 8
2. ITA 7 (They beat GER 3-1, lost to DOM 2-3, but beat CRO 3-0, thus 7 points)
3. DOM     6 (They beat CRO, GER & ITA in 5 so they only bring those matches into this round, thus 6 points)
4. JPN 5
5. BEL 3
6. CRO 3
7.  AZE 2
8, GER 2

Pool F
1. USA 9
2. BRA 8 (Going 3-2 with TUR was the difference)
3. RUS 6 (loss to USA in 4 was costly)
4.  SBR 5
5. NED 3
6. BUL 3
7. TUR 2
8. KAZ 0




Sept 27, 2014, 1:54pm  ...

 SERBIA    3 - 1   CANADA   

              25 - 7   26 - 28   25 - 21   25 - 15

               Richey Kyla  13 kills + 1 block
               Charuk Lucille 8 kills + 3 blocks

Announcer said that 10,600 at match tonight in Bari. This round is one night away from being over. Italy blowing out Germany in the third set, 21-9 now, just won that one. It's ahead 16-6 in 4th set now. 

In Pool A
Italy must win the match tonight in 4 sets to ensure first place even with a 5 set loss tomorrow to the Dominican Republic. They will be 1/2 in this pool. This would be due to the method that the FIVB uses to rank teams in there pools. 3 pts if you win 3-0 or 3-1 and 0 Pts if you lose but if the match goes 3-2 then the winner only gets 2 points but the loser gets 1 pt.  Germany and Croatia will most likely be 3/4 in the pool and advance but carry losses forward into the next round. 

In Pool B
Tonight Canada lost 3-1 to Serbia. They were blown out in the first set but cane on in the 2nd to win the close set. However, they lost the last two. Tomorrow they play Bulgaria but most likely have no chance to go on unless they win vs Bulgaria and Turkey loses to Cameroons, don't think that will happen in the Turkish match. . First place in the pool comes down to Brazil playing Serbia, tomorrow night. However, right now it is Turkey leading Brazil 2-1 with Brazil ahead in the 4th set. If Turkey wins then no chance for Canada tomorrow. Bulgaria and Turkey for 3/4 in this pool. Canada will finish 5th with their win over the Cameroons.

In Pool C
Russia and USA are both 4 and 0, Netherlands most likely 3rd and KAZ and THA play for the last advancement position.

In Pool D
China sevens assured of 1st with AZ , Pur, JPN and BEL all fighting for the 2nd place with advantage towards Japan who have rebounded well since being upset be AZERBAIJAN.