A gutsy Cambodia bounced back from the loss of the first set to win a thrilling five-set contest over Sri Lanka yesterday in the second of their 2011 WOVD Standing Volleyball World Cup group games at the indoor hall of Olympic Stadium yesterday
The 2007 bronze medalists found themselves in a spot of bother after relative newcomers Sri Lanka made a splendid start. But the home side wrested the initiative midway through the second set to complete an 18-25, 25-19, 25-16, 17-25, 15-12 victory in a match lasting close to two hours.
Cambodia share the top spot in the league table with reigning champions Germany, who scored a convincing 25-17, 25-15, 25-21 win over arch-rivals Slovakia earlier in the day.
With towering spikers Robert Kampczyk and Olaf Hansel dominating the net play, Germany had little difficulty in controlling the tempo and dictating the pace of the rallies.
Slovakia staged a brief fightback in the early stages of the third set when they led 7-2, but Germany quickly neutralised the lead and closed out the match untroubled.
Germany’s main setter Torben Schiewe, who was hospitalised shortly after arriving in Phnom Penh last week for the flare up of a kidney problem, was back on court to bolster the middle of the pack with some splendid lay ups.
“He played only one set against Kazakhstan [on Saturday], but today he played all three and he is in good shape. It is a big relief for us,” coach Athanasios Papageorgiou told The Post after the match.
“They made it easy for us,” he said, adding that today’s clash with hosts Cambodia would be a “tough match”.
Slovakian coach Helena Hankova said they had not enjoyed smooth running in their game, laying the blame on the open exits around the playing arena which led to drafty conditions on court.
“We are not used to these winds and ball control was very difficult. Maybe in the next couple of days we will get used to this,” she said.
While admitting that the unpredictable airflow was a factor, the German coach noted that it was the same for both sides. “You could see a lot of serves went long on both sides. I told my players to control the serves and keep them short. You have to adjust to the conditions because the conditions won’t adjust to you,” he said.
Yesterday’s three-match schedule commenced with Kazakhstan scoring a 25-7, 25-20, 25-11 victory over debutants Laos.
Cambodia outclass Laos
On Saturday, Cambodia launched their bid for a maiden triumph in the WOVD World Cup with an effortless 25-2, 25-12, 25-7 victory over debutants Laos. The home side’s superior power-play left their neighbours in a state of utter despair as, cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd, they dominated their rivals from the word go.
In the day’s second fixture, three-time World Cup winners Germany were stretched to their fullest by a highly charged Kazakhstan, who went down fighting 19-25, 14-25, 25-19.
Shaking off their travel weariness, the Kazakh team, who had arrived in Phnom Penh barely 24 hours before this contest, put up a stout hearted show with the court-side humidity touching as high as 85 per cent.
There were moments of anguish for the holders in the first and the third sets, but their vast experience and coach Papa’s timeout pep talks eventually hauled the side to victory.
The 2003 champions Slovakia, meanwhile, were given an unexpected fright by Sri Lanka in a match that went the full distance. The first four sets were close, with two decided on extra points, as Sri Lanka matched the higher ranked Slovaks spike for spike and block for block.
With the outcome of the match hanging in balance, the climax saw Slovakia nose ahead in a tense decider to wrap up a 25-17, 26-28, 26-24, 22-25, 15-12 victory.
Earlier on Saturday, Bun Rany, the wife of Prime Minister Hun Sen, inaugurated the 2011 edition in the presence of World Volleyball for Disabled President Dr Hossam Eldin Mostafa of Egypt and other dignitaries at a colourful and well attended opening ceremony.
Today’s World Cup schedule
- Slovakia v Kazakhstan – 10am
- Laos v Sri Lanka – 2:30pm
- Cambodia v Germany – 6pm