Slovenia National Team Enters the Elite Division of World Volleyball

Slovenia national volleyball team, the acting vice-champion of Europe, entered the Elite Division (12 world’s best teams), having won the tournament of the Second League. In the finals, Slovenia defeated Japan with a score of 3:0. Mitja Gasparini scored 15 points, Klemen Čebulj—13, Alen Pajenk and Tine Urnaut—11. Once again, Dejan Vinčić made perfect serves.

In future, the volleyball players will have a small rest, after which they will start preparations for the European Championship in Poland, where the Slovenian team will defend the title of vice-champion.

Slobodan Kovač’s trainees won all periods in the decisive matches with Holland and Japan. In total, in the World League Second Division tournament, the Slovenia national volleyball team won nine matches and got a ticket to the Elite Division, but due to possible changes in the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB), this issue remains open.

At the beginning of the final match, the Japanese managed to lead the score (2:0), but thanks to the efforts of Urnaut and Vinčić, Slovenia seized the initiative and advanced 4:2. Then the Slobodan Kovač’s team got on a roll and left for the first break with the score 8:4. The first serve by the Slovenes was effective, the players worked well under the net and the score gap gradually increased to 11:5 and before the second break, it reached 16:8.

In the second period, the Japanese again succeeded in the opening spurt 2:0, but Slovenia once again managed to level the game. The Slovenes left for the first break with the score 8:6, and before the second break, the minimum gap was kept at 16:14. Subsequently, the Japanese resisted stubbornly and even managed to level the score (22:22). However, the end of the period remained with the Slovenes—25:22.

The beginning of the third period remained as well with the Slovenes. They had an opening spurt of “+3”. Afterwards, the Japanese only managed to level the score with 4:4, but they could not change the situation. Slovenia came forward, and then strengthened the advantage at 11:7. The Japan’s coaching staff took a 30-second timeout, but that did not help. Good blocks and aggressive attack, in which Gasparini played successfully, allowed Slovenia first to reach a gap of 6 points and then to increase the score to 21:13 thanks to an ace by Vinčić and productive serves by Vinčić and Pajenk. The ending of the meeting brought no surprises, and the Slovenes won 25:17. The hero of the match, Gasparini, drove the nail to the Japanese’ head after the Vinčić’s serve.

In the match for the third place, Australia took the lead over Holland 3:0. This year, the Elite Division of the World League will include France, Brazil, Serbia, Russia, Canada, USA, Belgium, Poland, Bulgaria, Argentina, Iran, and Italy.

Second Division of the World League, final tournament, finals:

Slovenia – Japan: 3:0

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Slovenia: Štern, Pajenk 11, Kozamernik 1, Šket, Gasparini 15, Kök, Vinčić 8, Štalekar, Koncilja 2, Kovačič, Toman, Ropret, Urnaut 11, Čebulj 13.

Japan: Fukacu, Jamauči 10, Dekita, Janagida 4, Kurijama, Išikava 14, Ri 5, Suzuki, Asano, Fudži, Ide, Curuda, Otake 6.

Match for the third place:

Australia — Holland: 3:0