Argentina (ARG) vs. China (CHN) women - Pool C #6518725

A win over Argentina placed China in the second phase of the U21 World Championship

The list of the eight national teams that remain alive in the race for the title of the 2023 FIVB Women’s U21 Volleyball World Championship was completed on Saturday, when pool play was concluded in Leon and Aguascalientes, and China, Serbia, the United States and hosts Mexico secured the last spots in the second round of the tournament.

The four national teams will join Italy, Brazil, Japan and Türkiye, who had qualified on Friday, in the second round of the event, which will start on Monday. The eight teams that ranked third and fourth in their pools will now play for positions 9th-16th.

The tournament is streamed live on the Volleyball World YouTube channel.

In the second round, Japan, Mexico, China and Serbia will form Pool E, which will be based in Leon. Pool F, hosted in Aguascalientes, will have Italy, Brazil, Türkiye and the United States. The top two teams in each pool will advance to the semifinals of the tournament.

Pool C had both of its spots in the second round still up for grabs on Saturday and China entered the last day of pool play needing to win their match against Argentina in Leon to advance. And that was exactly what the Asians did, beating the South Americans 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-17) and moving forward.

Argentina (ARG) vs. China (CHN) women - Pool C #6517810

Chinese middle blocker Jieya Zeng hits over the Argentinean block

The Chinese victory was facilitated by a great performance from team captain Yushan Zhuang, who led all scorers with 18 points – outside hitter Yifan Wang and opposite Yindi Wang added ten points each. Outside hitter Nicole Perez was Argentina’s main scorer with 13 points.

“Argentina pushed us a lot today, but we stuck together and got the win as a team,” Zhuang remarked. “Our team has been passing well and that’s been important for us. We still weren’t able to show our best game, but we’ll try to do it in the next rounds.”

The victory pushed China to rank first in the pool, above Serbia, who also advanced. The Serbians also depended only on their own efforts to move forward and prevailed in the all-European duel with Poland 3-1 (25-21, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21) with 19 points from opposite Anja Zubic.

**2023 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U21 World Championship: Match Schedule and Results**

Also based in Leon, Pool A had one spot in the second round still available and it was taken by hosts Mexico, who prevailed over Egypt 3-1 (25-22, 25-18, 19-25, 25-15). Outside hitter Alexandra Goris played a major role in the Mexican victory, delivering 13 points, two more than captain Aimé Topete. Outside hitter Toqaallah Eassa was the main Egyptian scorer with nine points.

“I think our service was really strong the entire time,” Goris said. “And our attitude was a big part of our game. We played in the same way we always play and that helped us take this win home. It was a very important result because now we are among the top eight teams and that's something Mexico hadn't been able to do for a long time. It means a lot to us. The next round will be very tough, but we have what it takes to overcome it and if we have the courage to do it, we have a good chance.”

On the other match of the day, Japan took Thailand down 3-0 (25-13, 25-23, 25-18) and confirmed the top spot in the pool with three victories. Outside hitters Amika Saiki and Megumi Fukazawa led the Japanese victory with 15 and 12 points, respectively.

Pool D also had a direct encounter between the two contenders for a spot in the next round and the United States came from behind against the Netherlands to take a 3-1 (21-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-17) victory and claim that berth. The Most Valuable Player of the U19 World Championship, outside hitter Abigail Vander Wal had a match-high 19 points, six more than middle blocker Taylor Harvey.

Later, Türkiye, who were already qualified, completed their impeccable pool play campaign with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-18) win over Cuba to finish in first place. Left-handed opposite Beren Yesilirmak led the Turkish offense with 15 points.

Pool B already had Italy and Brazil as the two qualified teams ahead of the start of the day and the two sides met for the first place – the Europeans prevailed 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-18) and took it, helped by 22 points from opposite Anna Adelusi and 18 from outside hitter Stella Nervini. Middle blocker Luzia Nezzo and outside hitter Aline Segato tallied 13 points each for Brazil.

Italy (ITA) vs. Brazil (BRA) women - Pool B #6514332

Italian players celebrate a point against Brazil

The other match of the pool saw the Dominican Republic claim their first victory in the tournament, a 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-20) sweep of Tunisia. The Caribbean benefited from 14 points from outside hitter Katielle Vargas and 13 from middle blocker Florangel Contreras, while captain Dhouha Engazou was the only Tunisian player to reach double digits in scoring, with 13.

All teams will have a day off before the start of the second round, which will go on from Monday to Wednesday. The semifinals will be played on Friday and the medal matches on Saturday.

Quick links:
FIVB Volleyball Women's U21 World Championship
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