The Women’s World Volleyball Grand Prix 2015, the Volleyball Federation’s premier annual competition is currently ongoing with 12 teams taking part in Group 1, 8-teams in Group 2 and 8-teams in Group 3; with 28 teams in total it is the largest number of teams to be included in the competition.
For the preliminary rounds, the teams in the top group (Group-1) are split into Pools A-I with 4-teams per Pool and matches spilt into three rounds. Round 1 matches for Pools A, B and C took place on July 3-5, the Round 2 matches (Pools D, E and F) were completed on July 10 to -12 and Round 3 matches for Pools G, H and I take place on July 16-18.
The third round matches are in Catania, Sicily (Pool G), Hong Kong (Pool H), Stuttgart, Germany (Pool I).
The top 6 teams from the preliminary rounds and will play in the Final series to take place in Omaha, Nebraska, USA from July 22 to July 26. Each round of the competition is in round-robin format with all teams playing others in their group. So, for the Preliminary rounds with four teams per Pool, each team plays 3 times. For the Final Round each team will play 5-matches.
Matches are “best of 5 sets’ and the scoring system is 3-points for 3/0 and 3/1 wins but if the final result is 3/2 the winner gets 2-points and the loser gets 1-point. Teams on the same number of points are separated based on the ratio of games won divided by Games lost and if still level, then on points won to points lost.
The top 6 teams after the first two rounds were Brazil (18-points), China (18-point), USA (17-points) Italy (11-points), Russia (11-points) and Japan (10-points). Round-3 will be particularly important to Thailand and Germany who were on 8 and 6-points respectively after Round 2 as they try to secure a top 6 place.
The groupings for Round-3
The Groupings for round 3 are:
• China, Japan, Thailand and USA – (Group H) played in Hong Kong
• Turkey, Serbia, Germany and Dominican Republic – (Group I): played in Stuttgart
• Russia, Brazil, Italy and Belgium – (Group G): played in Catania, Italy.
Matches on Thursday, July 16, 2015
In the first matches of Round 3 of the Preliminary competition in Pool H at the Hong Kong Coliseum, USA beat Japan by 3 sets to nil (25:23, 25:22, 26:24) and China defeated Thailand by the same margin (25:18, 25:14, 27:25).
In Pool G in Catania: Brazil beat Russia 3-0 and Italy beat Belgium 3-0 in Pool I in Stuttgart: Germany beat Dominican Republic 3-0 and Serbia beat Turkey 3-0. With these results the standings now advance to:-
1. Brazil – 21points
2. China – 21 points
3. USA – 20 points
4. Italy – 14 points
5. Russia – 11 points
6. Japan – 10 points
7. Germany – 9 points
8. Serbia – 9 points
9. Thailand – 8 points
10. Belgium – 3 points
11. Turkey – 0 points
12. Dominican Republic – 0 points
The two remaining matches for each team in the Preliminary competition will take place tomorrow Friday July 17 and Saturday July 18. In Group H, Japan takes on Thailand and USA plays China the latter of which is expected to be the highlight match of the Group H matches. However, it looks increasingly like the Japan match against Thailand will be important for Finals qualification.
The following matches are scheduled on Friday, July 17
In Hong Kong, Thailand play USA and China play Japan. Thailand and Japan will find it difficult to progress their scores.
In Stuttgart, Germany will play Turkey and Dominican Republic will meet Serbia; and in Catania, Brazil meets Belgium and Italy plays Russia. So on current form, there are good opportunities for Italy, Russia, Germany and Serbia to extend their points totals in these games. Japan could drop out of the top six teams after tonight’s games.
Important matches on the final night, Saturday July 18, to book a place in the top 6 look like being, Germany against Serbia in Stuttgart, and Japan against Thailand in Hong Kong.
Matches Scheduled on Saturday, July 18
In Hong Kong: Japan vs Thailand, and China vs USA. In Stuttgart: Dominican Republic vs Turkey and Serbia vs Germany, and in Catania: Belgium vs Russia and Italy vs Brazil.