WARSAW, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- Serbia became the first team to have finished the opening stage undefeated at the 2022 FIVB Women's World Championship as the reigning champions beat the United States 25-20, 25-23, 25-13 in Lodz, Poland on Saturday.
Daniele Santarelli's team moved into the next round with a perfect record of five wins and 14 points. The United States finished second in Pool C with two points behind.
It was a blocking efficiency that turned out to be crucial for Serbia, as they earned 13 points in that way with just one effective block by the Americans.
The first set was very tight but in the decisive moment Serbia turned the pace to score four consecutive points. Middle blocker Jovana Stevanovic showed great quality as she made two stunning blocks and added one through a powerful spike. Serbian captain Tijana Boskovic, who delivered a match-high 25 points, made a mistake in the service area, but then she closed the set with a good attack to make it 25-20.
Karch Kiraly's players couldn't respond as Boskovic was unstoppable for them and her teammates Stevanovic and Sara Lozo poured in eight points each. Outside hitter Kara Bajema scored six points for the Americans, but her good performance wasn't enough to level the result as Serbia won the second set 25-23 after another kill by Boskovic.
Serbia took full control from the early stage of the third set as they just allowed the opponents to score 13 points.
"The plan is always to try to keep all the hitters involved and with our passing being so good today, I had great options to choose from pretty much the entire time. It was a tough match, but we were able to show our best game. I hope it continues this way and we can win a medal," said the Serbian setter Bojana Drca.
In other Pool C matches played in Lodz on Saturday, Bulgaria crushed Kazakhstan 3-0, while Canada outplayed Germany 3-2. Canada and Germany placed third and fourth respectively to qualify for the next phase.
Poland, co-hosts of the tournament, suffered their second loss in a row as they lost to Türkiye 3-2 in Pool B. Magdalena Stysiak scored 31 for Poland, while Ebrar Karakurt was the best scorer of Türkiye with 22 points. Both teams advanced into the next round from Pool B along with Thailand and the Dominican Republic.