New Zealand win first zonal phase of 2018 World Championship qualifier

 

New Zealand defeated Fiji to advance to the second phase of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Zonal Qualification Tournament

Suva, Fiji, October 29, 2016 – New Zealand advanced to the second phase of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Zonal Qualification Tournament, following their 3-1 (26-24, 23-25, 25-14, 25-20) win over Fiji in the final of the first zonal phase at the Vodafone Arena on Saturday.

The second phase will be held next year in Australia or Iran.

New Zealand captain Ben Glue had a standout performance in the tournament and led his squad offensively by taking most of the scoring workload. Glue was proud of his team’s achievement but also recognized their opponents’ performance in the final. 

“They were really a good team, who were tough to play,” Glue said. 

Middle blocker Giles Black also had a major impact on the games, as he came off the bench and showed a balanced performance with great contribution on blocks, kills and aces.

The atmosphere in Suva was electric, but the visiting New Zealand side was able to silence the home crowd with a strong start. However, Fiji regrouped to take a 19-18 lead after the second technical timeout. From there, both squads worked point for point, until New Zealand clawed ahead and took the first set 26-24.

The second set was another close affair, but Fiji’s offensive weapon, Walesi, was unstoppable to help his team hold their nerve to triumph in the second frame 25-23.

New Zealand showed its athleticism to dominate in the third and fourth sets by putting on pressure on the serve, which made it difficult for Fiji to get their offensive rhythm. 

New Zealand coach Colin Redpath was relieved to come out the victor in Fiji.

“It is never easy to play against Fiji in Fiji,” Redpath said. “I want to congratulate Fiji Volleyball and Oceania Volleyball on a well-run event.”