From Quarterfinals to Finals: U19 Volleyball Championship’s Thrilling Matches

USA women's U19 volleyball team celebrating their victory.

The FIVB Girls’ U19 Volleyball World Championship 2023, hosted in Osijek, Croatia, and Szeged, Hungary, presented us with a captivating series of events. With young and promising talents stepping onto the world stage, we’ve been treated to matches filled with energy, skill, and spirit.

In this recap, we highlight key moments, remarkable performances, and the most exhilarating matches.

Semifinalists Unveiled

Post a one-day respite, the tournament’s quarterfinals took place in Osijek. The results determined the four strong contenders progressing to the semifinals:

  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Türkiye
  • United States

Quarterfinal Showdowns

1. Japan vs. Thailand

In a pulsating encounter against Thailand, Japan secured their semifinal berth through a roller-coaster five-setter.


Top Performers:

  • Japan: Riri Kasai (25 points), Sae Omori (19 points)
  • Thailand: Warisara Seetaloed (26 points), Tanyapron Seeso (20 points)

2. Türkiye vs. Bulgaria

Facing Bulgaria, Türkiye displayed sheer prowess, advancing to the semifinals after four engaging sets.


Top Performers:

  • Türkiye: Beren Yesilirmak (20 points), Eylul Durgun and Liza Safronova (11 points each)
  • Bulgaria: Viktoria Koeva (21 points)

3. Italy vs. Croatia

Down by two sets against hosts Croatia, Italy engineered one of the most memorable comebacks of the tournament.


Top Performers:

  • Italy: Lisa Esposito (26 points), Erika Esposito (18 points), Linda Manfredini (15 points)
  • Croatia: Ana Burilovic (19 points)

4. United States vs. Brazil

Another intense five-setter saw the United States overturn a set disadvantage to outplay Brazil.


Top Performers:

  • USA: Teraya Sigler (29 points), Abigail Vander Wal (23 points)
  • Brazil: Isabella Rocha (16 points), Vittoria Kuehne (13 points)

USA and Türkiye Emerge Victorious: U19 Girls’ Volleyball World Championship 2023 Semifinals Recap

Thursday’s semifinals saw the USA and Türkiye advancing to the championship match of the 2023 FIVB Girls’ U19 Volleyball World Championship held in Osijek, Croatia. These two titans will face off on Friday, 21:00 local time at the Osijek Sports Hall. The bronze match, pitting Italy against Japan, will take place three hours earlier.

A Look at Team USA’s Journey

The USA has always shown promise in this age group. Their track record includes medals from four out of the last five World Championships before the shift to U19 category. Their notable achievements include:

  • Gold in 2019
  • Silver in both 2013 and 2015
  • Bronze in 2021

In their semifinal bout against Italy, the USA team showcased their prowess, defeating the Europeans with a score of 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 20-25, 25-15).

Leading the American side was outside hitter Abigail Vander Wal, who clinched 21 points. Notable mentions include middle blockers Ayden Ames and Favor Anyanwu, each contributing 13 points. On the Italian side, despite the loss, opposite Merit Adigwe stood out with a remarkable 27 points.

Favor Anyanwu expressed her team’s exhilaration post-match:

“We entered as the underdogs, and making it to the finals feels phenomenal. We’re prepared and excited for the upcoming match. Our team shares a bond that allows us to remain stress-free and just enjoy the game.”

Türkiye’s Stellar Performance

In the earlier semifinal, Türkiye displayed an authoritative game against Japan, registering a comprehensive win of 3-0 (25-16, 25-12, 25-19). This victory marked their return to the championship match for the first time since their win in 2011.

USA women's U19 volleyball team celebrating their victory.

Türkiye’s outside hitter Liza Safronova led the scoring with 12 points. Other contributors to the team’s success were Eylul Durgun, Beren Yesilirmak, and Begum Kacmaz, each adding nine points. Despite the loss, Miku Akimoto from Japan topped the match’s scoreboard with 18 points.

Türkiye’s setter Dilay Ozdemir shared her excitement:

“After all these years, it’s surreal to be here. The focus has been on staying grounded throughout, and it has paid off. The eyes are now set on clinching the gold.”

Additional Playoffs Overview

While the limelight was on the semifinalists, other teams too had their moments of glory in Osijek and neighboring Szeged, Hungary.

  • 5th-8th Place Playoffs:
    • Thailand bested Bulgaria: 3-1 (25-16, 25-19, 16-25, 25-18)
    • Croatia edged out Brazil: 3-2 (25-17, 18-25, 22-25, 25-19, 15-11)
  • 9th-12th Place Playoffs:
    • Argentina overcame Poland: 3-2 (19-25, 25-23, 25-21, 21-25, 15-8)
    • China defeated Korea: 3-1 (18-25, 25-17, 25-21, 26-24)
  • 13th-16th Place Playoffs:
    • The Dominican Republic got the better of Egypt: 3-2 (21-25, 25-17, 25-20, 13-25, 15-13)
    • Puerto Rico outplayed Hungary: 3-1 (27-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-23)

For the 17th to 24th slots, results were as follows:

  • Serbia (17th) defeated Mexico: 3-0 (28-26, 25-17, 25-23)
  • Canada (19th) overpowered Peru: 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-21)
  • Germany (21st) outshined Cameroon: 3-0 (25-11, 25-15, 25-17)
  • Chile (23rd) advanced due to a forfeit by Nigeria.

The intensity and passion displayed by these teams have made the U19 Volleyball World Championship 2023 a memorable event for fans worldwide. The championship match between the USA and Türkiye promises to be a thrilling conclusion to this global sports fest.

General Sport Observer Marc Defaou
reviewed by: Marc Defaou (Sport Expert)

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