Poglajen helps Argentina rout Dominican Republic to get back on track after loss to Belgium


Florence, Italy, September 14, 2018 – Argentina regrouped after their loss to Belgium earlier this week to stun the Dominican Republic 3-0 (26-24, 25-15, 25-15) in an eagerly anticipated match at Nelson Mandela Forum in Florence. Cristian Poglajen was the top scorer with 12 points, and he additionally supported his side with a 65% success rate in reception. Tomas Lopez replaced Facundo Conte from the second half of the second set to record 8 points of his own.

Sebastian Solé scored 11 times for Argentina, including six blocks. Opposite Henry Tapia and outside hitter Henry Lopez tried to keep the Caribbean team in contention but to no avail. The other key point was the blocking/defence system with Argentina stuffing their opponents nine times throughout the match.

Surprisingly setter Maximiliano Cavanna substituted Luciano De Cecco in Argentina’s starting six. Argentina had an 8-5 lead in the first set before the Dominican Republic edged ahead at 12-11, thus forcing Julio Velasco to call a timeout. In a short while, two block points turned the tables for Argentina and José Luis Gonzalez scored from the back row for 16-13. The two teams fought point after point, and the Dominican Republic was once again ahead at 20-19. A fast attack by middle blocker Perez and a spike by opposite Tapia seemed to give the Dominican Republic the chance to break away. However, they wasted two set points at 24-22 before Argentina came back strong with four points in a row to take the set 26-24.

The start of the second set was a close one before Argentina raced to an 8-5 lead. Argentina alternated softer and stronger attacks for a 16-10 advantage and soon Poglajen made it 22-14 for the South Americans. Captain De Cecco took to the court to serve at 23-15 and it was a good move by Velasco as his team eventually won the set 25-15.

Despite the attempts of opposite Tapia to help his teammates, Argentina were far superior in the third set as well. After leading 17-6, there was a long rally (22 seconds) which finished with a crosscourt by Poglajen. Slowly but surely, Argentina extended their lead and with another 25-15 win, they sealed their 3-0 victory.