Florence, Italy, September 12, 2018 - Slovenia started out in Pool A with a great team performance that put a limit to the dreams of the Dominican Republic with a four set victory 3-1 (22-25, 25-13, 25-13, 25-17).
The Europeans showed their strength after a first set played below their own expectations as both coach Slobodan Kovac and captain Tine Urnaut confirmed after the match.
Urnaut and Mitja Gasperini were on top form and led their companions with a personal performance of respectively 18 and 17 points each. On the other side of the net, Henry Antonio Lopez Capellan scored a total of 12 points for the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic started strong in the first set and the key point was after a technical timeout when counter-attacks led by Elvis Dalsires Contrera De Los Santos and 24-year-old Lopez gave the Dominican Republic a three and four point break, a gap that Slovenia were unable to fill.
In spite of a great serve by Jan Kozamernik who scored the point at 21-23 that seemed to give Slovenia one more chance, the set came to a positive end for the Caribbeans 25-22.
The second and third sets were monologues by Slovenia. Slovenia started well and then a couple of spikes that touched the opponents' blocks helped coach Kovac’s team to move ahead. Four serves in a row by Klemen Cebulj were the last hit to the hopes of the Dominican Republic. Urnaut with a total of ten points was the top scorer after the second set. The third set followed the same pattern for an identical score of 25-13 in favour of the Slovenians.
It seemed to be the same story in the final set. Slovenia rushed away at the start, supported by a very good reception. Italy's northeastern neighbours took a good advantage also from a great coverage by blockers and spikers. An attempt at a comeback by the Dominican Republic (9-13) was stopped by a couple of good plays by Urnaut, and then Gasperini scored twice from serves. After 1 hour and 45 minutes, Slovenia won the final set 25-17.