France reaching out to finals with shutout against Belgium


Nancy, France, July 1, 2016 - Earvin Ngapeth is back with a shining performance for France as his team shut out Belgium to take revenge for that 2-3 loss on June 19 in Sydney. The French opened their FIVB Volleyball World League 2016 Group 1 tournament in Nancy with a 3-0 (25-19, 28-26, 25-20) victory over their neighbour.

Earven Ngapeth and Belgium's Sam Deroo each scored 2 blocks and 13 spikes to top the charts of the match. Antonin Rouzier contributed another 13 to France's success.

This was the third World League match between these two sides with the head-to-head record now at 2-1 victories in favour of France.

It was at 15-18 in the second set when Earvin Ngapeth's spectacular volleyball finally appeared. While Belgians were totally in control of the set, the magic action signed "Le Roi" Ngapeth just put them deep down. After an unexpected save from Jenia Grebennikov, the French outside spiker killed the point with a modest two-hand set across the hands of impressive Belgium blockers. So exciting for the audience, but so disappointing for the Red Dragons!
In front of an eager and adumbrating French audience, Les Bleus started the game dominating Belgium. Despite a well-known Belgium block, Laurent Tillie’s men kept a perfect reception level (30/49) that allowed Benjamin Toniutti to distribute the sets as he wanted. Both French spikers, Antonin Rouzier and Earvin Ngapeth, were in top shape and found solutions in front of the wall. On the back line, the French were obviously able to handle the offensive intentions of the Belgian back-row spikers with 33 perfect digs (including 8 for Benjamin Toniutti and 8 for Earvin Ngapeth) against only 19 for the Red Dragons.

Conducted by their transcendent captain Sam Deroo, Dominique Maeyens’ men were back in the game during the second set, taking advantage of the numerous French offensive mistakes. During the whole second set, Les Bleus suffered from efficient Belgian serves (7 aces for Belgium against only 4 for France) and constant Belgian block level. Pushed by their enthusiastic supporters, France performed an impressive climb from 12-17 to 28-26!

The last set was a formality for Benjamin Toniutti and partners, helped by the efficient middle blockers Kevin Le Roux and Nicolas Le Goff, respectively with 7 and 5 winning spikes, France just flew above the Belgian wall and above the third set - 25-20 - an important victory that brings Laurent Tillie’s team close to qualification for the Final Six...


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