Nikolay Nikolov (centre) makes up part of the Bulgarian wall up against Canada's Gavin Schmitt at the Botevgrad Arena
Botevgrad, Bulgaria, May 31, 2015 – Bulgaria earn a much needed win, turning their match around against previously unbeaten Canada 3-2 (21-25, 23-25, 25-23, 25-14, 15-9) on Sunday evening at the Botevgrad Arena.
Canada began quickly, but four unforced errors in the early stages of the first set helped Bulgaria gain a handle and the score remained even up to 9-9. John Perrin and Gavin Schmitt brought Canada ahead giving them a three point advantage entering the second technical timeout. Canada making only one more unforced error in the first against Bulgaria’s ten, closed the set 25-21.
Bulgaria took the lead in the second with a couple of spikes from captain Todor Aleksiev and Vladimir Nikolov assisting in the Bulgarian advantage. A powerful Schmitt spike edged Canada ahead at 8-7, but was not enough to counteract fluctuations in Canada’s defence and Bulgaria continued ahead. Two time-outs for Glenn Hoag in the space of two minutes, followed by two more unforced Bulgarian errors brought Canada back into the set at 22-22. Serving by Toonije Van Lankvelt earned another two points with a final Schmitt kill turning the set around in Canada’s favour.
Bulgaria came out strongly again in the third, producing more block and serve points than Canada. The home team kept the lead with five unforced errors on serve by both teams lowering the difference to 24-23, but Vladimir Nikolov kept hopes alive with a kill for the set. The Bulgarian team then stormed ahead in the fourth, shaking Canada’s calmness and sending the match into the tie-break with an impressive 25-14.
Bulgaria then ran away with the final set. Two blocks by Viktor Yosifov, one by Aleksiev and a spike by Aleksiev left Canada 5-0 down. The rhythm brought by Lubomir Agontsev helped stabilise the team and another two Aleksiev spikes closed the match for Bulgaria’s first victory.
Follow the match text commentary here