Czech Republic rules FIVB Women’s Challenger Cup

Czech Republic rules FIVB Women’s Challenger Cup
SunStar Volleyball

Czech Republic bounced back from a third-set loss to beat Puerto Rico, 25-23, 25-20, 18-25, 25-18, in the final of the FIVB Women’s Challenger Cup at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium on Sunday.

Opposite Gabriela Orvosova scored eight points in the fourth set and Helena Havelkova added five as the Czechs wrapped up the match in two hours.

The 6-foot-3 Orvosova finished with 25 points, 23 on attacks, while team captain Michaela Mlejnkova chipped in 18 points.

“It’s unbelievable. We’re so happy and proud of our team. I’m speechless,” said Orvosova, who plays for Polish club KV Developres Rzeszow.

Havelkova had nine attacks and three blocks and middleblocker Magdalena Jehlarova added 11 points.

Aside from winning the gold medal, the Czech Republic also earned a ticket to the 2025 Volleyball Nations League (VNL).

“It’s time to celebrate our success. I believe in this tournament, we’re the better team and we deserve to win but the VNL is another level,” said Greek head coach Ioannis Athanasopoulos.

“Fans here are unbelievable right from (the) first moment we arrived at the airport. Volleyball is huge over here and I didn’t know that. It’s a great experience for our team. From the entire Czech national team, we’re really thankful,” he added.

Czech Republic downed Argentina, 25-15, 25-22, 25-16, in the quarterfinal, and Vietnam, 25-19, 25-14, 25-19, in the Final Four.

Opposite Grace Mar Lopez paced Puerto Rico with 22 attacks and one ace. Outside hitter Paola Nicole Santiago produced 18 points, 16 on attacks, while Stephanie Rivera had nine attacks and three blocks.

Lopez and Santiago scored eight points each while Rivera added four when the Puerto Ricans claimed the third set. / PNA

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