Gabriela Kopacova spikes against Bulgaria on Friday
San Juan, Puerto Rico, July 14, 2017 – The Czech Republic won a see-saw battle against Bulgaria in a Group 2 FIVB World Grand Prix match on Friday, defeating their European rivals 3-2 (25-27, 25-20, 12-25, 25-14, 15-9).
The win means the Czechs are undefeated in this year’s competition, while Bulgaria dropped to 2-2. It was Bulgaria’s third five-set match in their four games so far.
Gabriela Kopacova came off the bench to score 11 points for the Czechs and she was matched by teammate Michaela Mlejnkova who started all five sets. Bulgaria were led by Dobriana Rabadzhieva with 20 points, while teammates Gergana Dimitrova and Mrioslava Paskova each had 16. The Czechs used all their 14 players, while the Bulgarians made no substitutions at all.
The first set gave an indication of just how close the match would be with the Bulgarians prevailing 27-25. In the second set, the Czechs were ahead at the first technical timeout and were able to maintain their lead to the end of the set. But the next two sets were completely one-sided.
The Czechs lost all their momentum in the third set, while Bulgaria dominated the fourth. In the tiebreaker, it was all-square at 7-7 before the Czechs once again moved up a gear to break away to 10-7 before finishing off the match with a strong final spurt.