China defeat Netherlands 3-1, extending perfect record to nine wins at Women's Volleyball World Cup
With two more matches to go, China remained unbeaten after defeating the Netherlands 3-1 here on Friday for their ninth consecutive win at the FIVB Women's Volleyball World Cup.
Zhu Ting had 22 points in the 25-19, 25-16, 21-25, 25-19 victory, 20 out of 35 spike attempts. Yuan Xinyue and Zhang Changning added 16 and 15 respectively. Lonneke Sloetjes scored game-high 24 points for the Netherlands.
The defending champions took a strong start 5-1 with three consecutive kill blocks from Gong Xiangyu, Yan Ni and Zhang, which forced the Netherlands to an early timeout. China spurred another 5-0 run with fast plays by Yan and Yuan Xinyue after leading by 5-3 but the Dutchwomen returned a four-point winning streak to keep the score close. Both sides exchanged good attacks and captain Zhu spearheaded China to maintain the advantage and wrapped up the first set 25-19 with a thunderous spike.
The second set saw the two teams tied all the way to 7-7 as Sloetjes fired up the Netherlands while Gong and Yuan contributed points for China. However, a sudden 8-0 sprint initiated by spikes and a dink from Zhu thereafter stunned the world No. 7 team and China comfortably took a two-set lead by 25-16.
The match turned gruelling in the third set as the Netherlands put up better performance on offense and defense ends, which in turn confined the Chinese attackers. Trailing from 16-17, China sent on young spiker Li Yingying, but only to see the Netherlands score a 6-1 run for a 23-17 advantage and pulled one set back 25-21 on Li's service error.
Sloetjes was still sharp joined by Juliet Lohuis and Laura Dijkema to put the Netherlands 8-6 ahead into the technical timeout in the fourth set while Zhu and Yuan combined for China's first six points. After the Rio 2016 champions caught up 12-12, Zhang stood out with five points from spikes and kill blocks, giving China's a 8-2 run for the 20-14 lead and a service error by Britt Bongaerts granted China the victory 25-19.
China will play world champions Serbia, which dispatched a young squad for the tournament, on Saturday.