China, Netherlands had second straight set victory at Women's Volleyball World Cup
YOKOHAMA, Japan - China and the Netherlands both recorded their second 3-0 victory over their respective opponents to kick their FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup off to a good start. Russia edged host nation Japan 3-2 in a five-set thriller to wrap up Matchday 2 here on Sunday.
The defending champion sent a completely different starting lineup to face Cameroon on Sunday and the Chinese young players managed to nail a 25-18, 25-14, 25-19 win despite ups and downs. 19-year-old Li Yingying was the shining star of the match, especially in the third set in which the defending champions recovered a 4-11 deficit to claim the victory.
"We decided to send our young players on the court to give them chances to get accustomed to the arena and international games. We had some fluctuations during the match and we were slow in reading the opponents' tactics," commented Chinese head coach Lang Ping, who also praised Li for being more stable on the court than at the World Championship last year.
The win lifted China to second place on the table, behind the Netherlands on point quotient disadvantage. The Dutch defeated Kenya 25-12, 25-19, 25-17 for its second straight-set win at the tournament to lead the 12 participating teams.
The United States was also victorious against a young Serbian squad, recovering from one set down to defeat the world champion 25-23, 25-17, 25-16, 25-15. Team USA head coach Karch Kiraly gave credit to the opponent and his opposite spiker Karsta Lowe, who was sent on in the second set and pocket 19 points.
"We approached this match knowing it would be very difficult. They beat us in the first set, but the team did a nice job adjusting the block and defense, and we are happy with the result. Karsta Lowe came in and gave us some great energy today and some great power, and she helped us change the match after we lost the first set."
"We couldn't do our best because we were very tired from yesterday's match against Brazil. In my personal opinion, I think the USA could take first place in this World Cup. Our team has a few injured players and some who are very tired from the European Championship, so I'm satisfied to win the first set against the very strong USA team. We just need to keep our focus in games like we did yesterday and as we did in the first set today," Serbia coach Aleksandar Vladisavljev responded to the second loss.
The home fans had a bitter-sweet night as Japan lost 3-2 to Russia in a brilliant five-set showdown on Sunday night.
Nataliya Goncharova scored 31 points for Russia's 25-11, 23-25, 25-27, 25-19, 15-7 win while Irina Koroleva added 21. Yuki Ishii led the Japanese team with 27 points.
Shaking off a sluggish start, the host nation pulled one back and Ishii's super spike clinched a hard-fought 27-25 win for the Asian Championship winner in the third set after wasting three set points.
Russian spikers regained their form in the fourth set and forced a decider, in which they shattered the Japanese defense with an 8-2 opening and safely claim the 15-7 victory.
Elsewhere, powerhouse Brazil breezed past Argentina 25-17, 25-19, 25-16 for a 2-0 record at the World Cup with clear domination on the net, as the two-time Olympic champions had 17 successful blocks compared to seven on the Argentine side.
The Dominican Republic had a 25-17, 24-26, 25-23, 25-23 victory over South Korea thanks to its on-fire wing spiker Elizabeth Martinez, who scored game-high 27 points. Kim Yeon-koung, the best scorer of the last World Cup, had 19 points and Kim Hee-jin pocket 20, yet not enough for the 2018 Asian Games champion to harvest a win at the tournament.
"I am happy with the win. They are an aggressive team with a strong attack and serve. They caught us in the second set, but we regained our rhythm in the third set. We will prepare for the next match now. We did target Kim Yeon-koung with our serves today so that she could focus less on attacks," said coach of the Pan American Games champion Marcos Kwiek.
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