Matera, Italy, July 28 - China beat the United States in straight sets for their opening victory in the final round competition of the women’s volleyball 2003 World Grand Prix.
The Chinese girls ended their two-game losing streak at the end of the preliminary stage with the 25-21, 26-24 and 28-26 victory in one hour and 19 minutes.
“Our offensive tactics were successful,” China head coach Chen Zhonghe said at the press conference.
“We also did a good job in defense and blocking, and we grasped the chance at the crucial points,” he added.
China, runners-up to Russia in last year's Grand Prix Finals, came out strongly
as they led all the way to take the first set 25-21.
The United Stated built a 13-8 lead after the match resumed but China steadily
pulled back to tie it 24-24. After Wang Lina smashed home a ball to give China
an edge, Tayyba Haneef of the United States drove la spike long to surrender the
The third set was hotly contested and the Americans, who finished top of
preliminary group A with a 4-1 record, withstood four match points with hard
defense. However, Chinese spiker Yang Hao drove a ball hard into an American
player to secure the victory for China.
"We played a bad game," the United States' Japanese coach Yoshida Toshiaki
said. "We made the mistakes at crucial points."
“China got their offense going and we can not stop No. 4 and No. 8 of China,” he added.
Yang finished with 15 points and Liu Yanan (No. 4) added 12 for China.
The Chinese girls converted on 51% of their attack opportunities, compared with
47% of the United States.