Harbin, North China, May 22, 2004 -- World Cup champions China was extended to a five-set match to defeat Cuba to win the three-nation women's Volleyball tournament here Saturday evening.
China outscored the Cubans 25-14, 23-25, 25-22, 19-25 and 15-11 in the final after both sides dominated their matches against European champions Poland in the previous two days.
From the very beginning in the first set, the Chinese women established their early lead 16-8 through blitz attacks and fierce attacks as the Cubans committed a string of unforced service errors in the set.
The second set evolved into a see-saw battle as both sides exploited their tactics to the best before Cuba win the set 25-23 with a close-net spike.
To gear up to their World Grand Prix and Olympic campaign, the Chinese women varified their attacks with either cross-line or straight attacks in the third set, which they won 25-22 together with cute drop shots after Ruiz Luaces Yumillka provided the visitors with the strong weaponry.
However, the Cubans refused to acknowledge their weakness and managed to force the tiebreaker by winning the fourth 25-19, after their Chinese peers awarded them many service points.
In the deciding set, the Chinese women proved to be more mature and calm to live up to their World Cup crown, winning the set and the match 15-11 through trademark teamwork.