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Netherlands win first World Grand Prix match against Kazakhstan

Netherlands' blocking game proved too strong for Kazakhstan
Almaty, Kazakhstan, August 16, 2013 - In the first ever World Grand Prix encounter between the teams, hosts Kazakhstan couldn't register a home win as Netherlands claimed a 3-0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-16) victory in Friday's pool K match.

Netherlands prevailed in the match with their blocking, taking 10 points from tight net defence, while steady serving added another five points to their total. Netherlands' Quinta Steenbergen emerged as the top scorer for the match, posting a total of 11 points.

The home side started strong with a 3-0 lead, unleashing power in their attacks, but Netherlands played as they have promised, with solid floor defence and retaliated with strong spikes. Kazakhstan enjoyed an 8-5 advantage at the first technical time-out, but later committed errors from the floor and the service, while Netherlands became more aggressive in offence.

Netherlands captain Maret Grothues and hitter Anne Buijs were prominent in attack as the visitors took a 16-14 lead at the second technical time-out, but Kazakhstan revved up their offence and succeeded on combination plays anchored by Sana Jarlagassova.

Despite the fightback, Judith Pietersen's attacking improved for Netherlands and earned them the opening set 25-23.

Kazakhstan committed attacking and service errors which gave their opponents the 8-4 lead at the first technical time-out of the second set, and misfires continued to bother the home side's hitters, while Netherlands' defenders stepped up their blocking.

Setter Femke Stoltenborg enabled a strong middle for the Netherlands, with quick hits by Robin De Kruijf and Steenbergen and Kazakhstan turned ineffective in their floor defence, giving a 16-7 lead to their visitors.

Kazakhstan fought back with Irina Shenberger charging from the wing and Olga Nassedkina attacking from the middle, but couldn't recover the deficit and lost the second set 25-14 to trail the match 2-0.

Defence was nowhere to be found from Kazakhstan in the third set as they struggled to respond to Netherlands' hitting. Kazakhstan's Alena Omelchenko tried to break the visitors' scoring rampage by posting two points, but her team-mates were unable to step up on much-needed defence.

Netherlands hitters Manon Flier and Grothues sustained scoring from both wings and, even though Kazakhstan tried to stage a rally in the closing plays of the third set, the gap the Netherlands had set up was too big.

The visitors took the final set 25-16 for a 3-0 win for their second World Grand Prix win in a row and their first back-to-back victories in the tournament since 2010.

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