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Five star Netherlands strut into second round

Five star Netherlands strut into second round
Yokohama, Japan, October 4, 2018 - Lonneke Slöetjes kept the Netherlands perfect at the close of the Pool A action at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship on Thursday, claiming 12 points as they won for the fifth straight match, 3-0 (25-19, 25-14, 25-16) against Mexico.

Juliet Lohuis and Anne Buijs were also regulars on the board for the Netherlands, putting up 11 points apiece

Mexico’s challenge was led by Andrea Rangel and Samantha Bricio, who each contributed 13 points, with five of Bricio’s coming from aces.

Heading into this match the Netherlands and Mexico had squared off three times at world major level tournaments - all at the World Championship - with Mexico emerging victorious from two of those encounters. From the outset it was clear the Netherlands were determined to square things up, moving into the second technical time out 16-14 ahead and extending that lead to 20-16 after a Slöetjes block. Jamie Morrison’s side maintained control from that point on, moving onto set point after a Britt Bongaerts block before Slöetjes wrapped things up. 

Mexico started the second set brightly off the back of three consecutive Bricio aces which put them 6-4 ahead, but Netherlands coach Morrison called a time out after the third of those and Bricio then fouled on her next serve to allow the Netherlands to regain some momentum. Lohuis then showed that anything Bricio could do she could do better by serving up an incredible five consecutive aces, before another unreturned service, this time from Bongaerts, delivered the second set 25-14.
Mexico had won four sets from their opening four games at the 2018 World Championship - one more than in their last three World Championships combined - and they knew any more they could add here would strengthen their chances of progressing to the second round. By this point the Netherlands had built up a head of steam though, and off the back of seven points from Buijs, including three blocks, they took the third set 25-16.

This marks the first time Netherlands have started a World Championship campaign with five successive victories, and they will now travel to Nagoya to participate in Pool E. Mexico face an anxious wait to see if they will join them, with their fate dependent upon the result of the Cameroon-Argentina match to be played later Thursday.

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