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Sloetjes puts on show as Netherlands charge back to beat USA 3-2

 
Nagoya, Japan, October 15, 2018 - Lonneke Sloetjes scored a match-high 38 points as the Netherlands stormed back to beat the United States 3-2 (30-32, 15-25, 25-22, 25-15, 15-9) in the third round at the FIVB Women's World Championship on Monday.

Celeste Plak added 16 points and Yvon Belien 10 in the victory.

Michelle Bartsch-Hackley led USA with 17 in the loss.

The Netherlands entered the match with an 8-1 record, while USA had 7-3.

The contest was a see-saw with huge swings in momentum. At one point it looked like USA might be on the way to a three-set win, before the pendulum swung back to the Dutch in the third set.

USA's defense could not contend with the Dutch attack in the final two sets after the match turned midway through the third set.

The Dutch relied on Sloetjes for their first victory over USA in a major world competition since 2007.

The American side was unable to regain their level of the first two sets after losing the third, becoming porous on defense and making unforced errors.

The Dutch came out aggressively on serve and attack from the outset. They appeared on their way to taking the first set, before USA charged back with improvement on offense and defense. 

A back attack by Anne Buijs saw the Netherlands move out to a 6-2 in the opening set. The lead ballooned to 12-5 and USA took a timeout. The Dutch kept the pressure on and led 16-8 at the second TTO. USA pulled within four at 18-14 on a block by Rachael Adams. Celeste Plak ended a long rally with a spike that was blocked out and the Netherlands lead was 20-15. USA kept battling to cut the deficit to one at 24-23 on a spike by Karsta Lowe. A Sloetjes spike went long and the score was even at 24-24. USA gained a set point at 25-24 on a net violation. Sloetjes then equalized it at 25-25 with a flying spike. The side fought back and forth with USA taking the set 32-30 on a block. Sloetjes scored 12 points in the set.

A spike by Foluke Akinradewo made it 5-2 for USA early in the second set. An attack by Larson put them up 10-6. USA kept the momentum and led 16-8 at the second TTO as the Dutch struggled in reception and defense. Sloetjes stopped the run of seven straight USA points with a spike that made it 17-9. A spike from the wing by Lowe gave USA set point at 24-15. The United States took the set 25-15 on a soft tap by Lowe over the high block.

Sloetjes fired a spike wide and it was 6-6 in the third set as the Dutch looked to stay in the match. An ace by Sloetjes gave the Dutch an 8-6 advantage at the first TTO. USA moved ahead 12-10 on a wing attack from Bartsch-Hackley. Plak fired an ace to tie it 13-13. A Sloetjes attack from the wing put the Dutch up 16-15 at the second TTO. Sloetjes struck again to move the Netherlands ahead 18-16 and USA called a timeout. Laura Dijkema scored on a quick reverse tap and the Dutch led 20-18. Lowe put a serve into the net and the Netherlands was up 23-19. They took the set 25-22 on another Sloetjes spike.

The Netherlands came out fired up in the fourth set and grabbed a 6-4 lead. A block by Belien saw the Dutch up 8-5 at the first TTO. They continued to pressure USA and stretched the lead to 12-6. The U.S. struggled with reception and was unable to counter the Dutch onslaught. The Netherlands had a 16-9 lead at the second TTO. An ace by Dijkema made it 19-12. An ace by Nicole Koolhaas gave the Dutch set point at 24-14. The Netherlands took the set 25-13 when a USA serve sailed long.

A block by Plak put the Netherlands ahead 4-2 in the final set as USA looked for a way back. The Dutch remained in control with a continued strong attack and block. Hancock put a serve into the net and the Netherlands led 11-7. A spike by Plak gave the Netherlands the set and match 15-9.


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