Tijuana, Mexico, July 20, 2009 – Liu Xiaoting scored five of her match-high 19 points in the tie-breaker sending China to a 20-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-23, 15-11 victory over Cuba in Pool G.
Zhang Yicham added 16 points as China took advantage of 41 Cuba’s errors and outmatched its opponent 14-6 in service aces. Cubans Yudith Pumariega and Yoana Palacios recorded 16 points apiece and Wilma Salas (14), Gyselle Silva (11) and Rosanna Giel (10) scored also in double figures.
In the first set, China built lead of 8-7 and 16-14 with the support from Zhang Yicham and Li Aitong only to see how Cuba recovered relying on the shoulders of Yoana Palacios, Yudith Pumariega and Rosanna Giel to win 25-20.
Pumariega sent Cuba to an 8-6 advantage. With the score tied at 12-all, Giel served two aces but China answered back via spike of Yao Liyun and ace delivered by Ding Xia. At 15-all, the attack of Yao went out of bounds for 16-15 lead in favor of Cuba. Salas and Silva landed two spikes in a row for an 18-15 advantage. China tied at 23-all with spike of Liu followed by ace of Wang Na but Cuba responded with spikes of Pumariega and Palacios for the 25-23 win.
In the third set, Xuan Caixia tied at 7-all and Pumariega’s killing attempt was wild for an 8-7 China lead. The Asians then took advantage of several Cuban errors and arrived to the second technical time-out with a 16-11 margin including one ace by Li Weiwei for the last point. China’s serves improved in the last section of the third set when they scored three aces, including two by Zhang Yicham and the 25-14 victory.
China led 8-6 and 16-10 at the technical stops with improved blocking and overall defense on the floor. Cuba contributed to giving away many points with unforced errors. Cuba recovered behind the inspiration of Salas’ spikes and shortened to 22-20 with a bomb by Pumariega and ace by Giel. One block by Cruz and spike by Palacios tied up at 22-all. Giel continued with another ace but Zhang Yicham evened up the score. Ace by Wang Na and spike from Zhang finished the set 25-23 for China.
In the tie-breaker, China jumped to a 6-0 lead. Liu Xiaotong reserved her best for the final set scoring with powerful attacks and the Asian led 8-2 at the pause and change of sides. Salas hit a couple of spikes but then landed her serve in the net for a 10-4 China advantage. Pumariega and Palacios helped Cuba to close in at 12-8 but Liu landed another one for 13-8. Consecutive errors by China cut the gap to 13-11 forcing a time-out. Liu sent her side to match-point and Li Weiwei blocked for the victory 15-11.