China's Kun Feng reaches for the ball
Beijing, China, August 11 - China clinched its second victory at the Olympic women's volleyball preliminaries by smashing the challenge of rising European side Poland 3-1 here on Monday.
More than 15,000 home fans, to some extent, became the seventh Chinese player on court, but the 1.96-meter middle blocker Zhao Ruirui was practically the top scorer of the team by contributing 17 points.
Polish wing spiker Katarzyna Skowronaska impressed the spectators by scoring the highest 26 points.
The Chinese, who saw an easy opening victory over Venezuela on Saturday, started slowly in the first set.
Led by Skowronaska, Poland jumped to 5-2 lead with lethal outside hits. China managed to catch up 7-7 with a 5-2 run, but its frequent at-net errors and poor defense raised Poland to 24-20.
After missing two match points, the European took the opener 25-22 with an out-of-the-court spike of China's Yang Hao.
China rebuilt its defense system and fought back strong in the second set to lead 8-2 with the stunning performances of Libero Zhang Na. The team gave full play of its famous fast attack to enlarge the gap to 21-11 with tricky drops of wing spiker Yang Hao and spikes of middle blocker Zhao Ruirui.
Poland head coach Marco Bonitta called for two time-outs then, but his players failed to stop the winning momentum of the determined Chinese. A combined block of Zhou Suhong and Ma Yunwen helped China pulled a set back 25-15.
In the third set, the defending champion showed real quality to beat the Polish bounce with even stronger defense and fast attacks from different positions and it took the set 25-20.
The two sides fought even harder and their gap never exceeded two points before the more experienced China took the match point 24-22. As Zhao Ruirui came from the outside to smash a ball home, China took the match 25-22.
Poland will meet Japan in the next match on Wednesday while China will receive a bigger challenge to play three-time Olympic champion Cuba. The latter is on high spirit after scoring second victory by beating the United States in straight sets.
Twelve teams are competing in two groups in the preliminary round with top four finishers from each group to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Host China is with Cuba, Japan, Poland, United States and Venezuela in Pool A, while Italy, Algeria, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Russia and Serbia are in Pool B. The knockout stage runs from Aug. 19 to 23. (Xinhua)