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FIVB Women's Olympic Games 2008

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China's Women Volleyballers claim second win over Cuba

Yumilka Ruiz tries to block a spike from China's Yang Hao

Jinjiang, China, February 25, 2008 - Olympic champions China claimed their second straight 3-0 win over Cuba in the Women's Volleyball friendly series between the two teams in Jinjiang, southeast China’s Fujian province, on Monday.

 

After a convincing 25-18, 25-22, 25-12 win in Fujian's capital Fuzhou the previous day, the Chinese team continued their momentum and needed about an hour to beat the Cubans 25-19, 25-20, 25-17.

 

Head coach Chen Zhonghe once again fielded a lineup including long-time absentee Zhao Ruirui, out of action for three and a half years because of a knee injury, and team captain Feng Kun, also returning from a leg injury that sidelined her in 2007.

 

The Chinese, who have just finished a two-month closed-door training camp, struggled at the start. With the team trailing 15-11, coach Chen sent on substitute Liu Yanan, who caused a lot of trouble for the Cuban girls. Her serving helped the team score six straight points to take over the lead and Cuba were allowed to take just four more points before losing the first set.  The Chinese team looked totally in control in the second and third sets.

 

Rising wing spiker star Wang Yimei was the team's top scorer again, notching up 15 points, while another wing spiker, Xue Ming, collected an excellent 11 points.

 

"Both the starting players and the substitutes played well in the match, but the team still had ups and downs, especially on the key points," said Chen after the match, adding that the series is the start of the Olympic season for the Chinese team and that he will use the friendly matches as a chance to test different lineups for the Olympics.

 

Cuban head coach Antonio Perdomo was satisfied with his team's performance. He said the Cuban team had only two weeks of training before coming to China.

 

"We played much better than we did in the first match, and we wish our players will play better and better in the next match," said Perdomo.

 

The Cuban coach also noted that key spiker Diaz Calderon was injured, which had great impact on their team. Perdomo also pointed to Cuba's good young players who he hopes to give more playing time to so they can gain experience, with the main purpose of the six matches against China being to prepare for the Olympic Games.

 

The series on Tuesday was set to move to Xiamen for the third clash, and after two days' break the rivalry will be rekindled in Zhejiang’s Jiande, followed by the last two matches in Shaoxing and Hangzhou.

  
 

 

  
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