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Dutch trounce Puerto Rico in straight sets

Manon Flier of the Netherlands celebrates the victory over Puerto Rico

Hamamatsu, Japan, November 3, 2010 – Hamamatsu, Japan, November 3, 2010 – The Netherlands beat Puerto Rico in straight sets (25-12, 25-13, 25-16) to finish 3-2 in Pool B at the 2010 FIVB Women’s World Championship at Hamamatsu Arena on Wednesday.

The Dutch continued to raise their level after a flat performance against Brazil on Sunday. Manon Flier and Ingrid Visser showed why they are two of the most explosive leapers and spikers in the game, and the Dutch servers kept the Puerto Rican receivers off balance. Puerto Rico, needing a win for any chance to advance to the next round, never could really challenge the superior Dutch.

FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 official page

Needing to run up their score for points differential going into the next round, the Netherlands came out guns blazing, scoring the first five points on Maret Grothues’s left-handed serves. Karina Ocasio’s spikes earned Puerto Rico three points, but the Netherlands sped forward to 14-4 and Flier’s slicing angled spike made it 18-7. Two blocks by Ingrid Visser enticed Puerto Rico to hit long, giving the Dutch the wide gap they sought, 25-12.

In the second set, Visser and Laura Djikema snuffed out a swat by Aurea Cruz as the Dutch surged to 8-3. The Dutch took clear command of the net, pounding the Puerto Ricans from both sides to score six points in a row to make it 18-6. Flier’s swooping attack from the right highlighted the Dutch supremacy, as they won another breezy set 25-13.

The third set started out as a carbon copy of the first, with southpaw Grothues serving up four straight points and Visser stretching the lead to 8-1. The exuberant stadium announcer tried to spark a “Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico” chant, but the Dutch stormed to 13-3.

One bright moment for Puerto Rico was a brilliant, backward, blind bump-set from Cruz, setting up a spike to make it 18-9.  But the Dutch continued to pour it on, hoping for a chance to finish second in the group depending on other results. In the best rally of the match, both teams sprawled across the court until Manon finally placed the ball in a far-flung corner, and the Netherlands wrapped up the set 25-16.

The Netherlands will advance to play on Saturday in the second round in Nagoya, while Puerto Rico, 1-4, failed to qualify despite some exciting play at times.

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