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Dutch down Cubans in Pool F opener

Manon Flier (12) and Maret Grothues (6) each recorded 17 points to lead the Netherlands to victory over Cuba

Nagoya, Japan, November 6, 2010 - The Netherlands defeated Cuba in four sets (25-12, 22-25, 25-12, 25-20) on the first day of second-round Pool F action at Nippon Gaishi Hall on Saturday afternoon.

The 10th-ranked Dutch controlled the tempo for most of the match, as the sixth-ranked Cubans seemed listless at times and had trouble receiving. Avital Selinger’s Dutch team now have a 2-2 record while Cuba dropped to 1-3.

Cuba had 26 unforced errors and appeared to lack communication at times. The Dutch outclassed the Cubans from the service line (15-2) and also had the advantage in blocks (13-7). The Netherlands were inspired by Manon Flier and Maret Grothues who registered 17 points apiece, with Grothues hitting five aces. Ingrid Vasser and Chaine Staelens added 14 and 11 points respectively. Vasser and Staelens each recorded four blocks and Caroline Wensik had five service winners among her seven points. Kenia Carcaces was the primary force for the Cubans. She scored 15 points while Rosanna Giel contributed 10.

Entering the match Cuba had won 13 of 15 meetings with the Dutch but it was the Netherlands who jumped out to a 14-4 lead in the first set, and Cuba were slow to react and made several mistakes. The Dutch kept the pressure on and took the set 25-12 when a spike attempt by Cuba's Carcaces was long.

After the Netherlands moved out to an early lead in the second set, Cuba came back to go in front at 10-9 and by the second TTO the Cubans were up 16-11. Laura Dijkema pulled off a smart blind tip for the Netherlands but by that point Cuba were in control and won the set 25-22.

The Dutch raced to a 13-4 lead in the third set and swiftly wrapped it up, 25-12, and they appeared in control early in the fourth set but Cuba rallied to make it 9-9. The Dutch then surged back ahead 16-11 and triumphed 25-20. Cuba will next play top-ranked Brazil on Sunday, while the Netherlands take on Thailand.

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