China, Bulgaria, Dominican Republic join Cuba in semis
Southeast China, May 26, 2005 - China and Bulgaria in
Group A and the Dominican Republic of Group B joined
Cuba in the semi-finals of the Shenzhou Cup China
International Women's Volleyball Tournament on the last
day of the preliminary round here on Thursday.
Olympic and World Cup winners China beat Poland 3-1
(25-20, 20-25, 25-16, 25-17) for their third straight
win to finish on top of Group A ahead of Bulgaria, who
finished with two wins and a loss after beating the
Netherlands in straight sets 25-21, 25-18, 25-19. In the
other match on Thursday, the Dominican Republic
squandered a 2-0 lead before clinching a victory against
Japan 3-2 (15-12 in the tiebreak) and a semifinal
fixture against China.
Pic: China's Chu Jinling(No 5), Ma Yuwen(No15),Liu
Yanan(No 4), Zhou Suhong(No 7) and Wang Yimei celebrate
In the match between China and Poland, Chu Jining, who
replaced Olympic gold medalist Wang Li'na in the
starting line-up, was in great form in the first set.
Her crisp spikes from the wings caused a lot of trouble
for the Polish defense. At 17-17, Chu completed three
kills to lead China on a 5-1 run that gave the hosts a
comfortable advantage at 22-18. Then 19-year-old Ma
Yunwen, a new member in the Chinese team, sealed the set
25-20 with a smash.
Poland fought back strongly in the second set, racing to
a 6-2 lead on the back of some high quality serves from
Izabela Belcik before China steadily clawed their way
back to 17-16. But the Chinese made too many mistakes
and Poland, reaping 11 points from China's errors in
total, clinched the second set. The hosts improved their
overall performance to seal the third set before Chinese
coach Chen Zhonghe rested most of his starters and gave
his younger players an opportunitiy to play late in the
"We played very well in the first two sets but we lost
our concentration in the last two sets and struggled in
all technical elements," Izabela Belcik of Poland said.
Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic pulled away from a
6-all tie in their tiebreaker with Japan to lead 9-6
before eventually holding on for victory.
"It's a tough game, Japan is a great team," said
Dominican Republic head coach Francisco Jimenez. "They
are very strong mentality and I respect the way they
The Dominican Republic finished second in Group B of the
preliminaries with one win and one loss. In the
semi-finals, they will play Group A winner China while
Cuba and Bulgaria will clash for the other ticket to the
final. The Japanese team, who lost both games in Group
B, head into the 5th-7th deciders.