China and Cuba compete at the net
Hong Kong, June 27, 2008 - The Cuban girls roared against the Chinese players by handing out aggressive spikes at the very beginning of the set. Amidst the thundering applause in the stadium, the China team was able to control the rhythm quickly and took over the command. Several unforgivable errors in receiving, attacking as well as blocking frustrated the Cuban team. China clinched the set at 25-18.
The second set started with a see-saw situation. Even though the Cuban girls have made several errors in serving, the impressive attacks produced by the Cuban player #1 Yumilka Ruiz Luaces did not allow their opponent to further widen the gap. After the second technical timeout, the Chinese girls excelled by 4 points at 20:16. After the break called by Cuba, they furiously controlled the game and sealed the set at 27-25 after the thrilling deuce.
The tense atmosphere in the previous set was brought forward to the third one. The Cuban girls took the advantage of Chinese girls' errors in serving and proceeded to the first technical timeout with two points ahead. Replacing Chinese Captain Feng Kun with #5 Wei Qiuyue did not help the team get back on track. The Cuba team stretched the lead and ended the set with a splendid spike at 25:21.
Both teams appeared to be a bit exhausted after three stiff sets. The strategic attacks at the net enabled the Cuban girls to lead sporadically at the first technical timeout. The Chinese forceful spiking frightened the Cuban players and they called for a timeout while China was leading at 11-9. The tension sustained until China won the thrilling set at 25: 21.
The critical fifth set was kicked off by Cuba leading merely two points. Each team grasped their points with no mercy on each other. With great cheering from the crowd encouraging the China team, China led Cuba by two points at the technical timeout. China requested a timeout at the decisive moment at 10:10. Cuba held on and called for the second timeout at 14:12. In the end, Cuba gave in to the ferocious attack from the China team at 15:13.