Ningbo, China, August 28, 2010 – The United States are only one step away from their third FIVB World Grand Prix title after sweeping China 3-0 Saturday evening for the fourth win in a row at the six-team Final Round in Ningbo.
Two-time defending champions Brazil kept alive their hopes of winning the FIVB World Grand Prix finals title for the third straight time by crushing Italy in straight sets while Poland held off Japan 3-1 to collect their first win in the round-robin tournament.
USA now led the standings with 10 points, followed by Brazil on eight through two wins and two full-set losses and China in third with six points while Japan, Poland and Italy are tied on four points.
FIVB World Grand Prix
Poland beat Japan 3-1 (25-15, 21-25, 25-23, 25-22)
The Poles, who are making their second appearance in the World Grand Prix finals, ended their three-game losing streak with a well-deserved victory over Japan. Recovering from a lacklustre 3-0 loss to China on Friday, Poland found their offence again as Joanna Kaczor, Karolina Kosek and Anna Baranska combined for 54 points in the match that lasted for one hour and 34 minutes. “I am really happy about winning the match, I am also happy to see that my team played good Volleyball today,” Poland coach Jerzy Matlak said. “We are playing in Asia, we are double satisfied with the victory.” The Japanese surprisingly struggled with their receiving, allowing Poland 10 aces. “My players were not very focused from the start of the game,” Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe said. “Poland did well in serving. That's another reason for our loss.”
Brazil beat Italy 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-16)
Beijing Olympic champions Brazil recovered from a full-set loss to the United States soon enough to take an easy victory over Italy, handing the 2009 FIVB World Grand Champions Cup winners their third loss in a row. Wing spiker Natalia Pereira, the replacement for Marianne Steinbrecher and Paula Pequeno who sustained injuries on Thursday and Friday respectively, made 11 kills in 23 attempts for a game-high 15 points. “I am very happy about the result, especially after we lost yesterday's match and lost two main players,” Brazil coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes said. “Today we had some great serves, and also did well in blocking. We played consistently. Hopefully, we can keep this momentum up.” The Italians, who had beaten Brazil in their last two previous encounters including the World Grand Prix Preliminary Round, could only convert 27 of their 103 spiking opportunities and conceded seven points through Brazilian aces. “Congratulations to the Brazilian team, who taught us a lesson today,” Italy coach Massimo Barbolini said. “The loss is a shame for me and for my team. I am sorry for the Italian fans that watched the match. Today is a very bad moment for the Italian team. Brazil is a very good team. It is normal if you lose 3-0 to Brazil. But we didn't try our best, I am really sorry for this.”
USA beat China 3-0 (25-21, 27-25, 25-22)
Destinee Hooker notched up 24 points to lead the United States past China 25-21, 27-25 and 25-22. The Americans finished with 16 kill blocks, compared with four for China. “I'm happy about the way we played today. I'm satisfied with my team. They were very disciplined in serving, blocking and defense and that helped us to get the result,” USA coach Hugh McCutcheon said. Wing spiker Wang Yimei, who had scored 24 and 19 points in China’s victories over Japan and Poland, was held to 14 kills on 38 attempts by the efficient American defense. “Despite the loss, we played good Volleyball, especially in attack,” China coach Wang Baoquan said. “We had a chance to win, but we couldn't grasp it, because of poor receiving.”
2010 FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round will conclude on Sunday as USA take on Japan, Italy clash with Poland and China play Brazil.