Rotterdam, the Netherlands, June 14, 2009 - Team USA
exacted revenge on the Netherlands Sunday with a five-set victory following a
straight-sets loss to the hosts a day earlier.
USA twice took a one-set advantage sets but the Dutch
fought back with the support of more than 3,000 home supporters. The Americans
finally walked away with a 16-25, 32-30, 17-25, 25-19, 6-15 win.
Despite the loss, the Netherlands nevertheless top Pool A.
The American team started the match sharply, winning the
first four points. Dutch head coach Peter Blangé tried to halt the onslaught by
calling a timeout. However, not much changed and he called another timeout at
6-11. The Orange team had a hard time scoring because the American block and
defense had adjusted its play to the Dutch based on the information it gleaned
from their match a day earlier.
Blangé substituted his setter Yannick van Harskamp for
Roland Rademaker at 7-13. At the second technical timeout the Americans led
8-16. The home team had heaps of problems with receiving the well-placed and
powerful services of the United States. The set ended with a killing block from
Sean Rooney (16-25).
The Dutch started the second set with greater concentration
and aggression. Dutch captain Jeroen Trommel left the court in the first set to
make way for Jeroen Rauwerdink who stayed on the court in the second set and
was key to the Dutch revival. His spikes and serves made his team believe in
themselves again. Although Rooney and Evan Patak kept scoring, the Dutch
enjoyed a 16-14 advantage at the second technical timeout. On the strength of
Patak's serves, the United States fought back to make it 21-22. A spike from
Rauwerdink gave the Netherlands its first set point, 24-23. The Americans
prevented the Dutch from winning that point but Matthew Anderson scored to give
the visitors two set points of their own. At 31-30 the Orange team had its
sixth set point, which Rauwerdink received and then won to take the set 32-30.
In the third set the Dutch struggled to recover their
energy after expending so much of it in the previous frame. The Olympic
Champions had an easy start (2-6) and maintained the difference. Holland did
not have an answer to the attacks of Anderson and the gap had increased by the
second technical timeout to 10-16 despite attacks from left-handed opposite
Niels Klapwijk, who was on as a replacement for Kay van Dijk. Blangé's team
could not find a way back in this set despite several changes in the side. A
blocking point and a spike from middle-blocker Andrew Hein finished the set in
favor of the United States, 17-25.
The roles were reversed in the next set with the Orange
team on the verge of defeat. The Dutch started freshly with an wing-spiker Horstink
scoring with ease to make it 8-4. Captain Trommel was back on the court again
and he added to the score as well. Hein and Rooney added points for the U.S.,
though, and the score at the second technical timeout was 16-14. The Americans
then drew level at 16-16. This woke the Dutch up and they geared it up on the
service game of Klapwijk to take a 22-18 lead. Trommel scored on the first
set-point to wrap it up at 25-19.
The final set took the same path as the first and third
sets. Team USA made their presence felt early with the attacks of Sean Rooney.
The Dutch players made too many mistakes in this set to have a chance of
winning. The U.S. kept its concentration and scored on their first match-point,
Dutch setter Yannick van Harskamp was disappointed after
the match. "We kept fighting but we could not succeed. They played at a
higher level than us."
His teammate Wytze Kooistra added that it is a tough loss
to swallow but admitted the visitors were the better team on the day. "The
USA played more consistently and deserved to win. Their service power
especially made the difference," he said.
American captain David Lee was proud of his team.
"We reacted very well after yesterday's match. Today it was a real fight.
We have gained a lot of experience playing against a good team and in a great
American setter Donald Suxho said his team played with
more passion. "Yesterday, we did not expect to lose with 3-0. We changed
our tactics and played with more aggression."