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 Match info | Description
Dutch win opening clash with China

Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, June 20, 2009 - China and the Netherlands played their third World League match of the year at the brand new Omnisports in Apeldoorn on Saturday, with the Dutch prevailing in straight sets (26-24, 28-26, 25-20).

The last duel between the No. 10 and No. 28 teams in the FIVB world rankings was in 2005.

In the first and second set, little separated the two teams and the 4,500 people in attendance enjoyed two exciting closing phases. In the third set, the Dutch had more breathing room, closing the frame five points ahead.

China stayed just ahead of the Netherlands early on thanks in particular to some excellent defending. An amazing save from Chinese libero Ren kept the ball in play for a Chinese kill at 9-11, but a hammering spike from Robert Horstink brought the Dutch another point. The score was level for the first time at 15-15 and the team of Peter Blangé reached the second technical timeout leading for the first time. Horstink made the difference in the final phase of the opening set and even though the Chinese came back to tie it at 24-24, the 'flying Dutchman' Horstink and a Chinese ball out of bounds gave the set to the home team.

In the second set, the men in orange started better and led by two points at the first technical time out. Wytze Kooistra was not playing at his best and was substituted by Lars Lorsheijd at 7-6. The Chinese accelerated their play and, with Cui Jianjun playing a key role, evened the score at 11-11. The Dutch fought hard for every point, resulting in a three-point lead (18-15), prompting Chinese coach Zhou Jianan to call for a time out. It had the desired effect, and when the tallest man on Dutch side, Kay van Dijk, smashed into the Chinese block, the score was even again at 19-19. A tactical shot from Rob Bontje gave the lead back to the Netherlands (22-21). Blangé brought on supersub Jeroen Rauwerdink for team captain Jeroen Trommel at 22-22 and Rauwerdink immediately scored. Trommel, playing his 200th international match, was brought back in at 24-24 and an exciting closing phase followed. A perfect block from setter Yannick van Harskamp and Bontje awarded the second set to the Netherlands.

In the third set, China appeared a bit broken mentally, allowing the Dutch to take a quick lead of four points (8-4, 11-7, 12-8). China managed to reorganize themselves and after a good block on Horstink at 13-11, Blangé called his team to the sidelines. China, ahead thanks to the sweet serves of Zhong Weijun, evened the score at 15-15, but the Dutch pushed ahead by the second technical time out. Another well-placed tactical shot from Trommel was a problem for the Asian defense, making Jianan call another timeout at 17-15. The two-point lead of the home team was preserved up to 21-19, when Blangé temporarily brought Tije Vlam on for Van Harskamp to strengthen the Dutch block. Van Dijk spiked his team to a four-point lead (23-19) with an unstoppable smash through the center. A smash out of bounds by the Chinese ended the match, prompting the enthusiastic Dutch crowd to give their players a standing ovation.


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