Rotterdam, the Netherlands, June 13, 2009 - After an
absence of five years in the World League, the Netherlands won its first match
of the 2009 edition by upending Olympic Champion and 2008 World League winner
the United States 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 26-24) on Saturday in Ahoy Rotterdam.
The two teams attempted to get accustomed to each other
in the first set. At the first technical timeout the Dutch had a small lead
(8-6) after a killing block from opposite Kay van Dijk. The Americans came back
to tie the score at 12-12, before the Orange team picked up two points from
middle-blocker Wytze Kooistra. American opposite Evan Patak brought his team
back again (17-18) as the teams stayed close until Dutch wing-spiker Robert
Horstink scored two aces to make it 23-19. The Netherlands earned their first
set point at 24-20 via an impressive spike from Horstink. The Americans were
able to prevent the Dutch team from winning its first set-point after a killing
block from Patak. Van Dijk, however, made no mistake with the third set point.
In the second set the teams were evenly matched (8-8,
14-14). Patak was the leading man again for the U.S. with his spikes and
blocking points. At 14-14 the Dutch shifted into a higher gear. Two points from
left-handed captain Jeroen Trommel resulted in a small lead (16-14) and two
mistakes by the Americans saw the gap widen to 18-15. The Dutch did not
relinquish the lead. Horstink added to the lead after being assisted nicely by
setter Yannick van Harskamp, before Kooistra scored on the first set point to
Opposite Patak did not return for the Americans after
being substituted in the second set for Brook Billing. Wing-spiker Sean Rooney
took over the scoring role for Patak in the final set. Once again the score
stayed close in the beginning, which set the stage for an exciting finish. At
24-22 the Dutch had their first match point after libero Jelte Maan made a
great save. But it wasn’t until the third match point that the Netherlands
capped the victory, Van Dijk scoring with a spike off the American block.
America’s Patak gave full credit to the Ducth after the
match. "The Netherlands played very well. They have a young team with
wing-spikers that have developed very well. We did not play like we can."
U.S. captain David Lee was also impressed by the Dutch,
but vowed a different outcome in the rematch. "It was our first match
after the Olympcs,” he said. “Tomorrow we will win."
Dutchman Kay van Dijk was happy with the result, saying
his team deserved to win. Jeroen Trommel agreed with his teammate: "We
played a very focused game and were the better team today."