Kielce, Poland, August 2, 2009: The Netherlands, sensational winner of the FIVB World Grand Prix 2007, showed in Kielce a big class and defeated Thailand 3-1 (25-27, 25-21,25-17, 25-20) improving its win-loss record to 3-0 and loosing only one set in the first weekend of the WGP 2009 competition.
On Sunday game the Dutch players once again showed their dominance and beat ambitious Thailand thanks to the powerful block and attack.
The best scorer was Manon Flier (19 points). Francien Huurman added 15 points while Onuma Sittirak (the best scorer from Thailand) earned 21 points for her team.
The begging of the final game in Kielce was very competitive (6-6) as Thai girls played without any respect and fear. The Netherlands had only 1 point’s advantage at the first TTO (8-7). Surprisingly Thailand managed not only to drew up the score (8-8) but regained the lead (8-11) thanks to the good service of Nootsara Tomkom and better efficiency in counter-attacks. A few minutes later the powerful services of incredible Manon Flier – the real leader of her team and main actress in Kielce – helped the Dutch team to improve the score (14-12). The Netherlands maintained the lead at the second TTO (16-14) and immediately increased the margin (18-14). However, Thailand reacted in a positive way (18-17) and Avital Selinger had to ask for the time-out. The game became very close (19-19, 24-24) but Thailand gained the set points (24-25, 25-26) and won the first set thanks to the unbelievable counter-attacks by the captain Wilavan Apinyapong and opposite Onuma Sittirak (25-27).
In the second set Thailand continued good performance (2-4) and went on 5-8 at the first TTO. At that stage of the game the Dutch team played below their usual level especially in attack and Avital Selinger decided to put experienced Debby Stam instead of inefficient Maret Grothues. The Netherlands immediately leveled the score (8-8, 10-10) thanks to the Manon Flier – the only Dutch player who maintained efficient in attack. It was 16-15 for Netherlands at the second TTO. A few minutes later the Dutch team showed its great capabilities in block and built up the impressive advantage (20-15). Thailand managed to reduce the difference (21-19) thanks to the ambitious play in defense and quick, combination play. The Dutch girls could count on experience of Manon Flier and Debby Stam and ultimately won the second set (25-21). The difference between the teams was mainly in block (7-1) as Dutch players are much higher than their opponents from Thailand.
The Netherlands started the third set more concentrated and consistent in attack (8-5 at the first TTO and 11-7 a few minutes later). When Dutch players reinforced their service and attack Thailand had problems in reception and defense (13-8). The advantage of the Netherlands grew up to 6 points (16-10 at the second TTO). Two mistakes committed by Dutch players in attack reduced the margin (16-13). At the end of the set Netherlands maintained good, stable level of play (especially in attack and block) and ultimately won 25-17.
The final set was a continuation of a calm and efficient play presented by the favorite Netherlands (6-2 and 8-2 at the first TTO after powerful kills of Manon Flier and Chaine Staelens). The Dutch players controlled the game (11-5, 14-8) and were leading 16-9 thanks to the solid performance of all the spikers. Thailand couldn’t force the Dutch block and the Nerherlands’ advantage was growing up (18-10). Thai girls managed to reduce the margin (20-15, 21-17, 23-19) but weren’t able to turn around the situation as Netherland’s lead was secured (25-20).
The Netherlands showed in Kielce its strength and big capabilities before the next tournaments. However, for Thailand the second place in pool B is also a kind of success as last year Thai players were 11th in the overall standings and won only one game in the whole competition (against host Poland in Wroclaw).