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China claim second straight victory at women's volleyball international tournament

Chinese supporters came to cheer for the home team against the Dominican Republic at the China Women's Volleyball International Tournament on Saturday

Ningbo, China, June 28, 2014 - China seized a straight sets win over  the Dominican Republic to earn their second straight victory, while Asian champions Thailand outlasted Belgium in a five-set thriller at the China Women’s Volleyball International Tournament on Saturday.

Following a 3-1 victory over Belgium on Friday, Lang Ping rotated her starting lineup, putting their top scorer Zhu Ting and veteran setter Wei Qiuyue on the bench.

Hui Ruoqi led China with 14 points and Liu Xiaotong and Yang Junjing added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Yonkaira Pena led Dominican Republic in scoring with 13 points.

"We did a better job in serving today than yesterday," coach Lang Ping said at the post-match press conference. "But we still need to improve on our blocking."

The Chinese women scored nine points from serving, compared with two for the Dominican Republic.

Liu Xiaotong, who replaced Zhu to start for China, produced an ace to lead an opening 4-0 run in the first set while the Dominican Republic fought hard to level it at 9-all through a 4-0 burst capped by an ace of Pena. With the score tied at 11-all, China surged ahead again with a 5-1 run and held on to clinch the opener at 25-20.

The Dominicans fought back strongly to establish a 15-11 cushion in the second set. Lang Ping replaced Wang Na and Zeng Chunlei with Wei Qiuyue and Yang Zhou and the substitutions turned out to be magical as the Chinese women came back in style with a 14-1 burst that concluded the set.

Falling behind again in the third set at 13-9, China soon overtook the lead with an 8-1 run and went on to seal the victory in 77 minutes.

"It may be strange to you, but I think we also had a good game today," said Marcos Kwiek. "I think we can improve our team to play through the match. We made too many unforced errors."

China reaped 19 points from the mistakes of the Dominican Republic.

In the evening, Thailand clinched their first victory over Belgium 3-2 (21-25, 25-20, 25-20, 21-25, 15-13) to improve to a 1-1 win-loss record in the four-team round robin competition.

Chaisri Tapaphaipun led Thailand with 21 points, while Kanika Thipachot added 15 points. Belgian attacker Lise Van Hecke notched a team-high 21 points, but her scoring efforts could not stop her team from losing their second match in two days.

After splitting the first four sets with Thailand, Belgium jumped to an 8-3 lead in the tiebreaker. However, the Thais steadily pulled it back at 11-all with an 8-3 run capped by three consecutive kills of Kanika. Belgium went up again at 13-11, only to find Thailand run off four unanswered points to wrap up the marathon match in one hour and 53 minutes.

China will play Thailand in the last round of play, as the Dominican Republic take on Belgium on Sunday.

China are the runners-up of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix, while Thailand and Dominican Republic are regulars at the premier annual women's tournament. Belgium will debut at the World Grand Prix in Group 2.

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