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China draw closer to sweep of Women’s World Cup

China are one win away from a sweep of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup
Osaka, Japan, September 28, 2019 – China allowed their dominant play speak for itself as they beat Serbia 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-16), skipping the big celebrations and staying focused on their final mission, with a game left to play on Sunday against Argentina to complete their sweep of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Cup.

Zhu Ting topped all scorers with 18 points to lead China to their 10th consecutive victory in the tournament. Zhang Changning led the Chinese defence, scoring three of China’s 10 blocks and adding that up to her match output of 16.

Serbians Ana Bjelica and Katarina Lazovic recorded 15 and 13 markers on the board, but the Chinese dominance on all fronts still overwhelmed the European side.

Zhu, Zhang ang Gong Xiangyu brought a good number of points for China to start the match, while Bjelica was the only productive player on the Serbian side. In the second set, Zhu and Zhang won their attack showdown with the young Lazovic, who scored eight points to give Serbia a fighting chance, but the Asian side effectively executed their plays to gain a 2-0 set-edge.

Zhang had the hot hands in the third frame, taking charge on offence to come up with a strong finish in the match. China underlined their dominance as they succeeded to stay one match away from completing a sweep and winning their second consecutive World Cup title.

“I think we played consistently throughout this tournament,” Zhang said. “We are the most prepared team in this tournament. We made sure that we always come out well-prepared against each team.”

“The most defining moment in this tournament was our match against the United States. I was so impressed by how well prepared when we played against them. We were ready to play them in five sets, but surprisingly we beat them in three sets. However, we will continue to study them and hopefully we can still play better against them in the future.”

Meanwhile, the United States defeated Cameroon 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-5) to strengthen their hold on a podium finish. Karsta Lowe, Hanna Tapp and Michelle Bartsch-Hackley scored in double figures, overwhelming their African rivals who struggled to defend them.

The Russians recovered from their loss against USA and recorded a 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-22) triumph over Kenya. Nataliya Goncharova once again registered big numbers for her team with 25 points, including 21 attacks and four blocks.

In other matches, Korea’s four-set victory (25-23, 18-25, 25-20, 25-21) against Brazil prevented the latter from its chase for a podium finish, handing the South American side’s fourth loss in the tournament.

Kim Yeon-Koung and Lee Jaeyeong formed a strong scoring tandem that outplayed the Brazilian defenders. Kim and Lee contributed 25 and 20 points, respectively, while Brazilian opposite Lorenne Geraldo Teixeira led her side with 23 markers.

“Ever since the new coach (Stefano Lavarini) has trained us, I believe that we have become even closer to the top teams of the world. Of course, we have always tried to reach the highest position as much as possible.” Yeon-Koung said.

“I also believe that when it comes to organization and management, we have very good staff, not only the managers but also the physical trainers. There are many teams around the world, but I believe we have some of the best staff members in the world. If we continue believing in the work of our new head coach and our staff, we can become an even stronger team.”

After posting victories in the first two sets, the Dominican Republic defence slowed down, allowing their European rivals Netherlands to level the match with strong finishes in the third and fourth sets. However, the NORCECA squad’s reception and service picked up, mounting an 11-0 lead in the tiebreaker set and eventually closing the match to win 3-2 (25-23, 25-22, 25-27, 18-25, 15-4).

Japan closed the day’s action with a straight-set win (26-24, 25-15, 25-14) against Argentina. Sarina Koga led Japan with 17 points, then her teammates Miwako Osanai and Yurie Nabeya contributed with 15 and 13 points to outscore Argentina’s lone double-digit scorer Elina Rodriguez who scored 12 points.


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