Chaine Staelens attacks against blocking Russian players (left to right) Ekaterina Gamova, Yulia Merkulova and Lioubov Shashkova.
Osaka, Japan, November 9, 2006 -- Unbeaten Russia rolled over the Netherlands 3-0 in Group F on Thursday to improve to 5-0 in the second-round standings.
The Netherlands, who rallied to defeat Germany 3-2 on Wednesday, were never really in the game as the Russians topped them 25-17, 25-18, 25-16. The Netherlands fell to 2-3 in the standings.
The Dutch were slow to warm up and allowed Russia to streak out to a 5-1 lead. But they composed themselves and eased their way back into the game, closing to within a point at 7-6. After a couple of great blocks by Manon Flier and Ingrid Visser on Russian top scorer Lioubov Shashkova, the Dutch found themselves at 10-10, but then Shashkova started to find her range and the Russians had pulled away to 16-11 at the second technical timeout. A thumping spike from Chaine Staelens and two powerful serves from Flier brought them back to within two points, but a long Flier serve and an ace by Russia's Elena Godina extended the Russian lead to four points.
After a Dutch timeout at 18-14, the Russians pulled away with little resistance from their opponents. Shashkova's block on Ingrid Visser brought setpoint and the same player finished things off with a soft fake spike that the Dutch couldn't return.
The Netherlands were quickly off the mark in Set 2, taking the first three points with ease on good work by Flier, but then the Russians won five straight to turn the tables. Alice Blom turned her own game around and sank a couple of spikes to give some momentum back to the Dutch, who pulled level on 7. The two sides traded blows back and forth before two spikes by Russia's Shashkova gave them a two-point lead at 15-13. But the Russians pulled away at the crucial moment thanks to a couple of Dutch errors. They finished the set off with a good block by Maria Borodakova on Flier that set up setpoint, followed by excellent defensive work that ended with a Shashkova spike down the middle.
There was nothing to choose between the two teams at the start of the third set, but the Dutch were struggling to find their best form and they were making errors. Coach Avital Selinger was forced to call a timeout as his team fell to 11-7 and were finding it hard to make their big guns -- Flier and Chaine Staelens -- effective. After Marina Akulova had finished her run of serves from just before the first TTO, the Russians had taken six straight points and were up 13-8. After a brief one-point respite from Chaine Staelens, the Russians continued pulling away and the score was soon 21-13.
Top scorer Shashkova then brought the curtain down on the match with two climactic spikes.