Montreux, Switzerland, June 4, 2016- The last game of the fifth day at Pierrier Sports Hall in Montreux showcased an incredible game between the two Olympic teams, China and The Netherlands. The favourites fought an incredible battle which lasted for 5 sets where China walked with the ticket to the final winning 3-2 (20-25, 25- 23, 23-25, 25- 20 and 15-9).
China started off the first set extremely well, but the strong Dutch side weren’t slow to respond and later to catch-up with the Asian side. The Netherlands took their first timeout when their formation didn’t answer Coach Gil’s expectations as they made plenty of reception errors which later The Netherlands levelled at 9-9 forcing the Chinese side to take their first timeout. During mid-set, the Dutch Buijs used her powerful spike that led her team to lead by a point against powerful China. The Dutch side later went ahead with the support of Buijs and young Celeste’s attacks and blocks winning the first set of the last semi-final game by 25-20.
The excitement continued in the next set as the Dutch’s started off with rapid spikes piercing through the Chinese defence, however with constant attack errors and aiming outside the court cost the Dutch side much needed points to take lead when the scoreboard hit CHN 8-4 NED. The Dutch held on with excellent attacks made by Buijs where she attempted to help her team to stay on set and continue with their hard work. Both teams reached a tie at 20-20, later a long rally occurred first with Plak’s excellent spike and later Dutch Captain Piertesersen’s spike too allowed them to lead by two points ahead. However, China recovered and made a quick comeback winning the set with their Captain Ruoqi Hui’s excellent block.
The Netherlands started off well with long rallies, but reception errors made by the Dutch side enabled the Asian side to come to a tie at 4-4. The head-on clash continued and two challenge requests were asked by the Chinese coach. Robin De Kruijf came in to the limelight with her excellent striking spikes which led her team to lead at 12-9. Chinese Captain Ruoqi Hui’s neat spikes also won points and their chance to continue battling for the ticket to the finals. There was an incredible battle between the two Olympic teams at the end of the set moving point by point for both teams. The Netherlands at the end of the set won by 25-23 when the Chinese side made a reception error. This set had a lacked attacks from the Chinese side despite making less errors, but the lack of attack formation of the team cost them the set.
After the break, China took the lead and even the killing attacks weren’t enough to hold the Dutch side back as they crept back right behind them, later coming to a tie at 6-6. The Dutch side dominated towards mid-set with the help of Piertersen’s attacks which assisted the team to take lead. The remaining course of the game continued with ties and each team leading by a point or falling behind by a point as the two sides played at equal strengths. There was a standstill at the end of the set when a misjudgement was made by the referee, later the challenge system was introduced to see if the Dutch ball was in or out. China in the end won the set by 25-20 which pushed the battle for another set.
The final set was led by Chinese dominance as the Dutch performance plummeted. There were a lot of gaps in the Dutch defence, which assisted China in aiming their attacks precisely and gaining points which lead them closer to a win. China won the set by 15- 9 and the match 3-2 by Xiangyu Gong’s neatly tucked spike. The talented opposite spiker also became the most scorer of the game scoring 26 points which contributed to wining the ticket to the finals to face Thailand.