China will play Thailand, Germany and USA in the first week of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Group 1 next week
Montreux, Switzerland, June 5, 2016 – China warmed up perfectly for the start of FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Group 1 action next week with an impressive 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-23) win over Thailand in the Montreux Volley Masters final on Sunday.
China and Thailand will play each other again in their opening World Grand Prix match on Friday, having been grouped with USA and Germany in Pool A1 in Ningbo.
However all the focus was on Sunday’s encounter, which was a fast-paced contest of excellence with Rio-bound China proving too good for Montreux debutants and crowd favourites Thailand. The victory was China’s sixth Montreux crown after title winning efforts in 2010, 2007, 2003, 2001 and 1990.
There was an excellent ambience in the sports hall packed with Thai and Chinese fans prepared for a spectacular volleyball show for what was the 31st Montreux final. The spectator area showcased amazing instruments, dancing and chants which gave the experience of a volleyball carnival. Both Asian teams fought with similar playing style and tactics which resulted in excellent long-haul rallies and artistic defence.
FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix 2016 - Media Guide
The first set began with a quick exchange ending in a challenge by Thailand, which the ball was in. Both teams showcased their excellent abilities, handling difficult receptions and landing precise shots. There was excellent rallies and defence made by both teams which was difficult to predict the gold medallists in today’s final. Later, China took full advantage of the height difference using excellent blocks coming ahead by 8-4 and later to lead the set with Xiangyu Gong’s excellent accurate spikes damaging the Thai defence. Chinese captain Ruoqi Hui won the set point with a neatly tucked spike that went off the Thai block which allowed her team to win the first set by 25-14.
The excitement continued in the second set as the pace of the game was even faster as the Thais started off excellently and the Chinese side to equalise at 3-3. China dominated after leading at 7-4 which forced Thai Coach Danai Sriwacharamaytakul to take his first emergency timeout to reinstruct his team to block Chinese attacks. After exchanging tactics with his team, the Thais came to a tie at 9-9. The Chinese side in the meantime used their smart tactical attacks to later take lead at 15-11 again forcing the Thai coach Danai to take his final timeout. Each timeout that was used by the Thai coach Danai, the team improved their play. From there onwards, the Chinese team steamrolled their opponents for the next couple of rallies but winning points with their tall blocks, later to win the set by 25-20.
After the break, Thailand lead at first in the final attempts of saving the set and to continue with the battle to take home the gold medal, leading 4-3 against Olympic Asian team China with the help of talented cheerful wing-spiker Kongyot’s aesthetically beautiful spikes which helped them to lead 8-6. The South East Asian team demonstrated numerous times that even the most difficult of shots they could turn into an advantage for their chance of the Montreux Volley Masters gold medal. China took their first timeout when they fell two points behind as coach Jiajie An had to warn his players, despite being 2-0 ahead in the sets as he didn’t want the game to go on for another set. Meanwhile the skilled Chinese team’s formations started to fall back in to place drawing at 20-20. The game came to a breaking point when Thailand vigorously blocked and swept two points from China but the Chinese weren’t slow to respond with quick striking spikes from Liu Xiatong bringing it to a breath taking tie at 23-23. After continuous attacks, again with Liu Xiatong’s excellent final finishing spike led her Olympic team to become the champions of Montreux Volley Masters 2016.
China finished the game 3-0 winning and the last set 25-23 and taking the gold medal home.
China captain Ruoqi Hui’s striking attacks and spikes made her become the most scorer of the final match scoring 15 points altogether.