Netherlands survive early scare to topple Switzerland


Montreux, Switzerland, June 8, 2017- Celeste Plak and Tessa Polder were the stars for the Oranje as they overcame an early one-set deficit to beat hosts Switzerland 3-1 (23-25, 25-14, 25-18, 25-20) and keep their slim hopes of progressing from Pool A alive, thus ending Switzerland’s prospects.

The Dutch looked sloppy in the opening exchanges of the first set, conceding two points cheaply, but quickly recovered their composure to jostle with the Swiss, Maja Storck’s spiking causing the Dutch problems. A Bongaerts block and a stunning rally save kept the Oranje in front temporarily, but there was little respite as Storck and Laura Kunzler’s heavy hitting hauled the Swiss back into it at 13-13, before a Plak spike for the Netherlands went out to give the hosts a lead. The Swiss were winning the defensive battle and Maja Storck was tormenting the Dutch with her superb serves and spiking, the hosts remarkably leading 16-21 going into the closing stages of the set. They were forced to deal with Dutch defiance as they approached set point, but eventually a Kunzler spike saw out the set 23-25 for the hosts to hand them a surprise lead.

The second set started with the Oranje looking to respond, and they duly built a lead of 14-9, Celeste Plak and Tessa Polder  beginning to exert their influence on court with strong spiking and blocking in defence. The Swiss, dazzling in the opening set at times, struggled to find an answer to the new-found cohesion of the Dutch, and it was an academic affair as a set, the Dutch prevailing comfortably 25-14 to level the game in style.  

The third set began in competitive fashion, both sides looking to seize control of the match. Jasper and Stoltenborg landing lovely hits over the net to propel the Oranje into a strong lead, but Storck continued to cause trouble and the Swiss reined the Dutch in to an early 9-9 stalemate. The Dutch weren’t to be denied though, a Polder block and Plak spike giving them more breathing space after two heart-stopping rallies. Yet, the Swiss were still on the heels of the Dutch in the fast and fierce rallies, with some superb last ditch saves from Libero Thays Deprati keeping the hosts in contention. But, the Plak and Polder Dutch duo proved too strong, and they helped the Oranje take the set 25-18 to turn the game around and lead 2-1. 

The Dutch began to motor ahead in the fourth, but the Swiss again fought back to level at 11-11 with a Kunzler spike. Polder’s ace from the serve in response gave the Dutch some much needed breathing space, with Kunzler and Storck still troublesome. The Dutch were able to keep their hosts at arm’s length with a two point lead through much of the set, until they Jasper extended that lead to 18-14 with a spike, and that gave the Dutch the platform they desperately needed. The Swiss remained defiant, but the Dutch advantage was simply too great to overhaul, Celeste Plak putting the final nail in the coffin with a strong spike to end the set 25-20 and seal a 3-1 victory. 

Switzerland’s hopes of progression are now over, whilst the Oranje are relying on Argentina slipping up in their final two games if they are to progress. 


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