Yokohama, Japan, October 3, 2018 - Lonneke Slöetjes led the Netherlands to a fourth straight victory at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship on Tuesday, racking up 23 points as Jamie Morrison’s side beat Argentina 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-22) to maintain their 100 percent start to the competition.
Captain Maret Balkestein-Grothues was also amongst the points at Yokohama Arena, delivering 11, including 10 spikes, to ensure the Netherlands kept their place at the top of the Pool A rankings.
Elina Rodriguez was the main contributor to Argentina’s resistance, contributing 12 points - three of which came from aces - but she was unable to prevent the South Americans from falling to a fourth consecutive straight sets loss at this year’s competition.
The Netherlands came into this game having won their first three matches at a World Championship for the first time ever, and they made it clear from the first set that they were determined to extend that streak in this game. Slöetjes and Balkestein-Grothues top-scored with five points apiece, but it was aces from Yvon Belien and Laura Dijkema to make it 19-12 and 21-14, respectively, that enabled them to pull away before a Slöetjes spike made wrapped up the set 25-17.
Un-returnable serves were again crucial for the Netherlands at the start of the second set, with Slöetjes delivering back-to-back aces to make it 5-3, although Argentina showed they were not only on the court to make up the numbers and went to-to-toe with the girls in orange, captain Emilce Sosa putting Guillermo Orduna’s side 17-16 ahead with a fantastic spike. Even so, the Netherlands kept their resolve, and after a Nicole Oude Luttikhuis block delivered set point Slöetjes was again on hand with a spike to make it 2-0.
Despite being two sets down Argentina showed fantastic fighting spirit in the third set, taking an 8-7 lead into the first technical time out and keeping pace all the way to 15-15, when a Josefina Fernandez ace restored parity to ensure a clean sweep was no foregone conclusion for the Netherlands. Marrit Jasper then spiked to put Netherlands 16-15 up at the second TTO though, before Belien blocked to deliver match point, and even though Argentina put up one more point Jasper made sure of the 25-22 win with another spike on the next play.
This victory ensured Netherlands have now won five World Championship games in a row, including their final match at the 2014 competition, and they will be aiming to extend that run even further on Thursday when they take on Mexico. The same day Argentina will close out their group stage commitments against Cameroon.