Netherlands, Russia win thrilling five-setters on day 2 at Japan 2018


Dutch players triumphant after scoring against Japan

Lausanne, Switzerland, September 30, 2018 – Russia and the Netherlands provided for an exciting end to the second competition day of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship, winning their thrilling five-set encounters with Thailand and hosts Japan, respectively.

The Dutch remained the only unbeaten team in Pool A in Yokohama. Cheered on by almost eight thousand spectators, Japan clearly outscored their European rival (114 to 105), but the Netherlands snatched three of the sets by the narrowest of margins and leveled the all-time head-to-head record in major world-level competitions to 10 wins each.

Lonneke Sloetjes added 20 points to her tally of 36 from Saturday’s match to retain the top position in the tournament’s best scorers’ chart. In the game with Japan, however, she was outscored by teammate Anne Buijs (21) and Japan's Ai Kurogo (25) and Sarina Koga (23).

After winning over Korea in five sets on day 1 of the World Championship, Thailand were close to delivering a sensational upset of the most decorated team in the history of the competition. The Asian side were two sets ahead in their Pool C game with Russia, but the Russians came back to hammer out a 3-2 victory.

A huge blocking effort on both sides of the net resulted in 15 stuffs for Russia and 10 for Thailand. Responsible for seven of those, Russia’s Irina Koroleva leads the current best blockers’ ranking with a total of 13 (1.63 per set), while Nataliya Goncharova tallied as many as 30 points to become the day’s best scorer across all pools.

Russia's Natalya Goncharova, Sunday’s best scorer at the World Championship, delivers against Thailand

Other Sunday highlights:
• Tetori Dixon and Sarah Wilhite scored five and four serving points, respectively, towards a team total of 13 aces that helped USA master a devastating straight-set win over World Championship rookies Trinidad & Tobago. 11 stuff blocks also contributed to the defending champs’ second 3-0 win in Pool C.
• With the help of 14 blocking points, South American powerhouse Brazil also registered their second straight-set victory in Pool D to maintain an impeccable record of 20 wins out of 20 encounters with the Dominican Republic in major world-level competitions.
• Mexico recovered from their first-day loss to Cameroon with a three-set win over Argentina in Pool A, their first World Championship victory since 1982. Mexico’s Samantha Bricio aced five times in the match.
• Azerbaijan bounced back from their opening match defeat in Pool C to claim a four-set victory over Korea with Polina Rahimova on fire with 24 points, including three aces.
• Puerto Rico did it again! Just like the previous three times they played at the World Championships, they recovered from a straight-set loss in their first match with a straight-set win in their second. This time, persevering through the opponents’ great blocking effort (13 stuffs), the Caribbean squad shut out Kazakhstan in their Pool D encounter.
• Turkey outserved China by six aces against none, but failed to win any sets in their Pool B encounter. The Olympic champs capitalized on the 24 unforced errors the 2018 VNL runners-up made, and registered their second victory in Sapporo.
• Italy and Serbia achieved their second consecutive three-set victories at Japan 2018 shutting out Canada and Kenya, respectively. Bulgaria and Germany also mastered straight-set wins on Sunday defeating Cuba and Cameroon, respectively.

Mexico’s Samantha Bricio scored five aces against Argentina for her team’s first World Championship win since 1982

Match Centres:

Stephanie Enright and Daly Santana, Puerto Rico's best scorers against Kazakhstan

The third competition day in Japan on Monday features a set of six fixtures to be played in Pool A in Yokohama and Pool D in Hamamatsu, while Pools B and C have a day off.

Match Centres for Monday, 1 October:


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