Beijing, China, March 19, 2017 — Shanghai Golden Age made an incredible history on Sunday after winning their 13th title at the 2016-17 China Men’s Volleyball League following a hard-fought 25-23, 22-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-9 win over Beijing Auto.
After losing twice to Shanghai, Beijing learned that they had nothing to lose but win the match in front of home fans. However, reigning champions Shanghai were just too strong, proving their talents to go up against second-placed Beijing Auto again.
At the very beginning of the first set, Shanghai took an advantage of the dismal start of Beijing. But their rhythm did not last too long as Beijing turned the tide for a three-point lead 11-8, benefiting from some excellent serves from foreign player Sander. Beijing maintained their momentum to contribute more points to the team’s tally until Shanghai caught up and took the lead 21-20 to finally win the closely-contested set 25-23.
The second set saw both teams initially trade points until Beijing pulled away to a 11-8 lead and managed to keep control through the whole set. With the perfect fits among the two foreign players, Oreol and Sander, and rising star Jiang Chuan, Beijing eventually closed out the set 25-22.
The third set was tight from the start and leads changed hands for several times. Shanghai regained their composure to take a slim 14-11 lead, with their frontline being persistent offensively and defensively. They continued to roll on their aggression from their wing spikers to snare the set 25-22.
Shanghai opened up with attacks in the fourth set, attempting to make possible least unforced errors and lead 8-6. The on-going battle was so tight that the score was tied for several times 8-8, 12-12, 16-16, 21-21 and 22-22. Beijing went on their onslaughts to keep the audience under their feet. The host side widened the gap by a two-point and still performed well at the final assault to win the set 25-23.
In the decider, Beijing maintained their poise to lead 4-2 at the very beginning. However, Shanghai stormed back with terrific serving and precise attacking. Although the determined Beijing did not want to give up easily, Shanghai proved steadier to capture the tie-breaker 15-9 for an eventual 3-2 win.
Shanghai’s foreign player Grozer topped the scoring charts with 36 points, while Conte contributed 20 points. Imported Oreol led Beijing with 27 points.
Shen Qiong, former captain of the China men’s national squad, had already achieved great success since he helped Shanghai win consecutive 9 titles from 2004 to 2012 seasons. The 36-year-old on Sunday added another gold medal to his list of outstanding achievements.
“Probably, tonight could be our last chance. We have already lost the match at home on Thursday. If we allowed our rivals a one-week period for adjustment, I think we could not win the crown,” Shen said.
Shanghai have won the Chinese Men’s National League title for 13 times since 1999. The team dominated from 1999 to 2000, and a long title-winning streak in 2003 to 2012. After missing the title in 2013 and 2014 to Beijing, they redeemed themselves in the 2015 to 2017 seasons.