Nagoya, Japan, September 9, 2017 – Zhang Changning top scored with 16 points to help China defeat Russia 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-20) and stay unbeaten in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Grand Champions Cup at the Nippon Gaishi Hall on Saturday.
Zhang had 14 attacks, a block and an ace. Zeng Chunlei, Zhu Ting and Yuan Xinyue acted as Zhang’s support crew, as they combined for 33 points to secure China’s straight-set win. Kseniia Parubets led Russia with 11 points.
China marked the 100th match of the World Grand Champions Cup with a straight-set win – their second in the 2017 edition. They are still unbeaten after four matches and only need two more victories to win the title.
Russia were strong-willed and tied the score at 19-all, but China outpaced them and scored the next five points before an exchange of spikes closed the opening set at 25-20. Kosheleva tried to keep Russia going in the second set, but China had better outputs from Zeng and Zhang to win again at 25-18. China played with great consistency throughout the match, which helped them complete the sweep.
China coach An Jiajie: I’m happy with the win today. Russia are a very strong team, so we prepared well for this match. They played all-out volleyball and used some of their younger players. I thought we were flexible with our blocking and reception and also were aggressive with our serve. We still have some shortcomings but these are things we will sort out. In this competition, we play a different kind of team every day, so depending on the opposition we see different faults within our own game. We would like to be a more balanced team.
China captain Zhu Ting: Today, our blocking and reception were good and as an attacking player I did my best. There are still teams better than us out there and we want to learn from them and become a better team, and I want to learn from the many great players in China and become a better player myself.
Russia coach Vladimir Kuziutkin: As coach, I have been watching all the games, including those of China, and I am reminded that China is the best prepared team for this tournament. All the Chinese players have great talent and I was grateful today that they fielded a strong team. We used players who hadn’t played before and we fought hard.
The younger players got good experience from today’s game but they are not yet good enough to compete against a team like China. Following the Olympics last year, we are now preparing for the World Championship, but to win such a competition you must have experienced players and two or three young players. So, we’re trying to give our younger players experience so they can grow.
Russia captain Ekaterina Kosianenko: We got off to a good start in the match and as a team we were raring to go but unfortunately we couldn’t win. Today, we used players who hadn’t been able to play so far. The whole team were up for this challenge but the result was very disappointing. China is very well organised as a team. This is possible because of their good serve reception, which enables the setter to set up good attacks.
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