Reigning Olympic champions China, fielding the second-string squad, succumbed to their fifth loss at the 2021 FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy following their stunning four-set loss 22-25, 18-25, 25-20, 22-25 to Serbia on Monday.
China were playing without captain Zhang Changning, one of the key players in the Rio Games-gold-winning team who recorded the all-time fifth-best scoring performance at a VNL match on Sunday with 37 points in the China-Belgium encounter. Belgium saw off the tough rivals in gruelling five sets.
Captain Katarina Lazovic scored a match-high 26 points for Serbia including 22 attacks and 3 aces, while Sara Caric collected 22 points including 20 attacks. Li Yao led China with 13 points, with Yang Hanyu and Liu Xiaotong scoring 12 points apiece.
Serbia’s Katarina Lazovic said at the virtual mixed zone: “I’m proud of my team, because we showed again how we can play after a very difficult and bad game yesterday. We got up and forgot about yesterday focusing on this match. We entered the court with totally different energy and we fought hard. It’s very important.
“We are a young team, China also have a young team, but in important moments we were better and we knew what we can do. In Serbia we have this attitude that we always want to win and always show our best. I wanted to help my team and my team helped me a lot. In the third set we had some moments when we couldn’t find our game. For us service is very important, when we serve well we can do big things, but when we have easy service we cannot play our game. Especially against China who had a perfect reception,” she added.
China did not attend the mixed zone.
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