Powerful Zhang Changning tallied a match-high 37 points and China led Belgium in attacks, but it was not enough to secure a victory on Sunday as the European side outlasted the reigning Olympic champions in epic five sets in the 2021 FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy.
The magnificent come-from-behind 3-2 (17-25, 27-25, 23-25, 25-21, 15-8) win handed Belgium the historic victory over China in the FIVB competitions aside from their fourth win in the top-tier competition.
Britt Herbots chipped in with 28 points including 26 attacks for Belgium, while Zhang Changning, a key player who joined the 2016 Rio Games Olympics-winning team, became the China’s top scorer with 37 points. Yang Hanyu and Wang Yuanyuan kept good company to score 15 points apiece.
Belgium had 4 wins against 3 losses to bag 9 points, while China claimed 3 wins and dropped 4 matches for an aggregate 10 points.
China’s Zhang Changning said at the virtual mixed zone: “I have to thank all my teammates, because they gave me a lot of power and they encouraged me. It was a hard game, but we never give up, we fought until the end. We struggled a bit in reception and our block could be better, too. We have to practice to improve our game ahead of the next game.”
Ilka Van De Vyver of Belgium said: “It was amazing, it feels really good to earn such a victory. We knew that we have to push a lot with our service not to let them play all these combinations and we did it. We improved our block-defence a lot today, we dared to play more than before I think. We kept on fighting and that’s a thing we always have to do. Today it worked with five sets, so it looks like we love five-setters – it’s just a way to be as long as possible away from the hotel [laughing].”
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