Bangkok, Thailand, May 26, 2021 – Reigning Olympic champion China rallied past Korea 3-1in the first round of the 2021 FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy on Tuesday.
China’s captain Zhang Changning had a game-high 23 points in her team’s 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-18) victory over Korea. Her teammates Liu Yanhan and Li Yao added 15 and 14 points respectively.
For Korea, Lee Soyoung contributed her team’s best 16 points, while veteran Kim Yeon Koung grabbed 14.
The Olympic champions were shocked by their Korean opponents at the beginning of the first set. Despite bouncing back after the second timeout, they eventually failed to save the set point.
Both sides exchanged leading spike for spike in the tough opening of the second set. But the game changed near the end of the set when Zhang Changning found her momentum to lead the pace.
The next two sets became a showcase of Zhang, Liu and Li’s outstanding spiking abilities. The Koreans put up a fight but ultimately could not hold off China’s charge.
Korea’s captain Kim Yeon-Koung: “In our first set of the VNL we started very well. After that, in the second, we were unable to control the game – especially because our service was a bit easier than in the first set. It was a difficult game for us. We are very excited to be here, as we didn’t play for a long time due to the coronavirus. We have many things to improve, especially service and block. I hope we manage to do it tomorrow.”
Zhang Changning: “In the first set we were a little bit nervous. We felt a lot of pressure on ourselves, but we had good cooperation and we carried each other. We are very excited and must do our best also in the next games.”
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