China fended off the Dominican Republic’s attempts to come back from two sets down and force a tie-break, eventually wrapping up the match in dramatic four sets for their sixth win in eleven matches at the 2021 FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy.

China, reigning Olympic champions and current world No.3, held a commanding 2-0 (25-14, 25-20) lead, thanks to Zhu Ting’s mighty attacks at the net and tall Yuan Xinyue’s solid blocks. However, the Dominicans clawed their way back to take the third set 25-19 and went on their impressive form in the tight fourth set. China held their nerves and played an impeccable defence, allowing the rivals attacking difficulties. China captured the closely-contested set 25-22 and match.

Zhu Ting chipped in with 16 points for China, while Zhang Changning added 14, Li Yingying 13, Yuan Xinyue 11 and Gong Xiangyu 10. Captain Prisilla Rivera Brens and Paola Pena Isabel Yonkaira handed Dominican Republic respective 20 and 17 points on the team’s losing efforts.

Prisilla Rivera of Dominican Republic said at the virtual Mixed Zone: “I think it was a very interesting match – either side could have won, I think. China played very well today and had very good service at the end of the set. I’m very satisfied with our team performance. It was an opportunity for all players to play and I think it’s very important and I think we will improve in the next games.”

China’s Zhu Ting said: “I think we played well and our blocking made a difference. Tomorrow we will play against Italy and I am sure that coach will prepare us well.”

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