Volleyball News


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 6, 2016 – The Netherlands edged China in five sets 3-2 (25-23, 21-25, 18-25, 25-22, 15-13) in a match of Pool B at the women’s volleyball tournament of Rio 2106 Olympic Games on Saturday.

Lonneke Sloetjes finished with 24 points as the main scorer for the winning squad, followed by Anne Buijs and Robin DeKruijf who had 13 and 11 points. China’s Zhu Ting had 21 points in the losing cause, while Gong Xiangyu added 11 in the loss.

China held the advantage in blocks 15-9 and also in serves 6-3 but the winners got the top hand in spikes 67-61.

The Dutch side took the close first set spearheaded by Buijs and Sloetjes, who commanded the scoring with 7 and 6 points.

China used their high blocking to dominate the second set from the start and did no gave the opponent any chance to get back into the game with Xu Yunli and Yang Ni leading the defence at the net.

The big serves by China translated into more solid blocks in the third set despite the consistent attacks by Buijs and Sloetjes.

Sloetjes scored key points to maintain the Netherlands with a slight lead after an evened score at 18-18, but at the end it was Celeste Plak with two big spikes who gave the Europeans the fourth set.

It was a fantastic tie-breaker with both sides battling hard for the victory. At 12-12, a China’s attack sailed long and Sloetjes scored for a two-point lead and Netherlands closed the fifth set 15-13.

Giovanni Guidetti, Coach of The Netherlands: Basically this is a victory that helps the self confidence of our players but our main goal is to move to the second round and continue battling after that. Every match is like a final for us, so this victory means two points in our plan.

Lang Ping, Coach of China: Our players are very young and we believe they all have a promising future. I think their lack of experience showed in the fifth set when they made some costly mistakes. Hopefully they obtain the experience. The key for them is to stay calm and learn from the matches.

On being the only female coach:

I love volleyball and continue coaching. I hope we have more female coaches in the future

Laura Dijkema, Player of The Netherlands

On the turning point of the match:

“Both teams struggled on the serve in this match. The key point in the final set was when the players stood up by making a lot of good passes and good attacks. That made the difference in this match.”

On their feeling in the final plays in the fifth set:

“In the final moments of the fifth set, we got that feeling that we can do it. It’s good that we didn’t lose our focus because earlier we were getting scared but it’s good that we kept our confidence.”

On Giovanni Guidetti’s instructions in the huddle:

“Giovanni told us to keep our confidence in ourselves and I think that changed everything.”

Anna Buijs, Player of The Netherlands

On her first Olympics:

“It feels really amazing. Playing against China who are always going for the medals and the Netherlands coming here for the first time in 20 years, it was really a tough match. In the first set we started out great, and the second and third our level went down a lot in service and reception, but in the end we kept on fighting and we won. It’s really great and I am really proud to be part of this team.”

On Giovanni Guidetti’s instructions in the huddle:

“I think he is helping us with the tactics. We had to adjust because China started responding to our plays and we had to change a little bit, but in the end it’s all about the fighting spirit.”

On the Brazilian crowd support:

“That was amazing. I want to thank the fans for that. My family is here and for the fans to be cheering ‘Holland, Holland, Holland’ really gave me goose bumps, so this made it extra special.”