BRITT HERBOTS LEADS BELGIUM TO VICTORY OVER KOREA IN VNL OPENER
Ningbo, China, May 15, 2018 – Led by a brilliant all-round performance from Britt Herbots, Belgium made history by being the first women’s team to win a match at the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-21) win over Korea on Tuesday.
Herbot finished with a game-high 16 points from 14 spikes,1 block and one ace as the Europeans made the perfect start to the VNL, collecting maximum points in front of a thoroughly entertained crowd at the Beilun gymnasium in the Chinese city of Ningbo.
Kaja Grobelna was also superb in scoring 14 points while Celina Van Gestel chipped in with 11.
Belgium, ranked equal 13th in the world, had lost their last 11 matches in a row at world level but produced one of their best performances in years to surprise the 10th-ranked Koreans with a potent blend of attack and defence.
Korea made a confident start to the match, winning the first three points after back-to-back spikes from Yeon-koung Kim, but the 2014 Asian Games champions were unable to shake off the Europeans.
Kim Yeon-koung led her team with 15 spikes (15-35) and was well supported by Jaeyeong Lee, who finished with 10 points.
With Belgium coach Gert Vande Broek roaring on his players from courtside, the Yellow Tigers hit the front for the first time at 12-11 then surged away to win the opening set in strong fashion after a series of thrilling rallies that had the crowd on its feet.
Putting Korea under constant pressure from the front and back of the court with some spectacular digs, Belgium took control of the second set from the outset, racing to a 23-16 lead after another block from the athletic Herbots.
But the Koreans, who had contributed to their own plight with some loose serving, reeled off six points in a row to put Belgium under pressure for the first time only for the Yellow Tigers to regain their composure to close out the set for a 2-0 lead.
After struggling to get past the Belgian block in the first two sets, the Koreans began to find some success early on in the third but the Yellow Tigers once again took control with Manon Stragier sealing the victory with an ace.
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