Volleyball News


Lodz, Poland, June 3, 2018 – Chuan Jiang contributed an incredible 30 points towards China’s 3-2 (16-25, 25-22, 25-21, 16-25, 15-13) upset of pre-favourites France in the last match of the three-day FIVB Volleyball Nations League tournament in Lodz.

After a slow start of “only” three points in the first set, Jiang exploded to fire a total of 26 spikes, two kill blocks and two aces to help his team turn things around against the strong opponent and to become by far the best scorer of the match.

As much as Jiang was practically a “one man show” on the Chinese side of the net, some key points were scored by Jingyin Zhang (total of nine) and Shuhan Rao (eight, including three stuff blocks and one ace) as well.

Kevin Tillie was France’s top scorer with 16 points, while his teammate Thibault Rossard added another 15, three of which directly from the serving line.

France completely dominated the first set of the match, before Jiang led his team to recovery on the way to a 2-1 advantage. France regained control in the fourth set to prompt a decider, in which China came back from a three-point deficit to emerge victorious. This result is China’s second win and France’s second loss in the six legs since the start of the competition

The French managed an early 4-1 lead in the fifth set before China’s first break point of the tie-breaker came from a Jiang ace. The 23-year-old opposite fired one off the opponents’ block for the next break point, levelling the score at 5-5. Even though France managed another two-point lead at the side switch, Jiang responded with a 98.5 km/h back row shot to keep his team within a point.

Jiang levelled it at 9-9 with a successful spike that marked the beginning of a series of three Chinese break points, which gave the team a two-point lead that France could never recover from. Of course, Jiang was instrumental for the remaining points of the sequence, showing off his blocking skills as well. He stopped an attack by Stephen Boyer for 10-9. In the very long next rally the Chinese block prevented Boyer from scoring several times before prompting an error on the French side for 11-9. Jiang scored twice more through the end of the tie-breaker, including the very last point, which fixed the big victory for the Asian squad.

From June 8 through 10, France will entertain Argentina, Korea and Serbia at home, in Aix en Provence, while China take on Russia, Brazil and Iran in the Russian city of Ufa.

China coach Raul Lozano: “I’m happy overall for this weekend because it is important for my boys to play three equally good games. We did it last weekend for the first time in China’s history at the Volleyball Nations League. This pool was difficult as we played against three of the world’s top teams and we played three good matches on a good level. It wasn’t France’s best line-up but they still had a good team. What’s good is that we were able to keep up with them and win.”

China player Jiang Chuan: The French team didn’t play with their best squad because the best players stayed in France. We are a very young team but we were well prepared technically and mentally. Even if we won the game, we still got a lesson from France on how to play in attack and block-defence. I hope that we will continue playing at this level in the coming weeks.”

France coach Laurent Tillie: “We started this match pretty well and later we were not able to play our volleyball. We did some stupid mistakes and then we played under pressure. Now we have to forget about this match and learn from our mistakes. It’s a shame we lost the tie-break because we also started it well. After the second timeout we stopped to play, China blocked us and we made some errors. It’s difficult to play like this. We have to fight until the end.”

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