June 2, 2023

CHINA – After defeating Japan in a match in Pool D of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship 2022 on Wednesday at the GelreDome in Arnhem by a score of 3-0 (28-26, 25-17, 29-27), China was able to secure a spot in the second pool phase of the competition and move on to the next round.

China is still undefeated in the pool and now holds the first spot in the standings thanks to their perfect record of three victories, nine points, and a 9-0 set ratio. This is sufficient to ensure that they will finish in the top four of the final Pool D standings.

Before the remaining matches in the pool on Wednesday, which are Brazil playing Colombia at 15:00 local time (13:00 GMT) and Argentina playing the Czech Republic at 18:00 (16:00), the Brazilians are in second place with a record of 2-0 and six points, trailed by Japan with a record of 2-1 and also six points, and tied for last place with the winless Czech Republic, Argentina, and Colombia with zero points each. Japan leads the pool. The top four teams in each of the four round-robin pools will move on to the next phase of the event, which will consist of additional pool play.

China’s performance was superior against Japan’s in every aspect of scoring, but the difference was most noticeable in the blocking category, where China had 11 stuffs to Japan’s just two. Outside hitter Li Yingying produced the match high of 19 points, all in offense, to share the top scorer and top spiker honors with her Japanese opponent Arisa Inoue. Middle blocker Wang Yuanyuan stood out with five kill blocks to her record. Arisa Inoue was the top spiker for the Japanese team.

Middle blocker Haruyo Shimamura scored the first break point of the match for a 3-2 lead for Japan, but China responded quickly with five points in a row to bring their score up to 7-3. Opposite Gong Xiangyu scored a couple of aces for 4-3 and 6-3 to help China get back in the match.

China seized control of the match with a four-point series that was capped off by an ace from outside hitter Wang Yunlu for 17-14. Japan fought their way back to even the score at 12-12 thanks to a two-handed overpass kill by setter Nanami Seki, but China ultimately prevailed. A spike by Japan’s opposite Kotona Hayashi brought the score back to 19-19, which then produced a dramatic race for the set. Japan ultimately won the set. It was point for point until into the extra period, until Wang Yunlu’s huge block put an end to it all in China’s favor with a score of 28-26.

Early on in the second set, China took a 4-2 lead and never looked back after establishing their dominance. They were able to entirely control the action with Li Yingying serving as the driving force behind the offense. Producing points in batches of three or four, with one of them being highlighted by an ace from middle blocker and captain Yuan Xinyue for 11-6, the Chinese got off to a large lead and then maintained their momentum to win the set. Wang Yunlu was once again the one to seal the deal with an off-the-block swing, which brought the score to 25-17.

Even in the third set, China got off to a strong start and was able to swiftly extend their lead to 6-3. After suffering an ankle injury after a block, Japan’s captain Sarina Koga had to leave the court at 13-11, just as her team was beginning to make a comeback. This was an unfortunate blow for Japan. However, the event appeared to give her colleagues a burst of confidence, and soon after, they were in the lead with a score of 16-15 after Hayashi had two kills in a row.

They maintained their pressure and increased their advantage to 23-20 until China responded with four in a row, the highlight of which was Gong’s successful swing that gave them a match point at 24-23. Mayu Ishikawa’s ace swung the momentum in Japan’s favor, giving them the set point at 25-24. This attempt, along with two others, was unsuccessful, and the Chinese team went on to win 29-27 thanks to Yuan’s monster block at the next match point.

After the game, Li Yingying reflected on the competition and remarked, “It was a challenging match, but we played really well.” “We arrived in the Netherlands one week prior to the beginning of the competition, so everyone is well prepared and does their task to the best of their ability. This is the reason why we ended up winning the match. My performance in attack was quite strong today, but my serve wasn’t as strong, so I’m hoping it will be stronger in the next match.

The next encounter for China is scheduled to take place on Friday at 14:00 local time against the Czech Republic (12:00 GMT). Japan’s match versus Brazil is scheduled to get underway in a quarter of an hour’s time.

The schedule for Wednesday’s competition in the other pools features a number of fascinating matchups as well. The match between Thailand and Croatia, which was being played in Gdansk’s Pool B, has already been decided, with Thailand coming out on top with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-21) triumph. At 17:30 (15:30), a match between Turkey and the Dominican Republic will take place, and at 20:30, the hosts Poland will play host to Korea (18:30). The Pool A match between the hosts Netherlands and Puerto Rico will get underway at 8:00 PM local time in Arnhem (18:00).

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