China, USA, Russia still top three after second round of World Cup


Title-holders China celebrate their eighth win with Vabo-Chan in Sapporo

Sapporo and Toyama, Japan, September 24, 2019 – China firmed up their grip on the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Cup title as the only remaining unbeaten team at the conclusion of the second round on Tuesday.

China’s Gong Xiangyu soars for a spike against Kenya

China delivered a straight-sets win against Kenya 3-0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-14), with Gong Xiangyu (13 points) and Li Yingying (11 points) leading the charge. 

USA and Russia join the Rio 2016 Olympic champions in the top three after two rounds of competition. 

The American side bested the Dominican Republic in straight sets 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-9) in Site A at Sapporo’s Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Centre. 

USA attacked and served well, and made it difficult for their opponents to convert points. The Dominicans tried to play to their strengths, especially towards the final stretch of the first two sets, but USA played more steadily, running their system even in transition.

Andrea Drews scored 23 points in USA’s win, but found a tough challenge in playing against their NORCECA counterparts. 

“The Dominican Republic are not a team to be taken lightly and they have caused a lot of teams some problems in this tournament. They get better every time we see them, so I think it was what we can do on our side to control some little plays and kind of clean things up. I give credit to them because there were some really good things throughout the match that challenged us,” said Drews. 

The last match in Toyama saw Russia retain the third spot after a 3-0 match (26-24, 25-18, 25-20) against the Netherlands.

The Dutch side initiated a tight, fast-paced offence with their efficient passing in the first set, which found the Russians scrambling to find their rhythm. Coach Sergio Busato made a key substitution and brought in second setter Tatiana Romanova. Russia staged a rally to recover at 22-22 and closed out with the help of Irina Koroleva’s blocks. 

Russia firmed up their backcourt and varied their offence, working the pipe for Nataliya Goncharova. The Netherlands showed they could keep up, playing Anne Buijs and Lonneke Sloetjes on attack. Russia continued to play well in defence up front and on the second line, which helped them dominate the match for their seventh win. 

In Sapporo’s main event, Brazil defeated hosts Japan in straight sets 3-0 (25-14, 25-21, 25-23). Gabi Guimaraes (16 points), Lorenne Teixeira, and captain Fabiana Claudino (12 points) were the leading scoring trio in Brazil’s win.

In the first match on Tuesday, Korea picked up win number four, taking 3-1 (25-21, 25-18, 15-25, 25-23) over Serbia in Site B Toyama. 

Second setter Hye Seon Yeum got the start from coach Stefano Lavarini, and orchestrated Korea’s fast-paced offence against the Serbians. The Asian side also made good use of their blocks to take the 2-0 edge. By the third set, Serbia fought back, with Ana Bjelica, Jelena Blagojevic and Katarina Lazović on attack. 

Serbia stood close by the fourth set, but Korea captain Kim Yeon Koung helped deliver the points and the leadership to close out with victory. 

Korea’s Hye Seon Yeum sets the Mikasa

Also in Toyama, Argentina bounced back from two sets behind to take the tie-break (21-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-20,15-12) against Cameroon.

Lucia Fresco, who admitted to struggling in Argentina’s previous encounter with the tall Russian squad, stood out to deliver a stellar performance with 32 points. Meanwhile, Cameroon's Laetitia Moma Bassoko scored 23 points in the loss. 

The competition heads to a travel and recovery break, as all 12 teams transfer to Osaka for the final round. Matches resume Friday, September 27 at Maruzen Intec Arena and Edion Arena.