The Netherands celebrate their first World Grand Prix victory of the new season
Porec, Croatia, July 3, 2015 – The Netherlands and the Czech Republic opened up their campaigns in the new season in Group 2 of the FIVB World Grand Prix 2015 with a four-set battle. The Dutch survived a tough opposition from their first Pool J rival in Porec, Croatia to gain the three points with a 3-1 (25-17, 23-25, 26-24, 25-18) victory. Judith Pietersen contributed 22 points to top the scorers’ chart of the game, but it was substitute Anne Buijs who came in during the second set to score some decisive points and shine with a total of 17, as many as the Czech Republic’s most prolific players – Michaela Mlejnkova and Helena Havelkova.
The first set was going very close through 7-7, but then the Netherlands achieved a terrific run for 15-7. The Czechs tried fighting back with some good scoring efforts from Helena Havelkova and Tereza Vanzurova, but the Dutch team stayed out of reach and Judith Pietersen put the ball on the floor for the final 25-17. The Czech team reacted swiftly and broke away to a 10-6 lead in the second set, keeping up the gap pretty much throughout the rest of the set. However, the Dutch were able to save a couple of match points before finally giving in at a minimal deficit of 23-25.
In set 3, the Dutch looked like a sure winner at 24-19, but the Czechs stormed back into contention by cancelling out all five set points to tie the score at 24-24. However, with two consecutive points by substitute Anne Buijs, the Netherlands prevailed to close the set at 26-24 and convert it into a 2-1 lead. The fierce battle continued through the second technical time-out, with neither team able to work up a solid advantage. But then the Dutch ladies exploded to storm to a 25-18 win with Anne Bujis converting the first match point for the victory.
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