Baku, June 14, AZERTAC
A thrilling first day of competition of women’s volleyball peaked with a shock 3-1 win for Netherlands over European champions Russia.
Netherlands, ranked No17 in the world, performed impressively to take the first set 25-19, with Laura Dijkema (NED) blocking well in the Pool B clash.
In a pulsating second set, Russia recovered to win 25-20 before the Netherlands hit back to take the third set 25-22 and closed the game out with a 25-21 fourth set win.
“It’s always good to start with a win so of course we are happy”, said lonneke Sloetjes (NED), who scored 21 points for her team. "We have grown up together and known each other a long time, so we have a great team spirit."
Russian captain Anna Matienko said, “It was a disappointing defeat. We made many mistakes towards the end of the match. The question was not how strong our opponents were, but that we made mistakes.”
In the other evening session game, world No11 Turkey took on Poland in a long and lively Pool A match that featured several lengthy rallies before Poland outlasted the Turks three sets to two shortly after 01:30 Sunday morning.
The Turkish won the first set 25-18, but Poland rallied in the second 26-24. Turkey grabbed the third 25-18 on a Poland floater that soared out of bounds as the Poles served against set point. In the fourth set, Turkey saved three set points before Poland won 25-17.
In the decider, Poland grabbed the first point off the serve and never trailed by more than a point before sealing a 15-11 win for the match against a Turkish team that nearly overpowered the increasingly nervous-looking Poles as the set went to the wire.
In the day’s first session, Serbia dismissed Croatia 3-0 before Italy defeated Belgium by the same scoreline.
The lively afternoon session saw Germany squeeze past Belgium 3-2, before Azerbaijan sent the home crowd wild by defeating Romania 3-1.