Hong Kong, China, June 25, 2016 – World number one USA have stretched their winning streak to five matches, overpowering Netherlands in a four-set (25-17, 19-25, 25-17, 25-20) World Grand Prix Group 1 match in Hong Kong on Saturday.
The impressive Lonekke Sloetjes scored a game-high 21 points for Netherlands as they tried to push USA, who lost just their second set in their past nine victories combined in the World Grand Prix.
The beginning of the first set was plagued by errors, but Jordan Larson-Burbach began to find her rhythm and helped her side out to a 13-7 lead. Celeste Plak was in decent form herself but it wasn’t enough for Netherlands as they lost the first set 25-17.
Plak maintained her strong play and Netherlands came firing out in the second set to take an 8-3 lead to the first technical timeout. After a Sloetjes ace, Netherlands led 12-18 and their tournament-leading scorer continued to thrive, helping them to a 25-19 win and to level the match at one set all.
Strong blocking from the USA’s Foluke Akinradewo and Alisha Glass ensured Netherlands couldn’t creep away with an early lead in the third set, and with Akinradewo scoring from the service line and from spikes, they worked out to a 13-8 lead, before maintaining that ascendancy throughout the rest of the set to take it 25-17.
The fourth set was an reasonably even one to begin with as Plak and Larson-Burbach continued to have a strong presence. After being level at 18-18, USA pushed ahead and with Larson-Burbach scoring a team-high 15 points for the match, they took the fourth set 25-20 and the encounter 3-1, claiming their 22nd win in their past 24 matches at the World Grand Prix.