Netherlands stun Russia in five-setter to claim bronze


Netherlands celebrate their victory over Russia, winning their second WGP medal in nine years

Bangkok, Thailand, July 10, 2016 – The Netherlands prevailed in five sets (18-25, 23-25, 30-28, 25-21, 15-9) over Russia to claim the bronze medal in the 2016 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix Finals at Indoor Stadium Huamark on Sunday.

Lonneke Sloetjes top scored for the Netherlands with 24 points, including 21 spikes and three blocks, while Nataliya Goncharova scored a match-high 29 points on a losing effort.

Russia initially dominated the first set to lead 15-8, as Goncharova led their attack, while her team-mates sealed the net with solid blocks. Sloetjes led the charge to help the Dutch side reduce the gap 19-15, but the Russian block was too powerful to overcome and resulted to a 25-18 Russian win in the opening set.

Russia took the upper hand in the second set, as Goncharova and Yana Schcherban exploited the weaker Dutch defence. The Netherlands persistently scored to cut the Russian lead to 24-22, until the Russians clinched the set 25-23.

The Netherlands were on the lead in the third frame but they lost their momentum towards the end of the set, as Russia made two crucial blocks on the Dutch outside spikers to gain a one-point advantage at 23-22. The succeeding plays had a series of deadlocks and lead changes but the Netherlands managed to gain the two-point edge 30-28.

The Netherlands led from start to finish in the fourth set 25-21 to extend the match to a tie-breaker. They continued to show excellent form in the deciding set, which led to their set and bronze medal victory at 15-9. 


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