The FIVB Women’s Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Macao 2019, sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) and jointly organized by the Sports Bureau of the Macao SAR Government and the Volleyball Association of Macao, China, concluded today at the Macao Forum. Belgium defeated Thailand in straight sets before China capped a perfect gameweek with victory over Korea.
Belgium defeated Thailand 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-23) in the first match of the day. The intensity level was high at the start of set one as both teams were eager to grab the early advantage. The fans were treated to some spectacular defense on both sides of the net as neither team could to take a two point lead at the second technical time out. Belgium took back control when Marlies manage more than a two-point lead until a back court attack from Celine Van Gestel put Belgium ahead 18-15. Thailand fought back to tie the score at 21-21 but Belgium scored the next four points to take set one 25-21.
The Belgians continued to play well at the start of set two, taking an 8-5 lead at the first technical timeout. But the Thai squad fought back to take a two point lead at the second technical timeout. Belgium took back control when Marlies Janssens served an ace to push her team ahead 23-21. Thailand couldn’t respond and their opponents captured set two 25-22.
The third set was very similar to set one as neither team could take control in the early stages with Belgium having a slim 8-7 lead at the first technical time out. Neither team could grab more than a one-point lead until Amporn Hyapha made a stuff block to give Thailand a 22-20 lead. Belgium fought back and took the lead 24-23 courtesy of a huge kill by Celine Van Gestel. A service ace by Belgium closed out the set and the match.
Kaja Grobelna was the top performer for Belgium with 15 kills, 1 block and 3 aces. Pleumjit Thinkaow led Thailand with 12 kills and 2 blocks.
China then defeated Korea 3-0 (25-21, 25-12, 25-11) Thursday evening at the Macau Forum to make it three wins out of three for the hosts. Zhu Ting made her first start in Macau and she made her presence felt with a number of spectacular kills early on. The sold out crowd was treated to a number of long rallies as both teams battled for control. China had a slim 16-14 lead at the second technical time out but an ace from Zhang Changning and two kills from Zhu Ting helped them increase their lead to 20-16. The teams traded points until China closed out the set 25-21.
Set two saw the Chinese dominate their opponents at the net. Two consecutive blocks by Yang Hanyu and Zhang Changning helped China jump out to an early 9-2 lead. The Koreans brought in a new setter but this failed to make a difference as the Chinese pulled further ahead 18-6. China comfortably took set two 25-12.
Set three saw Yao Di come in as setter for China and she helped her team grab a quick 9-2 lead. The Korean side could do little to slow down their opponents as the Chinese side powered ahead 19-7. Yuan Xinyue came to the service line for the last two points as China captured the third set 25-11.
Zhang Changning was the top performer for China with 11 kills, 3 blocks and 3 aces. Kim Heejin led Korea with 9 kills.
After the conclusion of today’s matches, a ceremony was held to present the “My Favorite Galaxy Star Player and Team Award”. China’s Zhu Ting was voted the most favorite player while her team collected the Team Award. The prizes were presented by Senior Vice President of Public Relations of Galaxy Entertainment Group Buddy Lam. President of the Sports Bureau Pun Weng Kun and Chairman of the Volleyball Association of Macao, China Ma Iao Ian also attended the ceremony.