A second Dutch victory in the Volleyball Nations League 2022 caused a significant change at the top of the standings with three-time defending champions the United States taking the first place from Japan in the early stages of Week 3 in Calgary, Canada, on Wednesday.
Surprising Dutch victory removes Japan from top of the standings
Three-time defending champions the United States are the new leaders of the VNL
Gepubliceerd 07:20, 30 jun. 2022
Ranked 14th in the VNL, the Netherlands generated arguably the biggest upset of this year’s edition so far with their 3-2 (23-25, 25-20, 24-26, 25-21, 15-10) win over Japan, which took down the last undefeated team in the event.
The upset allowed the Americans, who topped Belgium in straight sets (25-16, 25-21, 25-19), to catch Japan, with each team now on eight victories and 24 points. The USA took top spot because of their better set ratio (six to 3.71).
The Japanese weren’t able to extend their winning streak in the VNL 2022 to nine matches despite the excellent performance of team captain and star outside hitter Sarina Koga, who left the court as the top scorer of the match with 31 points (all in kills).
The Dutch, who had claimed their only win so far in the VNL in their last match in the second week against Korea, benefited from a more collective approach in offence, which led to all five starting hitters ending the match with 16 points or more. The Europeans also dominated the game at the net, outscoring the Asians in blocks by 16 to two.
Anne Buijs Top Plays vs. Japan
“I’m so happy and so proud of my team,” Buijs commented. “Everybody did a great job today, including our substitutes and the coaching staff. We put a lot of effort and worked really hard in defence and we were very brave in offence. It took us a little while to adjust to their speed and their combinations, but we felt we were playing well in the first set even though we lost it. It’s a big win for us and it will for sure help us a lot with our confidence.”
“Winning this match brought a really good feeling to us,” Timmerman reacted. “We didn’t start the first two weeks well and now we managed to win two matches in a row. Japan have a really fast offence and I think one of the keys was serving well, it really helped us.”
Eline Timmerman Top Plays vs. Japan
The victory has kept the Dutch hopes of qualifying for the Final Phase alive and their next match in Calgary will be on Thursday, against Türkiye, at 14.00 local time (20.00 GMT). Japan will be back on the court on Friday, also against the Turkish.