Judith Pietersen led the Netherlands' 3-2 win over Serbia
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 14, 2016 – The Netherlands reigned over Serbia in the all-European match-up in Pool B of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games women’s volleyball competition, with a 3-2 (25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 18-25, 15-8) win at Maracanazinho on Sunday.
Judith Pietersen led the Netherlands with 20 points, while Lonneke Sloetjes added 18 that fortified the Dutch offence. Robin De Kruijf took care of the net defence of the Netherlands with five stuff blocks. Serbia, on the other hand, were led by Jovana Brakocevic, who tallied 16 points.
The Netherlands were off to a good start as they dictated the tempo in the first two sets. Sloetjes unleashed powerful attacks against the Serbian defence, but their counterparts found some hope with the entry of Brakocevic in the second set. Brakocevic scored vital points in the second set, but the Dutch defence fairly responded to the challenge and took a 2-0 set advantage over the Serbians at 25-22 and 25-20, respectively.
The Serbians found some breathing space in the third frame, as Brakocevic sparked their offence to lead 16-8. The Netherlands recovered from the setback with an 8-3 run to trail 19-16, but Serbia managed to contain it and won the set 25-22. Serbia still got the breaks in the fourth set as their block defence was set to high gear, while Brakocevic continued to score. Serbia extended the match to a tie-breaker at 25-18.
Serbia encountered setbacks on their reception and attack that allowed their rivals to take a commanding lead of 9-3 in the deciding set. The Netherlands’ match scoring leader Pietersen found the open court and scored more for her team, while the Serbian attack mostly landed outside the line. The Dutch led 13-8 when Sloetjes nailed the attack and a Serbian service error closed set and match 15-8.