Yokohama, Japan, Sep 15 : Powerhouse China defeated Cameroon 25-18, 25-14, 25-19 to register a 2-0 record at the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup here on Sunday.
Compared with the opener, the defending champion sent on a completely different starting line-up, which features opposite hitter Zeng Chunlei, wing spikers Li Yingying and Liu Xiaotong, middle blocker Wang Yuanyuan and Zheng Yixin, setter Yao Di and libero Lin Li.
"We decided to send our young players on the court to give them chances to get accustomed to the arena and international games. We had some fluctuations during the match, and we were slow in reading the opponents' tactics," Chinese head coach Lang Ping said in a press conference.
Both sides were troubled by errors in the first set, especially in the serve. The score seesawed until Liu Xiaotong's three aces helped China to establish a 19-15 lead and carried on the momentum to claim the first set 25-18.
China took varied attacking approaches in the set targeting the weakness of Cameroon's defense and earn the set point 24-14 following a 9-2 run. Although captain Christelle Tchoudjang managed to save two of the set points with her spike, the gap was too large to close as Zeng Chunlei fired to put China two sets ahead.
The African champion rallied back in the third set leading 7-1. Shaking off a sluggish start after being 4-11 down, China initiated a 6-0 run and headed into the second technical break leading 16-15. The game turned gruelling thereafter, but China was sharper in spikers after 19-19 with Li Yingying scoring three points in a 5-0 sprint.
Coach Lang praised the 19-year-old Li, who scored game-high 22 points.
"Li Yingying gives more stable performance this year than during the World Championship when she debuted on the global stage. She has made progress and is on the way to become an all-rounder, so we would like to give her more chances at international competitions," she said.
Despite the defeat, Cameroon coach Jean Rene Akono Bekono was happy to see his team improving on their thrashing defeat to Russia in the opener."The result was not good, but we played better than yesterday. One of our targets here is to get better each match and the target was met today," the 52-year-old said.China will seek a third consecutive win against its old rival Russia on Monday while Cameroon taking on the Dominican Republic.
"I think the Dominican Republic is similar to us in term of physical abilities, but very good in techniques, so we hope to get inspiration from them," coach Bekono said.