China’s top scorer was Zhang Chen with 16 points, while Kervin Pinerua led Venezuela with 20 points. China outblocked Venezuela 8-6 and outserved them 10-5.
China improved their record to 3-3, while Venezuela dropped to 1-5.
Both teams struggled to get into any kind of rhythm early on, but Venezuela were struggling more and their attackers needed better service. China stretched their three-point lead at the first technical timeout to six points at the second with a service ace by Zhong Weijun. But a wobble by China – three straight dropped points – prompted coach Zhou Jianan to call a timeout. Venezuela got to within a point after a couple of thumps by Pinerua and then drew level at 17 on a wicked blow by Fernando Gonzalez and a Chinese error. But coach Roberto Garcia called a timeout when China inched ahead 21-18. It had no effect. China scored the final seven points of the set in the face of weak defence from the Venezuelans.
Chen Ping guided China to an 8-5 lead at the start of the second set with three big hits, while Zhong delivered a great service ace. But Venezuela had settled down and were making some big hits to stay close. Zhou called a timeout when the South Americans pulled to within two points at 11-9, but the Venezuelans kept the pressure on and drew level at 16-16. Zhou hauled his players off court again when they fell behind 18-20, but they fell a point further behind after a fabulous blast by Pinerua. China drew level on the back of some good serving by Zhong and Garcia called a timeout at 21-21. The first two setpoints fell to Venezuela but they couldn’t find the extra point to clinch the set. Two Venezuela errors then gave China two setpoints and a good block by Bian Hongmin on Luis Arias put China 2-0 up.
China went off the boil at the start of the third set, while Venezuela continued to play positive volleyball and the South Americans led by five points at the first TTO. But a netted serve by Emerson Rodriguez and some strong serving by China’s Zhong narrowed the gap and Garcia called a timeout at 8-6. It stayed close, partly due to a number of service errors, but Venezuela held on to their lead to the second TTO, when the score was 16-13. A bad serve by Liang Chunlong saw China fall three points behind at 21-18 and Venezula then got hot. Pinerua hit a pair of bombs either side of a huge block by Arias on Yuan Zhi. Rodriguez then smacked a shot down the middle to pull a set back for Venezuela.
Both teams were guilty of errors in the opening stages of the third set, but China had a two-point advantage at the first TTO. After two big hits by Chen and a block by the same player on Pinerua dropped Venezuela four points back at 12-8, Garcia called a timeout. Gonzalez got the message but hit his next spike so hard and high it nearly left the arena. A netted shot by Daniel Escobar gave China a six-point lead at the second TTO and China held on with only a couple of minor concentration problems, mainly facing a strong service spell by Gonzalez. When he put a serve into the net, China had four matchpoints and an errant shot by the same player ended the match.
On the final day, China will face Australia, while Venezuela will meet Serbia.