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China suffers opening loss in men's volleyball
Updated: 2005-08-12 09:03

IZMIR, Turkey, August 11 (Xinhua) -- China lost to Belgium 27-25, 25-21, 21-25 and 25-20 at the 2005 Universiade men's volleyball preliminaries opening here on Thursday.

Belgium started strongly in the Group D match, jumping to a 5-2 lead in the opening set. China gradually got their offense going and surged ahead 11-8 with a 9-3 run.

However, the Chinese suddenly lost steam after holding the advantage to 20-16. The Europeans staged a 7-1 run from then on to overtake the lead at 23-21. China beat off three set points to tie it at 25-all, but Jan Devoldre finally clinched the opener for Belgium with an ace.

After the two sides split the second and third sets, the Belgians took control in the fourth as they destroyed China's reception with strong services. Trailing most of the way by more than five points, China pulled within 20-17 late in the set, but that's the closest it could get.

"I think my team is fresher than the Chinese side, they looked a little bit tired on the court," said Belgian head coach Claudio Gewehr.

"I am happy that we won, but I think we still lack consistence during the match," Gewehr added.

Despite the loss, China head coach Ma Wenji thought his side would play better in the next games.

"I think this Chinese team is competitive, but the players are young and they just can not hold on at crucial points," Ma said.

"We also made too many errors in serving today," he added.

Devoldre showed terrific form as he made 24 of his 32 killing attempts to lead Belgium with 28 points while Bran Van Ohelue added 10.

The Chinese were led by Liu Rende's 15 points.

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