The Netherlands came from a set down to stop Germany in four sets, 22-25, 31-29, 25-23, 25-16, to barge back into the win column of the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Friday afternoon at the SMART Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The win released the Netherlands out of the logjam in the middle of the standings as they went up to 4-3.
The world no. 15 side turned it up in the fourth and final set, capitalizing on Germany’s passing problems with strong serves and net defense. The Dutchmen led by as much as six, 14-8, before Nimir Abdul-Aziz finished the set and the match.
Abdul-Aziz exploded for 31 markers to lead the Netherlands, 25 coming from attacks, three coming from blocks, and another three on service aces.
“I’m happy because I don’t think we played our best volleyball,” the Dutch captain admitted. “We continued to fight after the first set. We didn’t play well also in the second set, but we never gave up. That’s the good part of today.”
Germany started well in the first set with setter Wessel Keemink activating all his points of attack. The Germans went ahead and took the set advantage with 25-22, with captain Christian Fromm and Linus Weber catching fire early with six points apiece.
The Netherlands, though, kept it close in the second set and threatened to equalize before the Germans saved several set points. Abdul-Aziz eventually finished it off for the Orange Tulips in that extended 31-29 with two straight service aces.
It was another close affair in the second set with Germany getting slightly ahead at the technical timeout at 12-10. The Netherlands then caught Germany napping in transition to take a 2-1 set advantage.
Outside hitter Grijs Jorna and Bennie Junior Tuinstra provided ample support to their skipper with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Jorna chipped in 10 spikes and a block, while Tuinstra added eight spikes, one block, and one ace.
The Netherlands will try to close the Quezon City leg with back-to-back wins when they face Argentina (1-5) on June 25 at 11 a.m.
Linus Weber fought toe-to-toe with Abdul-Aziz to pace Germany with 25 points on 22 attacks, two blocks, and a service ace. Middle blockers Tobias Krick and Lukas Maase were solid at the net with 12 and 10 points, respectively, with Krick finishing with 11 attacks and a block and Maase getting five spikes and five blocks
Germany slipped to 3-4 and will look to arrest the three-match losing skid against reigning Olympic champions France (5-1) on June 26 at 11 a.m.