Unbeaten USA top China 3-1 in WPV Super 6 showdown

Paralympic Games rivals United States and China clashed on Day 3 of the 2023 WPV Women’s Super 6 at Parc des Sports de Vandoeuvre in Nancy, France. This encounter, which ended with USA winning 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-19), marked their first meeting since the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, where USA clinched the gold medal by defeating China.

China initiated the match with intensity, scoring the first two points, but USA responded with a five-point streak that established a 5-2 lead. The run was interrupted by a critical block from China’s Tang Xuemei, before Heather Erickson’s powerful spikes propelled USA into another offensive surge. China, showing resilience, managed to close the gap and eventually tied the score at 14-all. The set saw multiple ties, culminating in a 23-all deadlock. A decisive spike by Zhang Lijun and a net error by Katherine Bridge handed China a hard-fought 25-23 victory in the opening set.

The second set saw a role reversal, with China taking an early lead before USA caught up, tying the set at 8-all with a strategic put back by Bridge. Despite China maintaining a narrow lead, USA equalised at 14-all and then surged ahead to 18-14. Nicole Nieves’ back-to-back blocks were instrumental in creating a comfortable lead for USA. Erickson’s aggressive swing set up the set point, which was secured by a net touch from China, giving the USA a 25-18 win.

China initially dominated the third set, with Zhang’s precise attacks troubling the USA defence. The USA trailed closely behind, levelling the score at 16-all after a long rally and a smart play by Bridge. Regaining control, USA dictated the pace and maintained their lead. Erickson once again delivered a powerful swing to secure the set point, and an off-the-block hit clinched the set 25-19 for USA.

USA started the fourth set assertively, but China quickly tied the score at 7-all and soon took a three-point lead, propelled by a strong hit from Zhang. A block by Lora Webster equalised the set at 11-all, leading to a series of ties and lead changes as both teams fiercely competed for control. Three consecutive blocks by Bridge shifted the momentum in favour of USA, giving them a 22-18 lead. China remained scoreless until a USA error allowed them a point at 24-19, but a subsequent service error from China handed USA the match victory at 25-19.

USA are the remaining unbeaten squad at the Women’s Super 6, taking pole position in the standings.