Head coach Chen Zhonghe once again fielded a line-up including the long-time absentee Zhao Ruirui, who has been out of action for three and a half years due to knee injury, and team captain Feng Kun, also returning from a leg injury sidelining her for the past 2007.
Olympic champions China claimed the second straight win over Cuba in the women's volleyball friendly series between the two teams here in Jinjiang, East China's Fujian Province, February, 25, 2008. China won the match 4-1.
To a thunderous crowd of the 5,000-capacity Jinjiang Sports Center, the home team, who has just finished a two-month closed-door training camp, were never into their match at the start.
Trailing at 15-11, coach Chen sent substitute Liu Yanan onto the court, who caused a lot of trouble to the Cuban girls with her serving and helped the team score six straight points to take over the lead.
The Chinese team looked totally in control in the second and third sets.
Newly rising wing spiker Wang Yimei became the team's top scorer again notching up 15 points, while another wing spiker Xue Ming also compiled a brilliant show-up scoring 11 points.
"Both the starting players and the substitutes played well in the match, but the team still had ups and downs, especially on the key points," Chen said after the match.
Chen added that the series are the start of the Olympic season for the Chinese team and he will use the friendlies as a chance to test the possible line-ups for the Olympics.
The series on Tuesday will be moved to Xiamen for the third clash and after two days' break, the rivalry will be rekindled in Zhejiang's Jiande, followed by the last two matches in Shaoxing and Hangzhou.
Currently there are a total of 19 players in the Chinese side out of which only 12 can make the final roster for the Beijing Olympics.
(Xinhua News Agency February 26, 2008)