Ningbo, China, May 17, 2018 - Yeon Koung Kim and Jaeyeong Lee combined for 32 points as Korea pulled off a stunning 3-0 (25-15, 25-15, 25-13) victory over China on the third night of the inaugural women's FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Thursday.
The two heavy hitters each finished with 16 points with captain Kim making 13 spikes, two blocks and an ace and Lee racking up 14 kills from 33 swings as the Koreans toppled their great Asian rivals for the first time since 2010.
The Koreans showed no sign of weariness despite needing five sets to beat the Dominican Republic 24 hours earlier, with opposite spiker Heejin Kim also playing a prominent role with 10 points in what is the biggest upset so far in the new competition.
China, who had won their two previous matches against Dominican Republic and Belgium in straight sets, struggled from the outset in the absence of many of their key senior players, including their inspirational captain Zhu Ting.
Xinyue Yuan, 21, was China's top scorer for the second match in a row, with the middle blocker finishing on 12 points. Wing spiker Xiatong Liu was the next best with seven while teenage sensation Yingying Li had just five points, her lowest haul of the tournament.
After losing their opening match to Belgium, the Koreans have steadily improved with each match, coming from behind to beat Dominican Republic in a nail-biter on Wednesday before producing a masterful display to topple the number one ranked team in the world and complete Pool 2 with two wins and a loss, the same record as China.
Lee laid the foundations for her team's win when she came out on court with all guns blazing, contributing nine points in the opening set, including seven kills that put the error-prone Chinese under immediate pressure at the front and back of the court.
Yuan emerged as China's salvation in attack, registering five offensive points, but the hosts gave up six points on errors, a trend that continued throughout the match.
China made a brighter start to the second set as Li and Liu briefly penetrated the Korean blockers but their progress was halted by more mistakes, with another 10 errors in the second set alone.
With libero Myungok Yim pulling off a series of spectactular saves, the Koreans got their noses in front then surged away to snatch a 2-0 lead to the shock of the home crowd at the Beilun Sport and Art Centre.
The third set was a repeat of the first two.
Kim, who has 60 points from her first three matches in the tournament, began to assert her authority as Korea's blockers succeeded in thwarting China's rattled attack as the end came quickly.
China travels to Macau next week to play against Poland, Serbia and Thailand in Pool 7 while Korea returns home to host Germany, Russia and Italy in Pool 6.