Chongqing, China, March 10, 2017 – Iran ended their campaign at the “SMM” 11th Asian Girls’ U18 Volleyball Championship at the Chongqing No.8 Secondary School Gymnasium after thrashing Samoa in straight set 25-17 25-17 25-15 in their last 9th-11th playoff match to return with the 9th place.
Iran, which finished a distant 10th at the previous edition in Nakhon Ratchasima,Thailand in 2014, and underdogs Samoa, the only team which have yet won a set in the top-flight championship, became the protagonists of the day as only one match among them was contested on Friday morning.
Iran,which survived a daunting challenge from Uzbekistan for a hard-fought five-set win on Wednesday, took on Samoa in a must-win match to make sure they would finish 9th this time and they did not let their supporters down to beat Samoa in comfortable straight sets. Samoa and Uzbekistan will battle it out for their maiden victory on Saturday and the winner will claim the 10th place.
The Friday’s match saw Samoa commit up to 35 unforced errors which caused them dear for the disappointing loss in the match as they, in fact, matched Iran well offensively and defensively.
Mona Ashofteh led Iran with a match-high 11 points, followed by Habibi Maryam with 10 points. Nadine Pritchard and Christina Haueia both contributed 9 points apiece to Samoa.
“It seems like an easy game. But we found Samoa very hard to play with. They have no certain system and they just attacked from everywhere. I don’t like to play with such team. I’d like to play China because their system is nice. For these young girls, this is a very good experience for them. It’s just the beginning of our team. In the near future, I hope we will come much stronger,” said Iran’s head coach Majda Cicic.
“I have a lot of plans with this team. I hope we have a chance to go to the 2020 Olympic Games with this team,” she added.
“We have prepared well at the training. The girls must have been too tired. They could not put 100% efforts on that. I don’t mind the results, but at least they should try their best,” said Samoa’s head coach Taugali Prithard.
Meanwhile, the quarter-finals will take place Saturday with Japan taking on Australia, Thailand going up against Chinese Taipei, China facing New Zealand and Korea playing Hong Kong.
Top four teams in this tournament will qualify to the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship in Argentina from August 18 to 27, 2017.