Manila, Philippines, August 11, 2017 – New Zealand came back from the first-set down 20-25 to beat Sri Lanka 25-23 25-18 25-19 in their last preliminary Pool C encounter to claim their first win at the SMM 19th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex on Friday.
Both teams have yet won a match in the top-flight competition, going down to Korea and Vietnam in their first two matches to be relegated to the 9th-14th classification round. In one of the close battles between the two losing teams, Sri Lanka got off to an impressive start with the first-set win 25-20, thanks to Perera Kanahalage’s fine attacks.
New Zealand clawed their way back to win the second set 25-23, seizing the chance when the rivals struggled on poor reception and started to be riddled with unforced attacking mistakes.
The next two sets were mainly dominated by the Kiwis. Though challenged seriously by the Sri Lankans, New Zealand still had enough in their tanks to hold the rivals off. The scores ended 25-18 25-19 in favour of the Kiwis for the eventual 3-1 victory.
New Zealand’s team captain Stacy Niao explained that this very unusual game ritual is what they always do, to lift up their fighting spirits and ease their nervousness.
“Yes, we always do this. We sing the National Anthem along before start our game and we play. We do this just to lift our spirits and become confident in the match,” Niao said.
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