Almaty, Kazakhstan, September 23, 2017 – Kazakhstan claimed their second win in Pool A of the 2018 FIVB Women’s World Championship – AVC Qualification Tournament after a 3-1 match against Chinese Taipei (25-15, 19-25, 25-19, 25-20) at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace on Saturday.
Yekaterina Zhdanova was the top scorer with 23 points from 14 attacks and nine blocks. Alla Bogdashkina and Sana Anarkulova helped out with 14 points and 10 points respectively.
Kazakhstan coach Vyacheslav Shapran said “Our test was to play through this qualification to get the ticket to the World Championship. We knew from the beginning that our main opponent was Chinese Taipei. They are a really good team and at times, it felt almost impossible to defeat them.”
In the first set, the hosts imposed their main advantage: They organized their blocks well to deflect their opponents’ key hitters. Zhdanova and Bogdashkina connected on block points to make for Kazakhstan’s good momentum. Chinese Taipei needed to address this and tried to serve aggressively to throw off the opponents’ reception. However, Kazakhstan continued to run their plays with good coordination even on counter-attack, to help seal the opening set at 25-15.
In the next set, Chinese Taipei tried to vary their angle and speed in attack. Chen Tzu-Ya succeeded several times in outsmarting the opponents’ blockers with tip-ins. They continued to use their serves to apply pressure on the Kazakh passing unit. Chinese Taipei orchestrated their offence more aggressively, and utilised their middle attack with Tseng Wan-Ling and Chen Yi-Ju to help gain the second set at 25-19.
By the third set, Kazakhstan reverted to their effective blocking, while being more careful in their second line of defence. They were able to set up Zhdanova effectively from the right flank, while Bogdashkina played a strong game in the middle. Chinese Taipei successfully anchored their plays on Wu Wei-Hua while continuing to score off service aces. The home team persisted in their offence and took 25-19 in the third set.
In the fourth set, Sana Anarkulova was set up as a primary option for the Kazakh offence. Chinese Taipei’s Wu and Chang Li-Yun retaliated on attack but the team later suffered from costly errors. They later regained good advantage from Lee Tzu Ying’s service aces to try and stage an upset. But the hosts seized momentum to win the final set at 25-20.
Kazakhstan captain Radmila Beresneva said “Our team did their very best and this was our main key victory for today.”
The other key to Kazakhstan’s triumph was their blocking as they connected with 21 points off deflections in the match.
Chinese Taipei coach Lin Ming-Hui commented “Kazakhstan’s block today was really powerful but on top of that we made a lot of mistakes. In Chinese Taipei, we could rarely find opponents as tall as they so this was a difficult situation for us.”
Chinese Taipei captain Chen Wang-Ting said “We would like to congratulate Kazakhstan for this victory. For our team, we just want to prepare well for the match tomorrow.”
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