Hanoi, Vietnam, July 18, 2019 – Chinese Taipei proved a cut above New Zealand, brushing off the taller rivals in straight sets 25-19 25-12 25-18 in their last top eight playoff encounter at the 3rd Asian Women’s U23 Volleyball Championship at Gia Lam Gymnasium here on Thursday.

Chen Yu-Chien chipped in with 13 points from 10 attacks, 2 blocks and one ace, while Otene Tamara topscored with 12 points including 9 attacks from 25 attempts for New Zealand.

With the convincing victory, Chinese Taipei are assured of finishing third in Pool E and are due to take on Thailand, the team likely to finish second in Pool F, in their knock-out quarter-finals on Friday.

Chinese Taipei fielded a strong lineup including Liu Yu-Chun, Tsai Yu-chun, Wen Yi-Chin and Lo Yi-Ching to make a solid start and led initially 20-15 in the first set. The Kiwis intensified their defence, hoping for a fightback, but their attempts were in vain as they were errors-strewn, allowing Chinese Taipei opportunities to go on winning points. Chinese Taipei took the first set 25-19.

In the second set, Chinese Taipei recovered from trailing 4-8 at the beginning of the set, but stormed back with their speed and power at the net to catch up with the rivals at 10-10 and advanced with a four-point advantage at 16-12. From then on, Chinese Taipei showed no mercy to the oppositions as they scored nine points in a row and simultaneously did not allow New Zealand any chance to come back. Chinese Taipei wrapped up the one-sided set 25-12.

Chinese Taipei still took command in the third set to lead 7-4 before New Zealand hit back with some good attacks from Otene Tamara. However, despite putting up a good fight, their attempts to overtake the well-trained rivals did not pay their dividends. Chinese Taipei captured the set 25-18 and match.

“Despite the win, I’m not happy with my team’s performance. I don’t think my players are hungry for the win. No one was willing to play. They still made mistakes on serves and attacks. However, they are still young as most of them are 19 years and have many things to learn. We next play Thailand and it’s my pleasure to play them. I know Thai volleyball style. We have to win one by one. I mean our middle blocker has to fight with the Thai middle blocker and our attackers have to play against their attackers. If my players win, we win, if they lost in their positions, the whole team will also lose,” commented Japanese Koji Tsuzurabara, head coach of Chinese Taipei, who signed a five-year contract on annual basis as coach of Chinese Taipei in their preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

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