Hanoi, Vietnam, July 19, 2019 – Undefeated DPR Korea stormed past New Zealand in comfortable straight sets 25-8 25-17 25-19 in their quarter-finals of the 3rd Asian Women’s U23 Volleyball Championship at the Gia Lam Gymnasium here on Friday.

Son Hyang Mi chipped in with 13 points for DPR Korea including 12 attacks from 27 attempts, while Tamara Otene topscored with 12 points for New Zealand.

With the exceptional win, DPR Korea advanced to the semi-finals, where they are due to take on the winners between hosts Vietnam and Kazakhstan on Saturday. Losers New Zealand were relegated to classification for 5th-8th places.

Led by a brilliant all-round performance from Son and Pyon, DPR Korea, which are taking part in this biennial competition for the first time, made a confident start to the match, with Pyon and Son attacking spectacularly to help put the Korean team in front with a 5-point clear at 5-0. Nevertheless, New Zealand regained their composure to hit back asTamara Otene, Petra Manderson and Kalia Ru fronted the fierce attacks from DPR Korea, seeking chances of bouncing back with sharp shots and well-placed serves to reduce the gap to 5-19. Still, their good show just arrived too late and DPR Korea took the one-sided first set 25-8.

After struggling to get past DRP Korea’s blocks in the previous set, New Zealand began to find some success early on in the second set. Still, the rhythm was with the Koreans as they stayed in front with a 6-point advantage at 9-3 and widened the gap to 17-14 and 19-17. To make short work of the rivals, DPR Korea surged away to win the second set in strong fashion after a series of aggressive attacks from Son Hyang Mi and Pyon Rim Hyang and solid blocking by Pio Nicky and Ru Kaila. The Koreans did not allow New Zealand any scoring opportunity as they launched back-to-back attacks to score six straight points for the impressive 25-17 win in the second set.

Going down two sets, New Zealand came back with more attacks in the third set, boosting their hopes of making amends for the loss in the first two sets. The Kiwis regrouped to stage a fightback and their blocking started to work well to reduce the gap at 16-18 and 18-22, but the Koreans again took control with Pyon Rim Hyang sealing the victory with her hard blow.

“It’s good to win this match because it’s very important for us to advance to the semi-finals. We trained only two months before taking part in this Championship because my players competed in National Championship in DPR Korea before undergoing an intensive training in preparation for this Championship. We are not experienced and this is our second time to compete in international events including the last year’s VTV International Women’s Volleyball Cup in Hatinh, Vietnam, where we finished second to hosts Vietnam. Our expectation here is not that high. We just want to do our best in every match we compete,” said DPR Korea’s head coach Jang Kwang Chol via English-speaking Ms Jang Jong Hyang, FIVB International Referee from DPR Korea.

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