Hanoi, Vietnam, July 13, 2019 – Over 2,000 volleyball fans happily walked out of Gia Lam Gymnasium on Saturday night, delighted with their home team’s convincing straight-set 25-12 25-10 25-19 victory against New Zealand in their opening encounter of the SMM 3rd Asian Women’s U23 Volleyball Championship here.
Nguyen Thi Trinh chipped in with 11 points for Vietnam including a team-leading 6 blocks and 2 aces, while Otene Tamara led New Zealand with 10 points.
Vietnam, playing in front of high-ranked officials who attended the Opening Ceremony earlier, were strong with the likes of powerful Tran Thi Thanh Thuy and hard-attacking Duong Thi Hen, while Otene Tamara and Manderson Petra spearheaded New Zealand.
The first two sets turned out to be one-way traffic as Vietnam, boosted by cheering home fans, performed superbly to snatch one-sided sets 25-12 25-10, courtesy of the host side’s solid blocks, impressive combinations and great attacks from ace spiker Tran Thi Thanh Thuy.
Holding a two-set advantage, the Vietnamese continued their good run in the third set to take an early lead with a 3-point clear at 7-4, but the Kiwis hit back to level it at 11-11. The host side stormed on their attacks, while the visitors tried to reduce the gap. Still, their hopes were dashed out completely when Vietnam upped their tempo, with Tran Thi Thanh Thuy producing the back-row attacks to help team capture the set 25-19 and 3-0 match.
“We had waited too long for the match earlier and the Opening Ceremony and that resulted in our poor form in the beginning of the match. We did not play well in the third set as well due to a lack of communication since there are some young players in our team. Also, when New Zealand caught up with us, some of my players became anxious and made too many unforced mistakes. I think my players sometimes made easy mistakes and we have to improve on this point. I hope my players will do better in our next match. We don’t expect too high in this championship. We first eye for the top eight teams and after that, we can set our target how far we can go. We will do our best on home soil,” Vietnam head coach Nguyen Tuan Kiet commented after the match.
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