Seoul, Korea, August 25, 2019 – Backed by huge enthusiastic home fans, Korea wiped out a disgrace of the shock defeat to Japan in the semi-finals by beating China in convincing straight sets 25-21 25-20 25-22 in their bronze-medal match at the 20th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship at Jamsil Indoor Stadium on Sunday.
Korea, which also stunned China 3-0 to finish third place at the previous edition in the Philippines two years ago, got the very first point of the match, but China opened up with their aggressive attacks to score four points in a row.
With star spiker and team captain Kim Yeonkoung and powerful Kim Heejin at the helm, Korea caught up with China at 6-6 and continued their onslaughts from then onwards. Kim Yeonkoung led the Korea’s charge with her powerful attacks and effective blocks, while China responded with powerful jump serves and great attacks from Liu Yanhan. Still, the rivals’ good show came too late as Korea shone through their skills to clinch the exciting set 25-21.
Kim Yeonkoung turned a scoring machine in this match as China also didn’t want to give up that easily. China’s blocking efforts started to work out pretty well to get some crucial points, but Kim Yeonkoung brought Korea back on track. She joined forces with Kim Heejin, Yang Hyojin and Lee Jaeyoung to take turns penetrating the Chinese defence with their attacks. China challenged seriously, but their attempts were in vain. Korea claimed the second set 25-20.
The third set saw both teams give it all out. China played with their backs against the wall, with Liu Yanhan and Yang Hanyu becoming the team’s backbones. The Chinese attacked, boosted and served well to stay in front with a two-point advantage at 19-17, but Kim Yeonkoung unleashed a series of attacks with a blistering run of points under the impeccable defence of team-mates. Korea seized the lead 21-20 and went on their fine form to capture the set 25-22, match and the bronze medal.
Kim Yeonkoung scored a match-high 29 points including 27 attacks from 47 attempts, while Kim Heejing added 19 points including 13 attacks and a team-leading 3 blocks. Liu Yanhan led China with 15 points, 14 of them through her devastating attacks.
After the match, Korea head coach Stefano Lavarini from Italy commented on his team’s performance. “First of all, I’m happy with this victory. The match was not easy but my players did well at their own position. The last match against Japan was quite tough for me and my team, but we overcame that disappointment and won today. I want to give 95 scores out of 100 to my players at today’s match. We are the team which still need to be improved continuously. Thank for enthusiastic cheering of home supporters.”
Kim Yeonkoung, who showed outstanding performance as captain, gave her thought over the match, “I would like to thank team-mates for the win. It was a sorry tale that we couldn’t capture the title at home, but I also appreciate that we could finish this competition well with all.”
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