Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 6, 2023 – Japan picked up bronze medal in the 22nd Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship following their dramatic 3-2 (21-25, 25-14, 25-22, 20-25, 15-11) win against Vietnam in the third-place playoff match at Chartchai Hall on Wednesday.
Outside hitter Okumu Oba Fuyumi Hawi scored a match-high 27 points including 26 attacks from 50 attempts for Japan, while another outside hitter Yuki Nishikawa added 26 points including 24 attacks. Tran Thi Thanh Thuy led Vietnam with 22 points including 20 attacks from 50 attempts.
Vietnam, which captured the continent’s two major titles – Asian Women’s Club Championship under the Sport Center 1’s banner and the 2023 AVC Challenge Cup to their name, have already made history after stunning Korea 3-2 to secure their semifinals slot in this topflight championship, their first-time ever to finish among Top 4 since their first participation in the Asian Championship in 1991 in Bangkok.
Against formidable Japan, a combined team between young talents and experienced players, Vietnam fought hard to take the two-point lead at 18-16 in the opening set. Star spiker Tran Thi Thanh Thuy joined forced with middle blocker Nguyen Thi Trinh for scintillating blocks to hand Vietnam the set point. The superb pairing repeated it in the same fashion a short moment later to effectively block an aggressive spike from Mami Yokota for the first set win 25-21.
The second set turned out to be one-way traffic, with the Japanese showcasing their offensive mobility from spectacular attacks from Okumu Obna Fuyumi Hawi, Yuki Nishikawa and Miyu Nakagawa to lead with a six-point advantage at 16-10. Japan won back-to-back kills after Haruyo Shimamura produced lightning-fast spikes and Shimamura and Nakagawa intensified the Japanese defence, allowing the opponents scoring difficulties. Japan secured the comfortable second set 25-14.
Japan gained the upper hand in the third set to lead 15-10, but Tran Thi Thanh Thuy and Tran Tu Linh punctured the Japanese defence with their aggressive attacks to give the Vietnam’s comeback at 22-24, but their fine form came too late as Haruyo Shimamura came from behind to hammer a powerful hit for the Japan’s 25-22 win.
Vietnam made a solid start in the fourth set to establish an early 16-12 lead before stretching it to 23-16. Japan tried hard to come back and could save two sets points before Tran Thi Thanh Thuy landed a thundering attack to end the Japan’s challenge. Vietnam took the set 25-20, forcing the tie-breaker.
Japan remained strong defensively and offensively in the decider to win the thrilling set 15-11, match and bronze medal.
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