Terrific Nguyen Thi Bich Tuyen hammered a match-high 24 points to steer LPBank Ninh Binh to stunning upset 3-0 win against defending champions Sichuan from China, as Japan’s PFU BlueCats bounced back to beat hosts VTV Binh Dien Long An 3-1 on the opening day of the 14th VTV9-Binh Dien Cup International Women’s Volleyball Tournament at Buon Ma Thuot City in Dak Lak Province, Vietnam on Friday.

After the successfully-organised 13 seasons, initially held in 2006 to 2019 (not held in 2009) and a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 14th edition of the Binh Dien Cup is now underway from May 11 to 19, with eight top local and international volleyball clubs fighting it out for top honor and the shared US$48,700 up for grabs.

The tournament also serves as final tune-up games for U20 Vietnam and U20 Thailand squads in their preparation for the 22nd Asian Women’s U20 Championship, set to take place in Jiangmen, China from July 1 to 8, a qualification tournament for the next year’s FIVB Women’s U21 World Championship.

In Dak Lak, teams were divided into two pools to contest the pool round-robin preliminaries, with top two teams from each pool through to the cross semifinals. Teams finishing 3rd and 4th places in each pool will battle it out in Classification Round for 5th-8th rankings.

Pool A comprised Hoa Chat Duc Giang Lao Cai (Vietnam), VTV Binh Dien Long An (Vietnam), PFU BlueCats (Japan) and U20 Vietnam, with title-holders Sichuan (China), U20 Thailand, BC TT Truong Tuoi Binh Phuoc (Vietnam) and LBBank Ninh Binh (Vietnam) in Pool B.

In the first Pool A match on Friday, Hoa Chat Duc Giang Lao Cai got off to a brilliant start with a comfortable straight-set 3-0 (25-14, 25-13, 25-15) win against U20 Vietnam.

Hard-hitting Kuttika Kaewpin from Thailand’s Diamond Food – Fine Chef VC, scored 10 points for HDG from seven attacks and team-leading 3 aces, while Tran Tu Linh and Ly Thi Luyen kept good company to assist with 9 and 8 points respectively. Outside hitter Dang Thi Hong led U20 Vietnam with 13 points including 12 kills from 35 attempts.

The second encounter in Pool B was more interesting, with China’s Sichuan back in quest to defend their title. However, LPBank Ninh Binh defied against all odds to stun the reigning champions in convincing three-setter.

The first set was tightly-contested, with LBN narrowly edging past the visitors for the hard-fought 26-24 win. In the second and third sets, Nguyen Thi Bich Tuyen played a big part of the Vietnamese side’s victory as she turned a scoring machine, tearing the Chinese defence into shreds with her powerful attacks to eventually hand LBN the surprise 3-0 (26-24, 25-18, 25-16) win against Sichuan.

The 187cm-tall Tuyen was unstoppable throughout the contested three sets and became the match’s top scorer with 24 points (21 kills, two blocks and one ace), while Nguyen Thi Uyen added another 12 points including 9 kills. No Sichuan players reached double digits, with Wen Menghan, Miao Yiwen and Yuan Guo scoring 8 points apiece.

The LBN’s dominance was also visible in the match stats as the winners dominated in kills (49 to 34) and aces (7 to 3). Sichuan had a better blocking game (5 to 4), but both sides had no benefit from opponent errors (16 to 16).


After that, the opening ceremony was held in front of over 1,700 Vietnamese fans at the venue. All participating players from eight teams wearing traditional Vietnamese dress called Ao Dai, which tells a story of cultural values, historical influences and artistic expression, marched after placard bearers into the competition court to listen to welcome speeches and report from the organising committee.


An impressive performance of dancers in the ceremony also received a big round of applause from audiences attending and visiting teams in particular.

After that, the curtain-raising match was held between hosts VTV Binh Dien Long An and Japan’s PFU BlueCats.

Leading the charge in the host side were outside hitter Chen Peiyan from China, Lu Thi Phuong, Nguyen Thi Tran My and star spiker Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, who led Sport Center 1 to Vietnam’s historic victory at the last year’s Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship on their home soil in Vinh Phuc and powered Vietnam national team to their AVC Challenge Cup title in Indonesia for the first time in history.

VBL took the supportive home crowd advantage to win the hard-fought first set 25-22, but PFU shrugged off rust just in time, recovering from the opening-set loss to comfortably take the next three sets  25-11, 25-15, 25-17 for the dramatic 3-1 win.

PFU had four players who reached double digits. Middle blocker Aya Hosonuma had a tremendous performance, firing 15 kills, 4 blocks and 2 aces in her 21-point display. Outside hitter Melissa Valdes contributed 19 points including team-leading 16 kills, while another outside hitter Miyu Kawazoe scored 14 points in total including 11 kills and Kisa Okuma tallied 12 points.

Chen Peiyan was the VBL’s lone player who scored double digits with a game-high 21 points including 18 attacks and 2 blocks. Lu Thi Huong and Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, who did not compete in the second set, added 7 and 6 points respectively for the Vietnamese side.

On Sunday, U20 Thailand will open their campaign against BC TT Truong Tuoi Binh Phuoc, with Hoa Chat Duc Giang Lao Cai going up against PFU BlueCats. The U20 Vietnam squad will challenge VTV Binh Dien Long An, both sides succumbing to the opening day loss and looking for the first victory in the annual tournament.


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