Taipei, Chinese Taipei, April 20, 2019 – Captain Wu Tsung-Hsuan steered Taichung Bank to a convincing straight-set 25-17 25-17 25-17 win against Australia’s Queensland Pirates in their last Pool A match of the 2019 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship at the University of Taipei (Tianmu) Gymnasium on Saturday.
The left-hander Wu Tsung-Hsuan, a key player in the Chinese national team, scored a match-high 19 points including 14 attacks from 21 attempts, 2 solid blocks and 3 aces, while William Mercer was the lone Queensland Pirates’ player who scored double-digit 16 points including 13 kills from 35 attempts.
With over 3,000 fans supporting them all the way, Taichung Bank, the team which handed the host country the Asian Men’s Club title for the first time in 2015 when Taipei hosted the top-notch competition, started the first set in brighter fashion.
With Wu Tsung-Hsuan producing terrific jump serves and Chiao Hsuan-Cheng unleashing a barrage of fierce attacks, Taichung Bank led initially 12-9. However, William Mercer was looking increasingly dangerous from spike range as Queensland Pirates did their best to cope with the hosts’ amazing speed and defensive tactics. However, their intention was short-lived as Taichung Bank stormed on to win the set 25-17.
In the second set, Taichung Bank still had too much power with Wu a constant thorn in Queensland Pirates. The 199cm-tall Mercer used his height advantage to effectively attack the smaller blockers with his destructive spikes to help reduce the gap to 14-18, but his determined effort did not last long as the host side counter-attacked well to stretch it to 24-16, allowing the visitors one more point to wrap up the set with the similar margin 25-17.
Helped by the excellent defensive work of libero Jhang Yun-Liang, Taichung Bank gained the upper hand initially to take an early 19-13 lead and widened the gap to 2-17, courtesy of the team’s splendid combination play and consistency. Aussies tried to gather their courage for a possible better form, but the host team smashed the visitors’ dreams of comeback attempts. A spectacular spike from Wu went without responding for the Taichung Bank’s well-earned 24-17 lead before Chang Ching-Hsiang carried out an ace serve which handed the host side 25-17 and match.
“A 3-0 win against the Australian team is okay, but we are young team and so we need energy and experience. That’s why sometimes we lose and sometimes we win. It depends upon the energy. I think we come up with improved blocking and service in this match. Anything can happen in sport, so I can’t say it now how about our tomorrow’s match will look like. I just hope that my team will do our best,” Taichung Bank’s Serbian head coach Moro Branslav commented after the match.
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