Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 20, 2019 – Head coach Danai Sriwacharamaytakul shuffled his line-up a lot as hosts Thailand brushed off SEA Games archrivals Vietnam in convincing straight sets for first win at the SAT Thailand Volleyball Invitation at the Terminal Hall inside Terminal 21 Shopping here on Friday.

The scintillating win in front of around 4,000 home fans at the competition venue certainly sent a warning signal to other Asean teams that Thailand are ready to go for gold again in the 2019 South East Asian Games in the Philippines later this year. The Friday’s victory over Vietnam, which had been fighting with Thailand in the final showdown of the SEA Games for eight consecutive times from 2001-2015, augurs well for their more future successes.

Thailand fielded a strong line-up led by Pleumjit Thinkaow, Onuma Sittirak and Wilavan Apinyapong, three of whom joined the team to win the 2009 and 2013 Asian Senior Women’s Championship in Vietnam and here in Nakhon Ratchasima respectively, in the opening set, which they won comfortably 25-18.

The host side rested their best players and fielded young talents including Thatdao Nuekjang, Chatchu-on Moksri and Pimpichaya Kokram in the second set to win a one-sided battle 25-14.

Thailand sent in a combined lineup in the third set, with Onuma leading the charge and Pimpichaya and Chatchu-on playing vital roles in helping the team win some crucial points in critical moments. The host team led 22-18 before Vietnam counter-attacked well, with Luu Thi Hue joining forces with Tran Thi Thanh Thuy. Nonetheless, despite battling hard, Vietnam went down to the stronger Thais 22-25 in the set.

Onuma Sittirak chipped in with 16 points for Thailand including 12 attacks from 28 attempts, while Luu Thi Hue led Vietnam with 12 points.

Tran Thi Thanh Thuy, a powerful player and team captain of Vietnam, said after the match, “Before the match, we were a bit nervous because Thailand are a strong team. In this very first match of my team, I think we learned a lot. We will try our best in our next match against Indonesia, also one of the strong teams. However, we have played them for several times and I hope that we will do our best in that match against them. As for the SEA Game preparation, I still have no idea about that. We have to wait and see what staff coaches will let us know later.”

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