The two teams swept their quarterfinals on Friday

Vietnam’s Thi Bich Tuyen Nguyen in action

Vietnam will take on Czechia in Saturday’s second women’s 2024 Volleyball Challenger Cup semifinal. A day after Belgium and Puerto Rico emerged as the first two semifinalists in Manila, Vietnam and Czechia won their quarterfinals against hosts Philippines and Argentina, respectively, to stay alive in the race for a spot in Volleyball Nations League 2025. Their semifinal at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium on Saturday will start at 18:30 local time (10:30 UTC).

  • Watch Volleyball Challenger Cup 2024 live on VBTV

Even the inspiring support the Philippines’ team received from the fantastic home fans on the stands could not stop Vietnam in hammering out a 3-0 (25-14, 25-22, 25-21) shutout. Spearheaded by outside hitter Thi Bich Tuyen Nguyen, Vietnam prevailed in all scoring elements. Tuyen herself produced a staggering 30 points across the three sets to top the charts of the match. She spiked at a 53% success rate and raised three kill blocks towards her team’s victory. Her Filipino counterpart Cherry Ann Rondina led her side with 15 points, all in offence, while opposite Angel Anne Canino also reached the double digits with 12 points, including one ace. The match also marked the return of Vietnamese star captain Tran Thi Thanh Thuy to action after an injury.

The Ninoy Aquino Stadium during the Philippines’ game against Vietnam

It was the first time in history Vietnam achieved a win in a Challenger Cup game and reached the semifinals of the tournament. This is their second appearance in the competition, but upon their debut last year, they failed to progress past the quarterfinals.

“Before the match, I was really a little bit scared, but when I have a chance to play with my teammates I feel very happy and I want to take that chance. I am really proud of my teammates. I think they did very well,” Tran Thi Thanh Thuy told VBTV after the match. “This is really a big opportunity for us to play in the VNL, so we will try our best to take advantage of it.”

Czechia’s Michaela Mlejnkova spikes

Earlier on Friday, Czechia swept their quarterfinal against Argentina in straight sets, 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-16). The European side outplayed their South American opponents on all scoring counts. Outside hitter and captain Michaela Mlejnkova produced a match-high 14 points to lead her team to victory. Her tally included 13 spike kills and a kill block. Opposite Gabriela Orvosova added another 12 points, including two blocks, while the other outside hitter, well-seasoned Helena Havelkova, delivered 10 points, also including two blocks, as well as an ace. The only player to reach the double digits on Argentina’s side was middle blocker Candelaria Herrera, who raised three kill blocks towards a 10-point tally.

It was the second time Czechia advanced to the Challenger Cup semifinals. The first time was in 2019, when they progressed further ahead to the final before settling for silver.

“I think the team spirit was our strength today,” Michaela Mlejnkova said after the game. “We were really going like a team. We were playing for each other, and I think this was the key to the match.”

Volleyball Challenger Cup 2024: schedule and results


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