Tianjin, China, May 25, 2015 – More exciting matches were staged in the second round of pool play than in the first at the 18th Asian Sr. Women’s Volleyball Championship. Saturday put on three five-set thrillers and Sunday even saw the tycoon dialogue between Thailand and Korea. Teams will take a break on Monday for the next round of quarter-finals.
Saturday: 6 matches were played featuring half easy wins and half tough ones.
Vietnam b Iran 3-2 (21-25, 25-17, 26-28, 25-22, 15-12)
Vietnam, No. 1 from Pool C, met their biggest challenge so far and toughed it out in a two-hour five-set thriller against the Iranians.
It was from the beginning that the Iranians produced constant troubles to the Vietnam through impeccable varied attacks. Vietnam had to call a time-out at 2-5 but they were obviously slower than their opponent in getting used to the match rhythm. It was too late for Vietnam to wake up even though they once came back from 10-16 to 20-22. The Iranians managed to resist counter- attacks from Vietnam and take down the first set in 25-21.
The second set witnessed a different team of Vietnam as they dominated from the very beginning by strengthening the aggression of servings. Before Iran found the solution, Vietnam already widened the gap to 10 points at 20-10. The set ended up in 25-17 in spite of Iran’s tenacious efforts.
Getting familiar with each other from the previous two sets, both sides came into a stalemate in the third set where Iran edged out 28-26 and took back the leading position by 2-1 thanks to the consecutive spikes from Sheikhi Farnoosh at the final crucial moment.
The fourth set featured a seesaw battle as the Vietnam once led the score to 16-7 through their fine tactic cooperation, but was chased to a 21-21 tie by the indomitable Iranians. However, Vietnam withstood the challenge from their opponent at the end and brought the match to the fifth set by capturing the set in 25-22.
Both sides acted more discreetly in the final set as they led in turn to 9-9 tie. Encouraged by the national song and cheering from their supporters, the Vietnam team played more decisively and aggressively at this key moment. With a straight spike by Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hoa, Vietnam finished the set in 15-12 and won this tough match.
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hoa, captain of Vietnam contributed the most points of 27 to Vietnam, being the best scorer of the match. Sheikhi Farnoosh also bagged 19 points, topping Iran team.
Philippines b Hong Kong 3-2 (21-25, 18-25, 25-20, 25-16, 15-11)
The Philippines performed an incredible comeback to taste their first win at the Championship after beating Hong Kong in another five-set thriller of the day.
The Philippines lost the first two sets due to many mistakes, but from the third set, they reduced the errors and improved the attack success while Hong Kong acted the opposite way making unstable blocks and pass errors. Inexperienced in adjusting themselves, the young Hong Kong team missed 3 sets in a row and gave the Philippines their maiden victory so far.
Despite donating the opponent up to 36 points from errors, the Philippines outclassed in spikes (59-44) and blocks (15-9). Pablo Myla of Philippines scored 27 points for her team compared to 16 by Yeung Sau Mei of Hong Kong, China.
Thailand b Kazakhstan 3-0 (25-11, 25-9, 25-12)
Compared to the two tough matches held early in the afternoon, Thailand took a straight-set win over Kazakhstan with their complete superiority, keeping their unbeaten record.
In the first set, Thailand took the lead position from the very beginning by leading the score to 8-3 at the first time-out. Kazakhstan failed to catch up with the quick pace and continued losing points due to Thailand’s refined attacks and tactic cooperation. The score came to 21-8 very soon. Following a spiking-out by Kazakhstan, the set was ended up in 25-11.
Thailand continued to organize fast attacks and firm double blocks in the second set. The taller Kazakhs could not find the solution but seeing their opponent earning points consecutively from 8-3 to 16-7 lead at two technical time-outs. Starting from 17-9 lead, Thailand even stormed a 8-0 tide in the serve round of Pleumjit Thinkaow to finish the set in 25-9.
The final set witnessed Thailand’s complete superiority as they kept the momentum to the last minute. Following a strong spike by the captain Wilavan Apinyapong, the Thailand players put their hands together to celebrate their fourth win.
The best scorer of the match came to Ajcharaporn Kongyot of Thailand, who earned 18 points from 41 attempts. Sana Narkulova of Kazakhstan only pocketed 9.
Korea b Chinese Taipei 3-0 (25-12, 25-20, 25-19)
Chinese Taipei was gradually lagged behind by Korea after the first technical time-out in 5-8. The score gap extended all the way from 11-6 to 22-8 as Korea smashed consecutive varied attacks and set up impenetrable double blocks. The first set was concluded in 25-12 by Lee Jaeyeong of Korea with a powerful attack at left wing.
The super star Kim Yeonkoung started the second set with a smart dip. Chinese Taipei came to find the way to compete their opponent. The score increased alternatively from 6-6 to 13-11 before Korea scored 3 points in a row to the second technical timeout. In spite of the efforts made by Chinese Taipei in scoring from double blocks and spikes, Korea could always even it and kept the 5-point gap to the end.
Stunning attacks featured the beginning part of the third set as both sides scored with successive straight-line and cross-court attacks. The score went up to 8-7 at the first technical time-out. With the cheering support from local fans, Chinese Taipei played their utmost and kept the pressure to Korea until the second technical time-out at 14-16. However, it is the actual strength that determines. A series of blocks quenched the counter-attacks from Chinese Taipei and closed the third set in 25-19.
Kim Yeonkoung of Korea undoubtedly became the best scorer of the match, reaping 21 points, while Chang Chen-Yin of Chinese Taipei grabbed 12.
Australia b Sri Lanka 3-2 (25-22, 25-19, 19-25, 16-25, 22-20)
The third five-set thriller of the day was held between Australia and Sri Lanka. Australia met big problems that they had only just eight players healthy enough to take the court. But the first two sets witnessed their confidence well placed. A good game is a quick game, especially when you have a limited bench, so when Australia raced to a 25-22, 25-19 lead it was looking like a very good game. But then fatigue started to kick in the next two sets as Sri Lanka took them 25-19, 25-16. The fifth set was a titanic affair, point-for-point. Australia held match point, then gave it away. They held another, then another, and so it continued, until finally, at 21-20, the Volleyroos were able to finally snare the point that put to bed the plucky Sri Lankans, 25-22, 25-19, 19-25, 16-25, 22-20.
“That fifth set, I don’t think any of us would even think of giving up after coming that far,” Ross Hannah said. “We just kept going – I think by that point in the game it was adrenalin. We just had to give it our all, even though we were all so tired.”
China b Japan (25-19, 25-14, 25-10)
Even once bothered by the Japanese with their quick attacks and dogged defense in the first set, the host China managed to change the match to their blocking show later on thanks to their utter height advantage.
A total number of 16 blocks were made by Chinese from 42 attempts compared to zero of Japan. Zeng Chunlei topped her team with 14 points followed by 12 of both Zhu Ting and Zhang Changning and 10 of Yang Junjing.
“We were well prepared for this match. But we did not restrain the opponent well in the first set. Our blocking improved in the second and third set.” said Hui Ruoqi captain of China at the post-match press conference.
“There is some reaction at my leg injury after yesterday’s match. So coach Lang kept me on the bench today for the following matches. ” explained Hui Ruoqi.
“It is a very good exercise for us. Japan players are not tall but fast. They open attacks a lot and it is difficult to block. But we get adapted to the match quickly. ” said Lang Ping, head coach of China at the post-match press conference.
The five-set thriller between the defending champion, Thailand and fully-squad Korea team shined the day, even surpassing the match between host China and Vietnam, which was unsurprising ended up in 3-0.
Chinese Taipei b Kazakhstan 3-2 (25-10, 25-22, 15-25, 23-25, 16-14)
It seems that something important always comes late. Before the strong-strong contest between Thailand and Korea, Chinese Taipei and Kazakhstan opened the day with a five-set thriller.
Taller Kazakhs started the match with a double block. But Chinese Taipei came into the groove faster and took the leading position combining dogged double block and open attacks. A pass error from Korinna Ishimtseva of Kazakhstan helped their opponent to the first technical time-out 8-4. Back to the court, Chinese Taipei continued their quickness and diversity, widening the gap all the way to 16-6 at the second technical time-out and 25-10 to end the set.
In the second set, Kazakhstan strengthened the serving aggression to break their opponent’s first pass. It worked out as they set up an 8-4 lead at the first technical time-out. After some adjustment, Chinese Taipei replied with a 5-0 and immediately reversed to 9-8 based on tactic cooperation. Tseng Wan-Ling of Chinese Taipei performed successive strong attacks, posing considerable stress to their opponent. After a double block by Chen Wan-Ting and Tseng Wan-Ling of Chinese Taipei, the score went to 20-14, forcing Kazakhstan to call their second time-out. It worked out once again as they managed to catch up to 21-21 tie. However, Chen Wan-Ting of Chinese Taipei stood out with destructive jumping serves in sequence, resisting the kickbacks from Kazakhstan. Following a single block by Tseng Wan-Ling, Chinese Taipei took the second set in 25-22.
Kazakhs’ height advantage came into use to its utmost in the following two sets. In 25-15 and 25-23, Kazakhs returned to the same start line with Chinese Taipei.
The tie-breaker featured a multi-rally from the very beginning. Both sides spared no effort to the last minute. The score went up alternatively to 14-14 after a dogged defense by Kazakhstan. This time, Chang Chen-Yin of Chinese Taipei popped up with two powerful spikes and finished the fifth set in 16-14.
Kazakhstan scored 17 points from blocking compared to 4 of Chinese Taipei. However, Chinese Taipei performed better in spikes and serves. Chen Wan-Ting bagged 24 points, being the best scorer of the match.
Korea b Thailand 3-2 (21-25, 25-17, 18-25, 25-19, 15-11)
Kim Yeonkoung of Korea started the game with a tricky dip and a block. Thailand replied with straight-line and cross-court attacks, as well as gentle taps and consecutive double blocks afterwards, taking the lead from 8-5 to 12-7, forcing Korea to call their first time-out. Both sides had their way to earn points but Thailand could probably prevail in rallies. Korea attempted to strengthen their aggression in serving but too many errors trapped them as they fell behind gradually in 12-20. Even though they once chased to 20-23 following an 8-3 tide, Thailand did not give them a chance to reverse the situation. A powerful spike from left wing instead of fake attack at center forward brought Thailand to the set point at 24-20. The set was finished in 25-21 with a double block by Thailand.
Korea strengthened defense in the second set and took a magic start of 8-1 lead at the first technical time-out. It was a too big gap for Thailand to fill in however hard they tried. In 25-17, Korea tied the set score.
In the third set, Thailand resumed their fast attacks and reached the first technical time-out with 2 points ahead. The score continued to increase alternatively, seeing both sides contributing fantastic tactic balls. Onuma Sittirak of Thailand posed big threats to Korea by acting strong and penetrating attacks. Korea was gradually pulled away since 12-12 tie and stopped at 18 pointed before Thailand earned the winning point.
The fourth set was like a mirror image of the third. Korea took the lead to 16-11 before Thailand drew the score nearer to 15-17 thanks to successive offensive attacks by Onuma. Not to be outdone, Kim Yeonkoung of Korea replied with consecutive spikes, leading her team to widen the gap again. This super star earned the set point by a dip and ended up the set in 25-19 with a stunning ace.
Korea kept the momentum throughout the tie-breaker based on tactic cooperation and discreet strategies. Kim Yeonkoung once again smashed a powerful spike to end the set in 15-11 and helped her team grasp the hard-won victory eventually.
Kim Yeonkoung contributed incredible 32 points for team Korea, being the best scorer of the match. Onuma of Thailand topped her team with 18 points.
“We could not lead in the match easily. Thailand is strong team. They improved a lot from last year, even those young players. ” said Kim Yeonkoung, captain of Korea at the post-match press conference.
“I would thank all my players, staff and so many Thai fans. We performed all the techniques we have. Korea team played with good spirit. We learned a lot from Korea team. I hope my players to have good spirit fir the next match and to reach our goal. ” said Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai, head coach of Thailand, at the post-match press conference.
Japan b Iran 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-16)
Despite a 0-3 loss to China Saturday, Japan, fielding national B team, proved their strength here by sweeping Iran (25-19, 25-19, 25-16). Both sides played fast volleyball but Japan did better in combination while Iran made more errors, giving Japan 25 points. Nanaka Sakamoto scored 12 points, being the best scorer of the match, while the best scorer of Iran belonged to Esfahani Borhani, who pocketed 10 points.
China b Vietnam 3-0 (25-11, 25-11, 25-11)
The three Musketeers of China composed by Zhang Changning, Zhu Ting and Yuan Xinyue totally destroyed the opponent’s defense. They scored 15, 14, and 9 points respectively even more than the whole Vietnam team.
China dominated the match from the beginning and within one hour, they knocked Vietnam off in three coincident 25-11.
Hui Ruoqi was kept on the bench in this match due to her leg injury.
India b Mongolia 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-16)
India started the match with a drop shot. The score went up alternatively before India took an 8-6 lead at the first technical time-out following a dip miss by Mongolia. Back on court, Mongolia caught 2 points with a tactic dip and a strong spike in sequence, equalizing to 8-8. However, India regained the lead by powerful serves while Mongolia’s first and second passes failed to form well-organized attacks. Mongolia lost the first set 18-25.
Similar situation happened in the second and third set as India always took the upper hand and finished the sets in 25-15 and 25-16.
Australia b Hong Kong 3-1 (25-17, 27-25, 15-25, 25-17)
Following Saturday’s five-set win over Sri Lanka, the Volleyroos were down to just six fit players, with the rest of the team confined to bed through illness.
But the return of experienced pair Lauren Bertolacci and Bec Walter, and young gun Phoebe Bell, gave the team enough fresh legs to see off Hong Kong 25-17, 27-25, 15-25, 25-17. The win keeps Australia in the running to finish ninth, equal to their performance two years ago, but this time with a much younger and more inexperienced squad.
At 4-13 down in the opening set it looked like Hong Kong was going to make light work of the battle-weary Volleyroos. But an incredible run of serving by Queensland’s Rhiannon Tooker, taking the score to 16-13 in Australia’s favour, gave the Volleyroos the lift they needed.
Coach Mark Barnard says he’s been impressed with the fight his team has shown all week. “We were a pretty inexperienced team, without the fact the players are sick as well,” he said. “It’s been great that everyone has got to play a lot of volleyball, but to get any team cohesion, which we really hoped we’d get in Asians, that’s been difficult because we’ve just never had the same team.”
Philippines b Sri Lanka 3-1 (25-14, 19-25, 25-18, 25-17)
Though losing all three matches in the first round of pool play, the Philippines bounced from the second round. After beating Hong Kong in a five-set thriller Saturday, they gained their second victory by capping Sri Lanka 3-1 (25-14, 19-25, 25-18, 25-17), keeping them in the running to finish ninth at the Championship. They will meet India Tuesday, the winner of which will play against the winner between Australia and Mongolia for the ninth, while losers for the eleventh.
Match schedule (Local Time)
12:00 Vietnam – Chinese Taipei –
14:00 Thailand – Japan
16:00 China – Kazakhstan
19:30 Korea – Iran
Tianjin Polytechnic University Gym
12:00 India – Philippines
14:00 Australia – Mongolia