Volleyball News

Tianjin, China, May 27, 2015 – China and Korea remained unbeaten to enter the final showdown of the 18th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship after beating Thailand and Chinese Taipei respectively in the semi-finals on Wednesday at the Tianjin Gymnasium.

China b Thailand 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-10, 25-23)

The semi-final clash between China and Thailand was of such high profile that even the former leader of China, Mr. He Guoqiang came to watch on site. In the full glare of government high officials and over 6000 spectators, China accomplished their avenge on Thailand in 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-10, 25-23) for their pitiful 2-3 loss in the semi-finals of last Asian Championship in 2013.

Bearing too much expectation, China came into the match in an over-strung tension, which restrained themselves from bringing out all their techniques. They could not pass the ball to the best position to attack as often as usual and even some good chances to score from spiking were destroyed by Thailand due to their dogged defense. On the other side of the court, Thailand played consistently with their fast combinations and attacks, keeping a slim advantage over the host all the way. China replaced Hui Ruoqi with Zhang Changning in the set end, attempting to confuse the opponent’s blocking . However, two spikes by Zhang were stopped by Thailand’s double block and the net consecutively, which resulted in a 22-25 loss to Thailand in the first set.

Thailand continued their powerful services and unstoppable attacks from left wings in the second set, reaching a 13-11 lead after an ace serve. China had to call a timeout and it worked out soon as Zhu Ting responded with two strong attacks, equalizing the score to a 13-13 tie. it was from this moment that China began to reverse the situation to their side as they for the first time took back the lead in 16-15 at the second technical timeout. The attack barrage from trio of Yan Ni, Hui Ruoqi and Zhu Ting came to show its power and following an error in counter-attack, Thailand conceded the second set in similar fashion 22-25.

China’s dominance in multi-spotted attacks and blocks undermined Thailand’s spirit in the third set. They even stormed an 8-0 tide from 12-9 to a remarkable 20-9 lead. Only allowing one more point to Thailand, China easily sealed the set in 25-10 following two successful blocks.

The fourth set again witnessed the fighting spirit of Thailand. But their fatigue started to affect their efficiency in attacking. Cheered by thousand of fans and inspired by several impossible digs of captain Hui Ruoqi, China played more and more confidently and finally captured the set in a narrow 25-23 with a powerful spike by Zhu Ting.

The best scorer goes to Zhu Ting, who bagged 28 points, while Onuma Sittirak of Thailand also wrapped a close 24 points.

“We already did our best. China played well in all techniques. It was difficult for us to score. ” said Wilavan Apinyapong, captain of Thailand, at the post-match press conference.

“We learned a lot from Thailand in this match, especially their combination and defense. We did not play well in the first set. But our determination to win never shakes. ” said Hui Ruoqi, captain of China, at the post-match press conference.

“Though we had an easy win in the third set, we told ourselves no to relax at all, because each set started from 0-0. ” she added.

“China played in a very good spirit in this match. We learned a lot of things to improve our volleyball to a higher level as China team. I would like to thank all my players and staff. They worked very hard and tried their best to win the game. Though we lost, for our young and elder players, we need to make our team better than this. We still have to go for our goal of top 3. We still have one more game to play tomorrow. I would also thank all the media and Thai fans for their support. And I wish China having a good game tomorrow. ” said Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai, head coach of Thailand, at the post-match press conference.

“As what we prepared, we met many difficulties in this match that we never met in the previous five matches. We also knew we might not be able to get adapted to the opponent’s quickness and diversity in the beginning. We had plan for comeback from falling-behind and even for a five-set match. In today’s match, we performed our advantages and we got adapted to the match quickly. I would thank my players for their efforts. However, we still have a lot to to learn, especially the splendid defense and tactics of Thailand. I hope my players can see their potential from this match and work hard to balance in attack and defense.” said Lang Ping, head coach of China at the post-match press conference.

Korea b Chinese Taipei 3-1 (25-16, 25-13, 23-25, 25-15)

Thanks to well-built blocks and Kim Yeonkoung’s powerful spikes, Korea took the first two sets smoothly before Chinese Taipei produced big troubles in the third set, where they stuck to Korea all the way with their dogged defense and quick attacks. Two ace serves helped Chinese Taipei to a 19-17 lead. Although Korea fought back, Chinese Taipei managed to keep the 2-point gap to the end.

Chinese Taipei kept the momentum in the fourth set and started with a 4-1 lead. Korea immediately called a time-out to adjust tactics, reversing to 16-10 by a series of strong attacks from Kim Heejin and Kim Yeonkoung. Kim Heejin ended up the set in 25-15 with an offensive spike.

Kim Yeonkoung had another prolific scoring night for Korea with 22 points, while Chen Wan-Ting led Chinese Taipei with 14 points.

Vietnam b Iran 3-1 (25-18, 18-25, 25-18, 25-22) 

Iran showed their potential of being a strong team as their men’s team again in the match against Vietnam. Armed with quick attacks and occasional tricky balls, they were able to contend against Vietnam in most time of the match and even grabbed the second set win in 25-18.

Yet Vietnam performed more consistently especially in counterattacks while Iran made too many mistakes. In 3-1 (25-18, 18-25, 25-18, 25-22), they knocked out Iran and kept running for their best-ever possible fifth place in the Asian Championship.

Borhani Esfahani of Iran scored the most points of 20 but in vain while Do Thi Minh contributed more effective 15 points for Vietnam.

Japan b Kazakhstan 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-16) 

In the first set, Japan smashed continuous strong attacks from left wing by taking advantage of Kazakhstan’s loose defense, leading the score to 12-4. Kazakhstan once narrowed the score gap to 13-14 by combining strong spikes and double blocks. However, Japan ended up the set 25-20 by another strong attack from left forward.

Both sides strengthened defense in the second set. Japan kept the strong attack momentum while Kazakhstan made many mistakes instead. Japan led the score all the way from 16-9 to 20-12, ending the set 25-18 by an impeccable spike.

The height advantage of Kazakhstan could not suppress the fast and diverse attacks from Japan at all. In 16-25, Kazakhs lost the third set and had to fade to the 7/8 classification match with Iran in the final day.

Nanaka Sakamoto led Japan with 16 points, while Sana Anarkulova contributed the most to Kazakhstan with 11 points.

Mongolia b Philippines 3-1 (25-18, 25-13, 28-30,25-22) 

Mongolia had the chance to finish the match in straight sets, but their inconsistency in the third set ruined themselves even though they once led in 16-12. However they managed to secure the fourth set in 25-22 and finally positioned eleventh of the tournament while Philippines the twelfth.

Australia b India 3-2 (25-18, 16-25, 22-25, 25-17,15-13)

The young Australian women’s volleyball team has shown once again its fighting qualities with a tough five-set win over India at the Asian Championships in China.

The Volleyroos had to fight back from two sets to one down to beat India 25-18, 16-25, 22-25, 25-17, 15-13.

The win means Australia finishes ninth with a five win two loss record, including victories in their final four matches. Ninth is the same result as two years ago, but with a very different looking team.

Australia started strongly against India, comfortably taking the opening set. But then a big change came over the game, with the Volleyroos making numerous errors. After losing the second set, Australia lost nine points straight in the third set to trail 14-4, and then 20-13 before fighting back to lose the set 22-25.

“I’ve been in plenty of teams where when it gets to 20 points, they give up. I love this team, you might be down 14-20 and we keep fighting,” Beth Carey said. “We’ve been seen as Australian underdogs for a very long time. What I love about this team is we don’t care where we are in the rankings, we just go out fearless and play our game with the Australian spirit.”

It was with this spirit that Australia fought back in the following two sets and achieved the final win.

Teams Ranking and Match schedule (Local Time)

May 28

Tianjin Gym

12:00 Iran – Kazakhstan (Classification 7-8)

14:00 Vietnam – Japan (Classification 5-6)

16:00 Chinese Taipei – Thailand (Bronze medal match)

19:30 China – Korea (Gold medal match)

9th place: Australia

10th place: India

11th place: Mongolia

12th place: Philippines

13th place: Hong Kong, China

14th place: Sri Lanka