Ha Nam, Vietnam, September 18, 2015 – Reigning champions Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs take on Taiwan Power from Chinese Taipei and Thailand’s Bangkok Glass go up against China League champions Zhejiang in Saturday’s do-or-die semi-finals of the 2015 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Ha Nam Gymnasium.
On the Friday’s quarter-finals, Hisamitsu Springs, questing for their three Asian Women’s Club titles, put on an exceptional performance to annihilate Kazakhstan’s Zhetyssu in thrilling straight sets 25-18 25-20 25-23, while Taiwan Power pulled off a convincing 25-20 25-16 25-9 victory over the Philippines Super Liga Grand Prix champions Petron Blaze Spikers.
The other two matches saw China League champions Zhejiang storm their ways into the semi-finals after putting it past hapless hosts Thong Tin Lienvietpost Bank in a comfortable lop-sided battle 25-16 25-15 25-12 and Thailand League champions Bangkok Glass power past DPR Korea’s 4.25 Sports Club in pulsating four sets 25-18 25-15 22-25 25-23.
Hisamitsu Springs, which have already represented Asia twice in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship in 2014 and 2015, fielded the similar line-up which outclassed DPR Korea’s 4.25 Sports Club in straight sets in their preliminary match. They included southpaw Miyu Nagaoka, Nana Iwasaka and Risa Shinnabe, resting imported Tatjana Bokan from Montenegro for the whole match. Zhetyssu sent in tall and towering players led by the 195cm-tall Tatyana Mudritskaya, Olga Nassedkina and Katerina Tatko.
Hisamitsu Springs comfortably took the first set 25-18 in their crucial quarter-final clash against the much taller Zhetyssu, but struggled to clinch the next two sets 25-20 25-23.
Left-hander Miyu Nagaoka led Hisamiitsu Seiyaku Springs with 20 points, 17 of them through her deadly attacks from 28 attempts. Risa Shinnabe assisted with 13 kills. Olga Nasedkina collected seven points for Zhetyssu.
“The Kazakhs are very tall and we found it very difficult to spike. Additionally, we made a lot of mistakes. Fortunately, we did a good job on service and we could adjust the tone of the game. We did well after that. In the third set,we suffered on receiving. We did not play our style. Against Taiwan Power in the semi-finals, I admit that they are very quick, but we will try to improve on our defence and find out how to get points in the game. We will do our best,” Koto Yoichi, head coach of Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs, commented after the match.
Unlike Hisamitsu, Taiwan Power on Friday faced an easier job against Petron Blaze Spikers when they showed no mercy to the Philippine side to thrash them in a one-sided battle 25-20 25-16 25-9 victory.
Chang Chen-Yi led Taiwan Power with 15 points including 14 kills from 24 attempts, while Abigail Marano collected seven points for Petron Blaze Spikers.
“We did not play well. Our team’s tempo was not good and that’s why our start was far from expectation in the first two sets. Petron Blaze Spikers also did not play well, while my team dropped from our best. Our next match is likely to be against Japan’s Hisamitsu Springs, which are very strong. However, if we happen to lose in that match, it’s still okay if we perform well up to our standard. In this match against Petron Blaze Spikers, Chen Wan-Ting can be our best spiker, while Wu Shu-Fen is the best middle blocker of our team. We now have to go back for more training in preparation for the next tough match against the Japanese team,” said Lin Ming-Hui, head coach of Taiwan Power.
Meanwhile, unbeaten Zhejiang put it past Thong Tin Lienvietpost Bank in straight sets 25-16 25-15 25-12. Li Jing led Zhejiang with 14 points including 11 kills from 29 attempts. Qiu Yanan assisted with nine kills. Yang Zhou had four stuff blocks and Wang Huimin collected three. Wang also bagged another three points from ace serves. Bui Thi Nga won seven points for Thong Tin Lienvietpost Bank.
“We played well in this match against the hosts. It’s an easy match. In the first set, my players felt a little bit nervous and they could not play that well. We next take on Thailand. The Thais had comprehensive skills, but they are not strong enough. I think we are much stronger than them,” said a confident Wu Sheng, head coach of Zhejiang, after the match.
In the semi-finals, Zhejiang will play Bangkok Glass, which on Friday pulled off a dramatic 25-18 25-15 22-25 25-23 win over DPR Korea’s 4.25 Sports Club.
Wilavan Apinyapong scored a match-high 18 points including 15 kills for Bangkok Glass. Pleumjit Thinkaow assisted with 11 points. Jong Jin Sim led 4.25 Sports Club with 20 points including 18 kills from 53 attempts.
“We dropped our form in the third set. My players underestimated the rivals. They might think that it was too easy winning the first two sets. I’m so afraid that if we have to play them in the fifth set, we might go down again as we faced the similar situation as we did in the crucial match against Chinese Taipei’s Taiwan Power. Fortunately, we served well and improved on our blocking attempts. Now, I’m so happy that we won this match because we have already fulfilled our target of making it to the semi-finals. If we happen to beat China’s Zhejiang in the semi-finals, that’s our benefit. We have to make a good plan in the next tough match against the Chinese,” commented Bangkok Glass’ head coach Kittipong Pornchartyingcheep.
The competition will run through Sunday, the final day of the nine-day championship which will guarantee the eventual winners the lone ticket from Asia to contest the next year’s FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship.
Taiwan Power (Chinese Taipei) b Petron Blaze Spikers (Philippines) 3-0 (25-20 25-16 25-9)
Zhejiang (China) b Thong Tin Lienvietpost Bank (Vietnam) 3-0 (25-16 25-15 25-12)
Bangkok Glass (Thailand) b 4.25 Sports Club (DPR Korea) 3-1 (25-18 25-15 22-25 25-23)
Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs (Japan) b Zhetyssu (Kzaakhstan) 3-0 (25-18 25-20 25-3)
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2015
2pm: 5th-8th playoffs: Petron Blaze Spikers (Philippines) v Zhetyssu (Kazakhstan)
4pm: Semi-finals: Bangkok Glass (Thailand) v Zhejiang (China)
6pm: 5th-8th playoffs: Thong Tin Lienvietpost Bank (Vietnam) v 4.25 Sports Club (DPR Korea)
8pm: Semi-finals: Taiwan Power (Chinese Taipei) v Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs (Japan)