Nakhon Ratchasima, July 28, 2016 – The SMM 18th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship has reached its climax on Friday when top eight teams will join the fray in the knockout quarter-finals at The Mall Nakhon Ratchasima’s MCC Hall, with hosts Thailand setting up a must-win clash against Chinese Taipei.
Top eight teams on Thursday played their last round-robin match in Pool E and Pool F to seek a better position at their pools at the end of the playoffs.
In Pool E, Vietnam struggled to beat India in pulsating four sets 25-22 23-25 25-21 25-15, with Japan producing a fantastic comeback victory over determined Thailand in hard-fought five-set thriller 23-25 25-16 19-25 25-13 15-11.
Chinese Taipei ousted Kazakhstan in straight sets In Pool F 25-22 25-15 27-25, while reigning champions China stormed back from the first set down to beat gallant Korea in exhausting five sets 20-25 25-17 23-25 25-19 15-10.
In the first match of the day, India went down to Vietnam in four sets, but outperformed the rivals in individual scoring skills as Vala Kinjalben scored a match-high 18 points to topple Vietnam’s players. Luu Thi Hue led Vietnam with 15 points, 13 through her spectacular spikes.
“Our style of volleyball is completely different from India. I am Japanese so we performed East Asian style. Today, we worked hard on our serves. Since Indian libero is not good at reception, we made use of the opportunities given to snatch the win,” Vietnam’s Japanese head coach Koichi Shuto commented after the match.
A clash between Japan and Thailand turned out to be a tense battle as both teams had been forced to compete in the do-or-die tie-breaker. A large number of home crowds inspired them to win but Japan performed exceptionally well to silence the cheering fans with their splendid teamwork and powerful combination spikes.
Japan owed their considerable credit for the team’s success to Reina Tokoku, an half-Japanese, half-Kenyan player who led the team with 19 points including 14 kills from 44 attempts. Pimpichaya Kokram scored a team-high 29 points for Thailand.
Japan’s head coach Abo Kiyoshi said: “Today’s match was very hard and I am not satisfied with the players. We made a lot of unforced mistakes. My players did not serve well. Our next match against Kazakhstan will be another tough battle. Kazakhstan have different styles in volleyball from ours and they play with high balls.”
Thailand head coach Chamnan Dokmai said: “Japan are very strong team. Some of my players put on much pressure while taking on the Japanese. After we lost the match, some players in my team were in tears. This match was so tough and the players were stressed. But, it is still a good experience as we had learned a lot of things from this match. Japan changed tactics in the final set and they played fast. In our next match against Chinese Taipei, we have to analyse the team first. I’m upbeat that we can beat them. Chinese Taipei are strong defensively, but they do not have quick spikes. My players will do our best in coming up with good serves as we have already learned that if they cannot receive well, this will allow us good opportunity to win.”
In the Pool F encounters, Chinese Taipei had a little problems in demolishing Kazakhstan in straight sets. Chen Yu-Chieh top scored with massive 21 points for Chinese Taipei including 14 on attacks, while Kristina Belova led Kazakhstan with 14 points.
Chinese Taipei head coach Jen Lo Chung expressed his satisfaction over the match’s result: “I am satisfied with the result but not the performance of my players. I did not put them under the pressure and I never shouted at them while playing. But they still need improvement. I will have to do something more to win against the much stronger teams such as China and Korea.”
The last match of the day made much of the impact as title-holders China forced fighting Korea to play in a thrilling tie-breaker which saw the hotly-contested encounter end in an epic five-setter in favour of the powerhouses China.
Hard-hitting Qian Jingwen scored a team-high 28 points for China including 23 kills from 50 attempts. Wu Han and Cai Xiaoqing added 18 and 15 respectively on attacks. Ji Minkyeong emerged as the top scorer of Korea with 18 points, all of them through her deadly attacks.
At the end of the top-eight playoffs on Thursday, teams in Pool E and Pool F have been ranked according to their performances. Japan captured the Pool E top spot with 8 points from three straight wins, followed by hosts Thailand in second place with 7 points from two wins against one loss. Vietnam and India finished third and fourth places in the pool with 3 and no point respectively.
Defending 11-time champions China top Pool F with 8 points from three wins in a row. Korea came in second position with 7 points from two wins against one loss. Chinese Taipei and Kazakhstan finished third and fourth places with 3 and no point respectively.
The knockout quarter-finals will be held on Friday, with the team finishing first in Pool E playing the Pool F fourth place and the Pool E second position taking on the Pool F third place.
The action-packed quarter-finals are quite certain of attracting a large number of home spectators as the Thursday’s encounters will determine the final four teams to contest the semi-finals.
Japan will be pitted against Kazakhstan, while China are expected to have an easy match against India. Korea will take on Vietnam, with hosts Thailand going up against Chinese Taipei.
Meanwhile, the 9th-15th playoffs at the Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University Gymnasium saw Iran enjoy a field day on Thursday after outclassing underdogs Sri Lanka in an easy encounter 25-13 25-6 25-18.
Fartkho Mohammadi led Iran with 10 points consisting of 6 on spikes and 4 on ace serves, while Foumani Shirtari produced well-placed serves to add 7 crucial points on aces. Chamali Karunarathina claimed 5 points for Sri Lanka, all of them through her attacks.
In the all-Oceanians battle, Australia struggled to beat New Zealand in dramatic four sets 25-17 22-25 25-20 25-18. Katie Gardner scored a team-high 16 points for Australia including 14 kills from 33 attempts, while Emma Mabbott tallied 12 points for New Zealand.
Also winning at this venue were the Philippines, which came from behind to beat Hong Kong in four sets 23-25 25-22 25-14 25-11 in gruelling 103 minutes.
Jasmine Nabor top scored with 19 points for Philippines including 15 devastating hits.Genesis Trisha Mae and Mendrez Mary Anne added 10 points each on spikes. Tam Hin Ching Rachel led Hong Kong with 18 points.
At MCC Hall
Vietnam b India 3-1 (25-22 23-25 25-21 25-15)
Japan b Thailand 3-2 (23-25 25-16 19-25 25-13 15-11)
Chinese Taipei b Kazakhstan 3-0 (25-22 25-15 27-25)
China b Korea 3-2 (20-25 25-17 23-25 25-19 15-10)
At Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University Gymnasium
Iran b Sri Lanka 3-0 (25-13 25-6 25-18)
Australia b New Zealand 3-1 (25-17 22-25 25-20 25-18)
Philippines b Hong Kong 3-1 (23-25 25-22 25-14 25-11)
JULY 29, 2016
At MCC Hall
12.00pm: Japan v Kazakhstan
2pm: China v India
4pm: Korea v Vietnam
6pm: Thailand v Chinese Taipei
At Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University Gymnasium
2pm: 13th-15th playoff: Sri Lanka v New Zealand
4pm: 9th-12th playoff: Iran v Australia
6pm: 9th-12th playoff: Philippines v Macao