Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei, July 13, 2016 – Title-holders Iran, Korea and China became the only three undefeated teams at the SMM 18th Taichung Bank Asian Men’s U20 Volleyball Championship after beating Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan respectively in straight sets on Wednesday. Pool A champions Thailand tasted their first failure in a five-set thriller against Pool C runner-up Japan.
Iran b Sri Lanka 3-0
Defending champions Iran continued their journey to the top 8 play-offs at the 18th Asian Men’s U20 Volleyball Championship without losing any set, and this record was kept on as they slaughtered the dark horse Sri Lanka 25-18, 25-14, 25-14 at Kaohsiung Arena on Wednesday.
Compared to other teams that Iran have played against, the attacks of Sri Lanka were more aggressive and speedy. Errors emerged frequently from Iran side, including poor receptions and serves. Before the second technical timeout, Iran fell behind one point to Sri Lanka in 15-16. Captain Rasoul spiked a crucial point, leading the team to a 16-16 tie. The timeout called by Sri Lanka seemed helpless when Iran were on fire. The first set soon ended with 25-18 in Iran’s favor.
Reducing the errors, Iran enhanced their defense and attacks in the second and the third sets. Team work made the team more powerful and mighty. No. 14 of Iran, Javad tipped at the appropriate moment, which weakened the morale of Sir Lanka. With a big advantage in hand, Iran substituted almost all the bench players except No. 7 Mirbabak to the court in the third set. It took only one hour for Iran to finish this game.
“Sri Lanka are good, but we are not threatened.” said the Iranian head coach Behrouz. He also complimented his players for not losing any set so far, which was very important for the team. As for the next match against Korea which will be held at 12:30 (GMT+8) on July 14, he indicated that Iran should enhance their defense as Korea are famous for the speed and service.
Iran captain Rasoul emphasized that the good spikes, good blocks and good services gave them the superiority. Combining all the skills together, Iran won.
Korea b Turkmenistan 3-0
Korea saw Turkmenistan off in three sets to end up with same scores (25-18, 25-18, 25-18).
Starting off with some good spikes by left-wing spiker, No. 10 Han Kukmin, Korea quickly went ahead of Turkmenistan. Despite the positive attitude showed by No.7 Seyitgeldiyev on both attack and defense, Turkmenistan somehow lost some points due to their incapability of connecting with each other. After a timeout called by Turkmenistan, they seemed to make even more unnecessary errors. Korea’s libero No.5 Oh Eunryeol was everywhere to dig many good balls so that the team could organize easy counterattacks and soon took over the first set in 25-18.
Turkmenistan tried to score with different strategies, aiming to distract Korea’s defense in the second set. Though, errors from Turkmenistan kept coming out in both serves and spikes, letting Korea chase up without any efforts. By containing successfully the best scorer No.7 Seyitgeldiyev of Turkmenistan, who finally got 11 points, Korea smoothly secured the second set in 25-18.
The third set started with three points in a row scored by Korea. Turkmenistan struggled to catch up closer after the second technical timeout but a powerful serve by Korea’s captain No.1 Kim Jeongho allowed them no chance. In another 25-18, Korea finished the match and harvested their fourth win at the championship.
China b Kazakhstan 3-0
It took only less than one hour for China to stage a massacre-style win over Kazakhstan in 25-12, 25-9 and 25-14.
The match tone was set from the beginning as China presented their violent style of plays and built an early 5-0 lead. Unbreakable wall of defense and excellent connection of China kept high pressure on Kazakhstan, forcing them out of breath and yielding very soon.
China’s No. 12 Tao Zixuan scored the top 15 points while Kazakhstan’s best scorer No. 7 Alexandr sneaked poor 8 points in front of the taller Chinese.
Japan b Thailand 3-2
Thailand had a good chance to keep their unbeaten record but their up-to-41 errors ruined themselves. Japan managed to win this five-set thriller by a narrow margin of 25-19, 21-25, 22-25, 25-20 and 15-12.
The best scorer went to Japan’s captain No.18 Kenta, who got 19 points from spikes and 4 from blocks. Thailand’s No. 16 Kantapat contributed the most to his team with 20 points.
Chinese Taipei b Pakistan 3-1
Having lost the previous two matches and kissed goodbye to top 8, Chinese Taipei finally snapped their losing streak by beating Pakistan in four sets (25-12, 25-18, 23-25, 26-24) on Wednesday.
By enhancing their serves and reception, Chinese Taipei seemed to find the right way to play as their quick attacks and efficient blocks came back in the first two set. And smoothly, they took a 2-0 lead in 25-12 and 25-18.
However, victory was never so easy for these young players to obtain. Once again, Chinese Taipei faced turbulence in the third set, as their careless errors appeared frequently. Pakistan’s best scorer No.5 Fahad and captain No. 10 Cheena stood out in time by scoring alternatively from both wings and led the team to a narrow set win 25-23.
In the fourth set, errors showed up in both teams and the scores stayed tight. Pakistan kept bombing at the weak points of Chinese Taipei. As the captain of Chinese Taipei, Lin, Lu-Wei constantly encouraged his teammates by practical actions of successful blocks and spikes. At the very crucial moment of 22-24 behind, Chinese Taipei scored four points in a row and beat Pakistan with 24.
In the other matches, Iraq dominated Saudi Arabia 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-22) and Qatar prevailed Australia 3-1 (25-23, 25-27, 25-21, 29-27). Hong Kong, China survived another five-set thriller against Bahrain 25-16, 17-25, 22-25, 25-12, 15-13.
The SMM 18th Taichung Bank Asian Men’s U20 Volleyball Championship will have another round of play-offs featuring a head-to-head match between Iran and Korea Thursday before going to the quarter-finals. The winners of the quarter-finals will enter semi-finals while losing teams strive for the 5th -8th. Top two teams of the championship will represent AVC at the next year’s FIVB Men’s U21 Volleyball World Championship.