Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, May 29, 2017 – Japan’s Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs secured their slot in the semi-final phase of the SMM 2017 Asian Women’s Club Samruk Kazyna Volleyball Championship by winning over Taiwan Power 3-1 (25-20, 15-25, 25-12, 25-19) at the Boris Alexandrov Sports Palace on Monday.
Hikari Kato scored 19 points, the highest across the board, but underlined the importance of playing as one unit.
“In the second set, our spirits went down and we needed to adjust. We tried to concentrate better, and worked as a team to win points, one by one,” Kato said.
Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs established their quick brand of offence early in the opening set, anchored on Yuka Imamura at the wing. Taiwan Power proved that it could defend with good coverage and fight back with the attacks from Lee Tzu-Ying. Teams traded points, as the scoreboard read 11-11. Later, Chinese Taipei’s Huang Ching-Hsuan made good tip-ins from the left side to give Taiwan Power the 16-15 lead at the second technical time-out.
The Chinese Taipei side squandered some points on attack errors, while Japan’s Kato proved to be a lethal force from the left side. Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs won the first set 25-20.
Taiwan Power amassed an 9-1 lead in the second set as they scored with off-speed attacks and tip-ins. They likewise performed well from the service line, either scoring off aces, or rendering difficulty to their opponents’ first ball. Most importantly, they displayed impressive defence on both net and floor, which allowed them set up their plays. They continued to lead with 16-5 at the second technical time-out. Tseng Wan-Ling and Wen I-Tzu later connected with quick attacks, which helped bring Taiwan Power to win the second set, 25-15.
In the third set, Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs vindicated themselves by running their offence tighter to leave no room nor time for the opponents to post good defence. Yuka Taura scored from the wing to help the Japanese side grip a 16-8 lead at the second technical time-out. Kato continued to attack from the wing, and the back row. The Japanese blockers imposed their presence at the net to help bring their side to win 25-12 in the third set.
By the fourth set, Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs continued to employ speed in their plays, leaving the opponents unable to pass the ball well. The Chinese Taipei side tried to bounce back, using captain Chang Li-Yun on the wing, and Tseng Wan-Ling at the middle. With the set tied at 16-16, the Japanese club showed better capabilities in transition, utilising quick plays with captain Risa Ishibashi. The momentum swung to the side of Hisamitsu Seiyaku Springs, with Imamura’s tip-in bringing a 25-19 finish.
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