Ardabil, Iran, May 2, 2017 – On the second day of the SMM 2nd Asian Men’s U23 Volleyball Championship, China, Chinese Taipei, and Thailand played their first encounters in this top-flight tournament, but only the first two tasted victories.
Japan advanced to quarter-finals after hard-fought win over Thailand
Japan, earlier beating Sri Lanka in straight sets, advanced to the quarter-finals as the Pool D winners following their 3-2 (30-28, 20-25, 25-19, 22-25, 15-8) win over Thailand, which played their first match on Tuesday.
Japan’s head coach Fumitoshi Tokunaga sent in all three towering players who stand over 2 metre tall including Issei Otake, who played a major role in counter-attacking. After going down in the first set, Thailand came back stronger in the second set with better tactics to take the set 25-20. The sturdy challenge of both teams brought five substitutions and three time-outs in the third set which was won by Japan 25-19. Thailand did not give up easily and instead troubled the Japanese at the final assault in the fourth set 25-22 for a 2-2 draw. In the decider, Japan overwhelmed Thailand 15-8 to complete their first round campaign atop Pool D and advanced to the quarter-finals. Thailand are to face Sri Lanka on Wednesday in their last preliminary match.
Thailand’s coach Monchai Supajirakul said, “TVA is planning to find tall and strong players to make it possible for these young talents to have a chance to play in this age group world tournaments.”
Hosts and defending champions Iran and Pakistan became the first two teams to make it to the quarter-finals as only both of them competed in Pool A, while only top two teams from each pool advance to the quarter-finals.
Chinese Taipei survived Uzbekistan scare in tie-breaker
Chinese Taipei narrowly beat Uzbekistan 3-2 (25-17, 22-25, 25-10, 28-30, 15-8). With two losses in a row, Uzbekistan failed to make the cut for the quarter-finals. Kazakhstan and Chinese Taipei, both with one win, are quite sure of advancing to the quarter-finals. They will battle it out on Wednesday to determine the Pool B winners.
Chinese Taipei’s head coach, Mr. Ching-Fang Yu, who has been in volleyball field for over 30 years, had only two weeks to prepare his players for this tournament but said after the match that “We did analyze the Uzbekistan team before entering the court.”
China brushed off Malaysia in straight sets
China powered past Malaysia in straight sets 25-22, 25-19, 25-19 in their opening match. Malaysia entered the court with heads high as the surprise winners over Australia, but against China, things turned sour for the Malaysians. TheWednesday’s match between China and Australia will decide the fate of Australia if they can go the distance.
Gu Jiafeng was instrumental in lifting China’s win over Malaysia including his 6 stuff blocks. Siong Tay, the head coach of Malaysia said “We did not perform well in our first balls and we need to work more. Chinese players are taller and could block better. I think, they can beat Australia as well.”
Guo Lei led China with 14 points and Jian Qin scored a match-high 20 points for Malaysia.
China finished a disappointing fourth place at the previoud edition in Myanmar two years ago, while Malaysia made their presence felt here in Iran.
Japan b Thailand 3-2 (30-28, 20-25, 25-19, 22-25, 15-8)
Chinese Taipei b Uzbekistan 3-2 (25-17, 22-25, 25-10, 28-30, 15-8)
China b Malaysia 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-19)
Match Schedule (May 3, 2017)
Sri Lanka v Thailand
Kazakhstan v Chinese taipei
China v Australia
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