Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, May 17, 2017 – Thailand and Japan topped their pools to storm their ways into the quarter-finals of the SMM 2nd Asian Women’s U23 Volleyball Championship at The Mall Nakhon Ratchasima’s MCC Hall with remarkable unbeaten record on Wednesday.
Locked in a hotly-contested battle, hosts Thailand survived a sturdy challenge from Chinese Taipei to beat the determined opponents in a hard-fought four-set thriller 27-25 23-25 28-26 25-21 in their second playoff match of the round of the last eight teams.
Chatchu-on Moksri scored a team-high 23 points, all from her deadly attacks, for Thailand. Pimpichaya Kokram contributed with 21 kills. Tseng Wan-Ling led Chinese Taipei with 19 points including 11 kills and 7 scintillating blocks.
After the match, Thailand’s head coach Nataphon Srisamutnak said, “I think Thailand and Chinese Taipei played well in this match. Both teams came up with the similar level in attacks, but in some crucial moments Chinese Taipei performed much better on solid defence.
“They also counter-attacked well to score consecutive points. Fortunately, we blocked well to improve our fortunes in this match. I admit that Chinese Taipei are very strong and to beat them is not an easy job. Following this win, we are quite confident of advancing to the semi-finals, where we are due to take on Vietnam,” Nataphon said.
Japan, the only team which have yet to lose a set to their respective rivals, breezed past Iran in a one-sided battle 25-13 25-14 25-12 on Wednesday.
Misaki Yamauchi led Japan with 13 points including 11 kills from 18 attempts, with Mivako Osanai adding 11 kills and Ayaka Sugi 5 ace serves. Dargazani Tahmineh collected 6 points for Iran.
Vietnam also had something to cheer about on Wednesday following their convincing 25-15 27-25 25-15 victory over Malaysia, while Kazakhstan trounced Hong Kong in comfortable straight sets 25-17 25-10, 25-15.
At the end of playoff matches at the round of the last eight teams on Wednesday, Thailand topped Pool E with 9 points from straight three wins, followed by Chinese Taipei and Kazakhstan with 6 and 3 points respectively. Winless Hong Kong came in fourth place.
Undefeated Japan claimed Pool F top spot with 9 points, while Vietnam and Iran finished second and third places with 6 and 3 points respectively. Lacklustre Malaysia were in fourth position.
Thursday is the rest day. The competition resumes on Friday in the quarter-finals, with Japan taking on Hong Kong, Thailand playing Malaysia, Iran going up against Chinese Taipei and Vietnam challenging Kazakhstan. The four winning teams will secure their places in the semi-finals, with the four losers relegated to the 5th-8th classification round.
In the 9th-13th classification round earlier, Uzbekistan cruised past New Zealand in dramatic four sets 25-18 25-27 25-15 25-17 on Wednesday.
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