Surabaya, Indonesia, July 30, 2017 – Undefeated Korea stormed into the semi-finals of the SMM 19th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship after thrashing China in straight sets 25-18 25-19 25-23 in the quarter-finals at the Tri Dharma Petrokimia Gymnasium on Sunday, relegating the bronze medallists at the previous episode in Tehran, Iran two years ago to the 5th-8th classification.
Korea, sixth place at the FIVB World League Group 2 this season and a disappointing 7th position in Tehran, fielded a strong line-up led by Lee Kangwon, who topscored with 21 points for the team in their previous match against Kazakhstan, and Park Joohyeong, while veteran Zhong Weijun, hard-attacking Ji Daoshuai and the 205cm-tall Rao Shuhan spearheaded the Chinese side.
Korea kicked off to a brilliant start in the opening set, with Shin Yungsuk and Jin Sangheon producing scintillating blocks to help the team lead by wide margin of 7-1 and as the Chinese failed to make their mark and played erratically in serving and attacking, Korea grabbed the chance to attack effectively for the convincing 25-18 win.
The 205cm-tall Jiang Chuan gave China a brief comeback in the second set when he uncorked a series of sharp spikes to score some crucial points to trail the Koreans 15-18. Nonetheless, Moon Sungmin was sent in to help improve the Korea’s uncertain situations. The intention came to fruition with Korea snatching the set 25-19.
The third set was more exciting when both sides traded points till the score was tied at 23-23. Korea showed their consistency to grab both points for the hard-fought 25-23 win in the set and match.
Park Joohyeong led Korea with 14 points from 11 kills and 3 aces, while Jung Jieseok added 8 kills, one block and 3 aces. Jiang Chuan emerged as the China’s best scorer with 16 points including 14 kills. Liu Libin contributed 11 points including 9 kills.
“I think we played a tough match against China. However, it’s obvious that China had a little problem in their reception and we then attacked them easily. However, I have never thought that the match would end in three sets. It should have been a much tougher match. We will next take on Kazakhstan. They are tall with high blocking. We have to put in much effort to beat them. However, I set my team’s chances of advancing to the final round just 50-50,” said Korea’s head coach Kim Hochul after the match.
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