Volleyball News

Surabaya, Indonesia, July 29, 2017 – The SMM 19th Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship has reached its climax on Sunday when top eight teams are battling it out in the quarter-finals to seek smooth progress to the final four, with Korea and China setting up an heavyweight clash.

Korea, the only unbeaten team in the top-tier competition, cruised past Kazakhstan in dramatic four sets 25-18 23-25 25-23 25-13 to make a clean sweep in Pool E with 8 points from straight three wins. Kazakhstan dropped to the third position with only 2 points from one win against 2 losses, while hosts Indonesia had only 1 point from successive three losses.

“We did our best to win this match against Kazakhstan. After winning the first set, we did not expect to lose the second set. We just worried about it and then lost it. In our next match against China in the quarter-finals, I admit that it will be a little bit tough game. Since China are very good at blocking and they are also very fast, so we are expecting an exciting match agains them. Today, we made a lot of changes in player rotation. It was just because we want to use many players in our next match,” Korea’s head coach Kim Hochul commented after the match.

Defending and eight-time champions Japan finished second in Pool E with 7 points from two wins against one loss to Korea. The Japanese on Saturday overcame a first-set threat against hosts Indonesia to win a comfortable battle 25-23 25-15 25-12.

Former consecutive two-time Asian champions Iran ruled Pool F with 6 points from 2 wins against one loss, the similar performance achieved by Chinese Taipei. However, with the better sets ratio, Iran moved to the top of Pool F, with Chinese Taipei in second position. Australia and China came in respective third and fourth places following the similar match results. Nonetheless, the former had a better sets ratio, leaving the latter to finish fourth of the pool.

In the Sunday’s quarter-final encounters, Korea are due to take on China, bronze medallists at the previous Asian meet in Tehran, Iran two years ago, in what can be regarded as a clash of the Titans. The winning team will progress to the semi-finals, with the losers relegated to the 5th-8th classification round.

Japan and Australia set up a rematch of the 2018 FIVB Men’s World Championship AVC Qualifier Pool B in Canberra. There, the Japanese struggled hard to beat the host side in hard-fought five-set thriller. However, both teams have already made the cut for the next year’s world meet following a one-two finish in the top-notch tournament.

Chinese Taipei caused a major sensation on Saturday after pulling off a stunning 3-1 victory over China, their first win ever over the Asia’s big guns. With the scintillating win, Chinese Taipei will next go up against Kazakhstan.

After the match, Chinese Taipei’s head coach Yu Ching-Fang said,”I’m glad that we won the match against China. I can say that it’s perfect. My players did a good job in receiving, blocking and serving. China are tall with high blocks, but today they played inconsistently. As far as I’m concerned, Chinese Taipei had beaten China before in the Asian Men’s U23 Championship and the Asian Men’s Club Championship, but not the Asian Senior Men’s Championship. This is for the first time-ever that Chinese Taipei beat China in the men’s senior level. We will try to do our best in the quarter-finals no matter which team we will play.”

An uphill task awaits Indonesia when the host side will be put to the test by Iran, current world No.7 but fielding a strong U23 squad which are preparing for the next month’s FIVB Men’s U23 World Championship in Cairo, Egypt. The Iranian U23 team on Saturday saw off Australia in four-setter 25-11 25-19 22-25 25-17.

“I’m very happy for the fact that my team are the U23 squad, while Australia are the senior side which have already clinched a ticket to the next year’s FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship. One week ago, we came here just to gain experience and today we played a very good match. We are now preparing for our next match tomorrow against Indonesia. It will be a very difficult match because the Indonesians have their home crowds to support them. I hope we can do our best again,” said Iran’s Argentine head coach Juan Manuel Cichello.

Meanwhile, in the 9th-16th playoff encounters at the Wahana Ekspresi Poesponegoro Gymnasium on Saturday, Qatar, seventh place at the FIVB World League Group 3 this season and fourth place at the previous Asian meet in Tehran, Iran two years ago, overcame a sturdy challenge from Vietnam to pull off a dramatic 3-1 (25-22 25-15 19-25 27-25) victory over the Southeast Asian side to capture the top spot in Pool G. Vietnam came in second in the pool.

Determined Thailand defied against all odds to brush off Pakistan in straight sets 25-18 26-24 25-23 to make a clean sweep in Pool H with 9 points from straight three wins. Pakistan finished second in the pool with 5 points.

Saudi Arabia overcame scare against Sri Lanka to beat the strong opponents in thrilling four sets 25-17 27-25 19-25 25-23, while Iraq won the last match at the W.E.P Gymnasium after a 3-1 (25-13 25-22 23-25 25-19) rout of Hong Kong.

On Sunday, the 9th-12th playoff encounters see Qatar take on Pakistan and Thailand play Vietnam in an all-Aseans affair, while Iraq face Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka meet Hong Kong in the 13th-16th playoff matches.

Saturday’s results
At the Tri Dharma Petrokimia Gymnasium
Top-eight playoff encounters
Iran b Australia 3-1 (25-11 25-19 22-25 25-17)
Korea b Kazakhstan 3-1 (25-18 23-25 25-23 25-13)
Chinese Taipei b China 3-1 (25-22 19-25 27-25 25-20)
Japan b Indonesia 3-0 (25-23 25-15 25-12)

At the Wahana Ekspresi Poesponegoro Gymnasium
9th-16th playoff matches
Qatar b Vietnam 3-1 (25-22 25-15 19-25 27-25)
Thailand b Pakistan 3-0 (25-18 26-24 25-23)
Saudi Arabia b Sri Lanka 3-1 (25-17 27-25 19-25 25-23)
Iraq b Hong Kong 3-1 (25-13 25-22 23-25 25-19)

Match schedule
Sunday, July 30, 2017
At the Tri Dharma Petrokimia Gymnasium
11.30am: Chinese Taipei v Kazakhstan
14.00pm: Japan v Australia
16.30pm: Korea v China
19.00pm: Iran v Indonesia

At the Wahana Ekspresi Poesponegoro Gymnasium
13th-16th playoffs
11.30am: Sri Lanka v Hong Kong
14.00pm: Iraq v Saudi Arabia

9th-12th playoff
16.30pm: Qatar v Pakistan
19.00pm: Thailand v Vietnam


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