Manila, Philippines, August 15, 2017 – China, defending and 13-time Asian champions but fielding a strong team of young bloods this time, keep their title-defence hopes alive as they became the first team to advance to the semi-finals of the SMM 19th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship following their convincing 25-16 34-32 25-23 victory over Kazakhstan at the Alonte Sports Arena on Tuesday.
China, which have already suffered two losses to Japan and Thailand in this championship, got off to a flying start in the first set with Liu Meng Ya, Cai Xiaoqing and Jin Ye taking an awesome offensive mobility.
China led initially 8-1 and widened the gap to 11-5, but shortly after that Kazakhstan found their rhythm. With Katerina Tatko producing fine serves and Yekaterina Zhdanova in aggressive attacks, Kazakhstan scored successive five points as they narrowed the margin 10-11. However, China played well to hold them off, thanks to Jin Ye’s brilliant form. Taking a commanding 23-16 lead, China went on their attacks. Jin Ye showed her jumping incredibility, overcoming the high blockers with her sharp spikes to score the last two points for the China’s 25-16 win.
Holding a 1-0 advantage, China struggled to hit their form. As the Chinese game was riddled with poor reception and unforced attacking mistakes, Kazakhstan grabbed the opportunity to unleash a series of attacks to set an early pace 16-13. Attempting to add more firepower to their team, China put their acts together and fought back hard to catch the rivals at 21-21 and went on to lead 24-23, needing only one more point to take the set. However, Kazakhstan did not want to surrender easily as they spiked, blocked and boosted. The set became more thrilling as both sides gave it all what they had to win the set. China held their nerves to win the exhausting see-saw set 34-32.
The third set was a close battle as both sides traded points from the very beginning. China produced the goods to lead commandingly 23-21. A Jin Ye’s cross-court attack handed China a match-point and Liu Meng Ya followed with another deadly spike to end the Kazakhstan’s challenge. China captured the set 25-23, match and a semi-final berth.
Jin Ye and Liu Meng Ya scored double digits for China, with Jin leading with 20 points including 17 kills from 44 attempts and Liu winning 15 points including 14 attacks.
“I have to give credit of success to all of my team players. As a young team, they played with hearts. Kazakstan are very powerful and to beat them, my young team had to play with high spirits and consistency. In fact, my team are very, very young players. Since famous players are preparing for the 13th National Games of China at the end of this month in Tianjin, the Chinese Volleyball Association decided to send this young team to the Asian Championship here. I’m very glad that my team made it to the semi-finals although there is no China national player in the squad,” said a proud Bao Zhuang, head coach of China, in an interview after the match.
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