Volleyball News

Manila, Philippines, August 13, 2017 – Rivalries heat up at the SMM 19th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship on Monday when Japan, Korea, Thailand and Kazakhstan head to the final day of the top 8 playoff encounters with remarkable unbeaten record.

The quartet captured the top spots in their pools at completion of the round-robin preliminaries on August 11 and maintained their winning streak on Sunday when the top-flight competition has reached the quarter-final classification round.

At the Alonte Sports Arena, Thailand, world No.14 and bronze medallists at the previous Asian meet in Tianjin, China two years ago, survived a strong challenge from China’s young bloods to overpower the defending and 13-time Asian winners in hard-fought five-set thriller 25-22 22-25 25-16 23-25 15-12.

Thailand, 10th place at the FIVB World Grand Prix Preliminaries this season, fielded a young, potential squad led by powerful Ajcharaporn Kongyot, Chatchu-on Moksri and Pimpichaya Kokram, while left-hander, 194cm-tall Chen Pei Yan, and Cai Xiao Qing, who won the Best Outside Spiker Award at the last year’s Asian Women’s U19 Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand and led China to capturing the title on home soil, led the China’s charge.

Thailand, winners at the 2009 and 2013 Asian Championship, are due to take on old foes Japan, the team they went down two times in a row at this year’s World Grand Prix, to determine the Pool F winners on Monday.

Japan, former three-time Asian winners and sixth place at this year’s World Grand Prix, brushed off Chinese Taipei in straight sets 25-19 25-16 25-20. Still, Japan head coach Kumi Nakada expressed her dissatisfaction over her players’ below-par performance.

“I think we had bad reception today. It was because the opponents are a good serving team,” said the Japanese coach, talking about Chinese Taipei scoring 11 easy points off aces against Japan.

To make up for the team’s lukewarm reception, Yurie Nabeya and Haruyo Shimamura piled on the points and ended the match with 15 markers apiece.

Vouching that her players are in good condition in spite of the team’s busy schedule, Nakada said preparations for their remaining matches will be nothing out of the ordinary.

“We treat every game the same. We prepare ourselves for the game the same way regardless of who we’re up against,” she closed.

Kazakhstan bucked their slow start Sunday to turn back Vietnam in
dramatic four sets 21-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-20.

In a match scheduled at 10am local time, an underwhelming opening frame is exactly what Kazakhstan team captain Radmila Beresneva expected.

“It was too early for us,” Beresneva admitted in an interview. “We are happy with the win today. It was hard for us to get it. The first set we had problems in receive and service.”

What lies ahead, however, will put the squad’s 3-0 record to their toughest challenge yet in a match-up against powerhouses Korea on Monday.

“We played against Korea in the Grand Prix and we lost. We will try harder this time to get a win,” shared Beresneva.

Also making their mark on Sunday were Korea following their 25-23, 25-18, 25-12 over hosts Philippines.

“The Philippines are very strong and if we want to be the best against them, I think we have to foil Alyssa Valdez’s attacking attempts. Against Kazakhstan, our preparation must be intense and we have to do our best against the formidable rivals” Korea head coach Hong Sunmin commented.

At the Muntinlupa Sports Complex, the competition venue served for the lower-ranked teams in their chase for a better position in the 9th-14th classification round, Australia whipped underdogs Maldives in a totally one-sided battle 25-9 25-5 25-19, while Thilini Perera capped off what Wasana Dharmatissa started as both starred in Sri Lanka’s scintillating 5-set win over Hong Kong 25-14, 14-25, 25-23, 23-25, 16-14 in their Pool G match-up

Sri Lanka now hope New Zealand will also beat winless Hong Kong to avoid any complication on which team will be dropped to the 13th-14th classification game.

The playoffs continue through Monday before the top 8 teams of the tournament will be ranked respectively to compete in cross quarter-finals the following day.

At Alonte Sports Arena
Pool E
Kazakhstan b Vietnam 3-1 (21-25 25-23 25-22 25-20)
Korea b Philippines 3-0 (25-23 25-18 25-12)

Pool F
Thailand b China 3-2 (25-22 22-25 25-16 23-25 15-12)
Japan b Chinese Taipei 3-0 (25-19 25-16 25-20)

At Muntinlupa Sports Complex
Pool G: Sri Lanka b Hong Kong 3-2 (25-14 25-14 25-23 23-25 16-14)
Pool H: Australia b Maldives 3-0 (25-9 25-5 25-19)

At Alonte Sports Arena
10.00am: Pool F: China v Chinese Taipei
12.30pm: Pool E: Kazakhstan v Korea
15.00pm: Pool F: Japan v Thailand
17.30pm: Pool E: Philippines v Vietnam

At Muntinlupa Sports Complex
10.00am: Pool H: Australia v Iran
12.30pm: Pool G: Hong Kong v New Zealand


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