Manila, Philippines, August 14, 2017 – Liu Meng Ya scored a match-high 22 points from 17 attacks, 3 blocks and 2 aces to help China power past fighting Chinese Taipei in hard-fought five-set thriller 25-22 19-25 20-25 25-21 15-11 in their last top 8 playoff encounter at the SMM 19th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship at the Alonte Sports Arena on Monday.
China, defending and 13-time Asian winners but sending a strong U23 squad this time, went down in straight sets to Japan in their opening match and suffered the second loss at the hands of Thailand in exhausting five sets in their previous match on Sunday. Chinese Taipei also succumbed to straight two defeats to Japan and Thailand in their first two matches at the top-tier tournament. The Monday’s encounter was to decide the third and fourth places in Pool F.
China, whose height average is 182cm against the smaller-built rivals’ 173cm, played a tough first set against Chinese Taipei, regarded as one of the Asia’s teams with excellent defensive tactics. China took the close first set 25-22, but failed to make their mark in the second set, which they lost 19-25 to the determined Chinese Taipei.
The third set was still dominated by Chinese Taipei as China dropped from their aggressive form, allowing the gallant rivals attacking opportunities. Chinese Taipei took the set 25-20 before China bounced back to snatch the fourth set 25-21.
The tie-breaker was closely-contested from the very beginning, but China, led by powerful Liu Meng Ya, fared better to capture the decider 15-11 and match.
Liu Meng Ya and Jin Ye attacked spectacularly for similar 17 kills, while Liu Meng Ya and Huang Rui Lei combined well to contribute 3 block points for the winning side. Wu Wei-Hua led Chinese Taipei with 25 points, all through her attacks. Tseng Wan-Ling assisted with 17 points including 13 kills and 2 blocks.
With the win, China finished third in Pool F, leaving Chinese Taipei to come in fourth place.
“It’s a tough match. We tried to score every point we could, but sometimes, Chinese Taipei came up with tactics we could not predict easily. We tried again just to play our best in the fourth set and it worked out well. Fortunately, we won the fourth and the decider,” Liu Meng Ya said in an interview through a translator.
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