Manila, Philippines, August 10, 2017 – Strong teams made short work of their unfancied rivals on the second day of the SMM 19th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship, allowing all six encounters contested on Thursday to end in fantastic fashion with a 3-0 scoreline.
With just one day remaining before the pool round-robin preliminaries will be concluded on Friday, seven teams have already secured their places at the round of the last eight teams in this top-tier championship.
Former two-time Asian winners Japan have already recorded straight two wins in Pool A and are assured of claiming the top spot in the pool. Japan on Thursday took advantage of the absence of superstar spiker Zhu Ting to thrash the China’s young bloods 25-14, 25-17, 26-24 to remain on course. China, defending and 13-time Asian champions, will next play a must-win match against Australia to keep their hopes of joining Japan to the round of the last eight teams alive. The possible loss to Australia on Friday will relegate the Chinese side to the 9th-14th classification instead.
Asked about the exclusion from the lineup of some big names, Japan head coach Kumi Nakada clarified it has nothing to do with injuries.
“We’re just trying and experimenting different lineups in official tournaments like this. They will see action again sooner or later in other competitions,” Nakada said in an interview.
Unlike their first day showing, Chinese Taipei were razor sharp from start to finish as they mercilessly crushed Maldives 25-9, 25-8, 25-10. Chinese Taipei hope the momentum brought by their second win can give them a boost to take down powerhouses Thailand on Friday for a shot to top Pool D.
To the delight of the fans in attendance, Thailand’s world-class setter Nootsara Tomkom finally was seen in action in the top-flight tournament against Iran, which saw the Thai team overpower the tall rivals 25-18 25-12 25-16.
“I think we played better than yesterday. This is just our second game in the Philippines. Tomorrow, I hope, we will improve more,” said promising Wilavan Apinyapong, who, despite the limited playing time, contributed 4 points to her team’s winning cause.
As veterans Nootsara, Wilavan and Pleumjit Thinkaow get well-deserved rest following their stint at the 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix, Thailand’s new wave of stars took the challenge with Chatchu-on Moksri leading the charge via 13 markers.
“Our team had a lot of games before this tournament. We played in the Grand Prix for three weeks. After that we had only 9 days to prepare for this championship. Our coach and staff teach us how to keep our energy and performance up. I hope we can win again this time. First time we had our championship was in 2009. In 2011, we did not win. And in 2013 we won again. It’s like every other year we win. I hope this year will be lucky for our team,” shared the outside hitter.
Meanwhile, as towering star spiker Kim Yeon-koung continued to ride the bench, perennial contender Korea needed to break a sweat this time around before hammering a fighting Sri Lanka side 25-14, 25-17, 25-13.
But it didn’t really dampen head coach Hong Sungjin’s confidence on his young wards, which still get the job done to remain unbeaten.
Korea are now on pace to clinch the top seed of Pool C as they take on Vietnam for their final assignment in the group stage on Friday.
Vietnam on Thursday showed no mercy in their 25-11, 25-12, 25-8 demolition of New Zealand to pick up their second win in the championship.
Kazakhstan’s crucial 25-16 25-17 25-11 win over underdogs Hong Kong not only to taste their first victory at the 19th edition but also advance to the round of the last eight teams.
With only three teams competing in Pool A, the Philippines had already beaten Hong Kong and therefore, the losing team played a must-win match against Kazakhstan on Thursday to keep their hopes of advancing alive. However, Hong Kong failed to make the grade as they succumbed to 16-25 17-25 11-25 defeat to the Kazakh side. Suffering straight two losses, Hong Kong have been relegated to the 9th-14th classification.
In their last preliminary Pool A encounter on Friday, Kazakhstan and the Philippines will battle it out for the top spot in Pool A despite the fact that both sides have already booked their berths heading the round of the last eight teams.
At Alonte Sports Arena
Pool A: Kazakhstan b Hong Kong 3-0 (25-16 25-17 25-11)
Pool B: Japan b China 3-0 (25-14 25-17 26-24)
Pool D: Thailand b Iran 3-0 (25-18 25-12 25-16)
At Muntinlupa Sports Complex
Pool C: Korea b Sri Lanka 3-0 (25-14 25-17 25-13); Vietnam b New Zealand 3-0 (25-11 25-12 25-8)
Pool D: Chinese Taipei b Maldives 3-0 (25-9 25-8 25-10)
FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 2017
At Alonte Sports Arena
12.30pm: Pool C: Korea v Vietnam
15.00pm: Pool D: Thailand v Chinese Taipei
17.30pm Pool A: Philippines v Kazakhstan
At Muntinlupa Sports Complex
12.30pm: Pool D: Iran v Maldives
15.00pm: Pool B: China v Australia
17.30pm: New Zealand v Sri Lanka
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