Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, September 21, 2017 – Thailand recorded their second win at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Japan 2018 Asian Qualifiers Pool B at the Nakhon Pathom Gymnasium after pulling off a convincing straight-set 25-17 25-17 25-17 victory over Vietnam on Thursday.
Ajcharaporn was the top scorer of Thailand as she scored a match-high 14 points consisting 12 attacks, 1 block and 1 ace. Captain Pleumjit Thinkaow contributed 11 points from 4 attacks, 4 blocks and 3 aces. Le Thanh Thuy led Vietnam with 11 points including 8 kills. Tran Thi Thanh Thuy added 10 points through her powerful attacks.
Thailand, which powered past young Iran in straight sets in their opener on Wednesday, remained strong in their starting line-up which included superstar spiker Pleumjit Thinkaow and three young talents Chatchu-on Moksri, Pimpichaya Kokram and Ajcharaporn Kongyot. The two towers, 190cm Tran Thi Thanh Thuy and 186cm Bui Thi Nga, were the spearheads of Vietnam in their first match on Thursday, fielding all players who competed in the fifth-placed squad at the Asian Senior Women’s Championship in the Philippines last month.
Thailand set an early pace in the opening set, with Chatchu-on and Ajcharaporn pounding the Vietnamese defence with their fierce attacks for the host side’s wide margin 12-6 lead. As the lead was stretched to 18-12, Thailand replaced setter Pornpun Guedpard and Pimpichaya with two veterans and crowd favourites Nootsara Tomkom and Malika Kanthong. Vietnamese Tran Thi Thanh Thuy used her height advantage to overcome the smaller blockers with her attacks, but not enough to outplay the formidable rivals. Thailand clinched the first set 25-17.
Thailand remained in awesome form in the second set, which they led 11-5, thanks to Pleumjit’s well-placed serves and fast attacks which completely foiled the Vietnamese blocking attempts. Holding a 20-12 advantage, Thailand committed several unforced mistakes, allowing the visitors attacking opportunities to trail 17-20. To improve their fortunes, the host side called a time-out and sent in powerful hitter Wilavan Apinyapong. From then, Thailand turned the tables on the visitors, winning straight five points for the convincing 25-17 win in the set.
Hoping for a better form in the third set, Vietnam led narrowly 9-7 before Thailand put their act together and stormed back mightily for the come-from-behind 25-17 win.
Thailand will have a rest day on Friday and will next take on DPR Korea on Saturday, while Vietnam will go up against DPR Korea on Friday.
Thailand head coach Danai Sriwacharamaytakul commented after the match: “My team’s performance is satisfactory today. However, I must praise Vietnam for their improved receiving. We just focussed on our game strategy in an effort of destroying their defence quickly. I think we still have to improve on our combination attacks. If we have good reception, I believe we can effectively match DPR Korea in our next clash.”
Vietnam head coach Japanese Irisawa Hidehiro was not satisfied with his team’s below-par form. “I’m not happy with the performance of middle-blocker Bui Thi Nga as she did not play well. Her form is a far cry from what she had performed superbly in the previous tournaments. Thailand played well up to their standard and deserved the win. We next take on DPR Korea on Friday and hope we can do our best agains the Koreans.”
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