Ljubljana, Slovenia, September 17, 2017 – China captured the seventh position at the 2017 FIVB Women’s U23 World Championship in Ljubljana, Slovenia, following their 4-2 (14-16, 12-15, 15-4, 16-14, 15-3, 19-17) victory over Thailand in an All-Asian duel at Hall Tivoli on Sunday afternoon.
All matches in Ljubljana are played under a new scoring system currently being tested: a best-of-seven, 15-point set format.
Despite their 4-2 triumph over Thailand, China could not confirm their first (2013) and fifth place (2015) from the two previous competitions. Thailand, on the other hand, equalized their eighth rank from 2015, which was their first appearance in a women’s U23 world championship competition.
Meili Song came out as top match scorer with 16 points followed by Xiaoqing Cai with 13. Thailand’s Thanacha Sooksod contributed 15 points as the best for the losing side.
Two sets down, China recovered from a lazy start to turn the tables in the beginning of the third set. Thailand continued to build on their outstanding defense but lacked of height and power in the counter attacks.
The key moment of the match came in the fourth period with China rallying back after a 2-7 deficit. Thailand coach Chamnan Dokmai exchanged setters in the beginning of the fifth set but could not prevent China from pulling trough.
China coach Wu Sheng: “We committed too many errors in the first two sets as the players started nervously. Gradually they regained focus. I take full responsibility for the team’s performance at this championship. The main reason lies in the fact that we had little time to prepare as the national games were taking place in China. That’s why our result here is also worse than in the previous editions.”
China captain Long Cheng: “We started the match very slowly. Thailand put a lot of pressure on us in the first two sets. Luckily, we managed to regain momentum in the next four sets. It was very important for us to end the tournament on a high note. We have learnt a lot from these matches and that is a good thing and it was a nice experience.”
Thailand coach Chamnan Dokmai: “My team played very well in the first two sets. We made too many mistakes in the next sets, mainly in serving and receiving. China took the advantage of this and eventually won. Three of my key players moved to the senior team this year. If I had them in the team here, we maybe could have gone higher in the rankings.”
Thailand captain Tichaya Boonlert: “In the first two sets we played well. China committed many mistakes. In the last four sets, we lost concentration and discipline in the game. This was the reason why we finally lost the game.”
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