Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, September 20, 2017 – Thailand delighted home fans packing the Nakhon Pathom Gymnasium with convincing straight-set 25-14 25-15 25-13 win over Iran in their first encounter of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Japan 2018 Asian Qualifiers Pool B on Wednesday.
Ajcharaporn Kongyot led Thailand with 11 points including 8 attacks and 3 blocks, while Pimpichaya Kokram contributed 10 points including 9 attacks from 20 attempts. Masha Saberi topscored 9 points for Iran.
It was a similar script as the last month’s Asian Senior Women’s Championship in Philippines when the Thai squad led by veteran Pleumjit Thinkaow beat the Iranians in straight sets. However, Iran are playing here with only six players who competed in the Asian meet and instead sent in young talents including the 190cm-tall Tahmineh Dargazani.
Promising Chutchu-on Moksri, Pimpichaya Kokram and Ajcharaporn Kongyot combined well to power the host side to the comfortable first set win 25-14. Thailand made the most of the players rotation in the second set as Malika Kanthong, sidelined for a few months due to her poor physical conditions, Soraya Phomla, Jarasporn Bundasak and Wilavan Apinyapong, were sent in and they did not let the team down . Thailand took the second set 25-15.
Taking the 2-0 set edge, Thailand remained strong in their offence in the third set. As the visitors put on their gallant fight to lead initially 6-5, the host team turned the heat on the rivals. Thailand caught up with the visitors 6-6 and never looked back since then. Pleumjit produced thundering fast attacks for the commanding 21-11 lead. After some moments of intense battle, Thailand captured the easy set 25-13, with Wipawee Srithong attacking from the back row to hand the host side the last point.
Thailand will next play Vietnam on Thursday, while Iran go up against DPR Korea.
After the match, Thailand head coach Danai Sriwacharamaytakul said, “I think we played well today as I tried to change several players in this match to gain competition experience and test their competence for future expectation with the team. This will help the young players learn how to combine their tactics with the veterans. As far as I see Malika Kanthong play in her comeback effort, I think she plays well although her strength and power is still needed for her to become a force of the team. Our team’s strong point is good serves.”
In their first loss in this tournament, Iran head coach Mirmostafa Shojaei said, “As you know, Iran played with several young players with less opportunity of beating hosts Thailand, which are sending their best players in this tournament. My young players did their best. I think they will have a promising future to join the Iran women’s national team to catch up with powerhouses such as China, Japan and Thailand. We next play DPR Korea. I think the Koreans came with several changes of players in their team. We will use our young players to beat them if we have a chance. However, my players have to do their best first.”
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