ASIAN WOMEN’S U17 CHAMPIONSHIP IN THAILAND OFF TO AN ACTION-PACKED START
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, May 20, 2018 – Fired-up Japan, Kazakhstan, Australia and Thailand registered first victories at the SMM 12th Asian Est Cola Women’s U17 Volleyball Championship at the Nakhon Pathom Municipality Gymnasium on Sunday.
The top-flight championship is being held between May 20 and 27, with a total of 12 teams vying for the top honour and four slots to contest the next year’s FIVB Women’s U18 World Championship in Mexico.
Japan, defending and seven-time champions, made a strong start with a dramatic 3-1 (25-18 19-25 25-14 25-17) win over Korea in Pool A, thrilling fans at the competition venue with their stubborn defence, never-say-die attitude and thundering attacks.
Yoshino Nishikawa scored a match-high 20 points including 16 kills from 41 attempts for the winning team, while Ayana Funane assisted 11 points. Park Suyeon topscored Korea with 10 points including 7 attacks and 3 ace serves.
“It was a good game for us. Both teams played a fast game. This was our first match in the championship and I think my girls played nervously. Fortunately, they improved on serves in the following sets and we started to play better. Against China tomorrow (Monday), we have never seen them. However, since winning the Championship is our initial target, we have to play much better than this in the match against the Chinese. We trained only 15 days before competing here and that’s why my girls played with mistakes. So, tomorrow (Monday) we have to play better than this,” Japan head coach Daichi Saegusa commented after the match.
A daunting task awaits Japan in their next match on Monday when they will go up against arch rivals China, the team they had beaten in Chongqing, China in the final showdown at the previous edition last year. Korea have a rest day on Monday and are due to play China the following day in their last pool preliminary encounter.
In Pool C, Australia struggled to beat New Zealand 3-1 (25-23 25-23 17-25 28-26) in an all-Oceania battle. Alissa Kinkela led Australia with 18 points including 14 kills from 46 attempts, while Amelies Jones added 11 points including 9 attacks. Emilia Shearer scored a team-high 20 points including 16 kills from 54 attempts for New Zealand and Mama Vaipulu contributed 19 points including13 kills.
New Zealand take on Iran on Monday, while Australia have a rest day and will resume their competition the following day against Iran.
Thailand, fresh from winning the “Princess Cup” 20th South East Asian Women’s U17 Championship at the same competition venue here, overwhelmed Hong Kong in a totally lop-sided battle 25-12 25-10 25-15 to seal their first victory in Pool B. Chanoknan Sabaengban scored a team-high 17 points including 12 kills from 27 attempts for Thailand and 5 ace serves. Wong Wing Sze led Hong Kong with 6 points, all of them from attacks.
Thailand have a rest day on Monday, while Hong Kong will take on Chinese Taipei. Thailand are due to take on Chinese Taipei in their last pool preliminary match on Tuesday.
Kazakhstan also got the Championship off to a winning start after a scintillating 25-11 25-23 25-14 win over Malaysia in their opening Pool D encounter. Idaliya Chamchiyeva led Kazakhstan with 16 points including 10 attacks and 4 solid blocks, while Jia Tian Yong handed Malaysia crucial 7 points including 6 attacks.
Malaysia will play India on Monday, while Kazakhstan have a rest day and are due to challenge India the following day.
MONDAY, MAY 21, 2018
Pool round-robin preliminaries
11.30am: Chinese Taipei v Hong Kong
2pm: China v Japan
4.30pm: Iran v New Zealand
7pm: India v Malaysia
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