IRAN THRASH KIWIS IN STRAIGHT SETS TO TASTE FIRST WIN
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, May 21, 2018 – Iran brushed off New Zealand in straight sets 25-12 25-20 25-17 to seal first win at the 12th Asian Women’s U17 Volleyball Championship at the Nakhon Pathom Municipality Gymnasium on Monday, sending the winless Kiwis to the third place of Pool C.
Negar Salahshouri topscored Iran with 12 points including 8 kills from 24 attempts and 4 ace serves. Elahe Poorsaleh Shahdehsari contributed 11 points including 7 attacks. Emilia Shearer emerged as the top scorer of New Zealand after handing the Kiwis 15 points including 13 attack hits.
Iran, spearheaded by the 189cm-tall Reyhane Harimi and Zahra Rezaei, lived up to their staff coaches’ expectation as they performed well to take the comfortable first set 25-12. New Zealand held their nerves and tried to come back from the dismal start. Their more determination paid its dividends briefly in the second set when the Kiwis mounted a strong challenge and counter-attacked well with great serves and cross-court spikes. However, the Iranians fared better at the near end of the set, with Zahra tearing the Kiwis’ defence with fierce attacks to help the team win 25-20.
New Zealand gathered their courage and bounced back in the third set. As the Kiwis clawed their ways back to come close at 16-20, the Iranians had enough to hold them off and finally grab the set win 25-17.
With two losses in a row, New Zealand are assured of finishing third in Pool C, while Iran are due to take on Australia in their last pool preliminary match on Tuesday to determine the pool winners.
“We played well in the match against New Zealand. However, I think in the real competition, we always play “today” better than “yesterday” because we have a chance of learning from the mistakes we made. We next play Australia, which, I think, are stronger than New Zealand. However, I will try to push my girls to beat them. Most of my players are students and that’s why we have to train a bit longer, four months, in preparation for this Championship. Though inexperienced, we will try our best. China, Japan, Korea and Thailand are the four strong teams in the Championship and one of them can win the title. My team just want to do our best,” Iran coach Mitra Shabanian said.
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