JAPAN STUN CHINA WITH 3-1 COMEBACK TO TOP POOL A AT ASIAN WOMEN’S U17 CHAMPIONSHIP
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, May 21, 2018 – In-form Japan produced a fantastic 3-1 (17-25 27-25 25-21 25-21) victory over arch rivals China to capture the Pool A top spot at the 12th Asian Women’s U17 Volleyball Championship on Monday.
Yoshino Nishikawa and Manami Koyama similarly scored 13 points apiece for Japan, while Wu Mengjie and Zhou Yetong charted 16 points each for China, but their efforts to steer the team to victory were not sufficient.
“China are a good team. They are very strong. Like the previous match against Korea, we did not play well in the first set. China served well, while our reception was not that good. After losing one set, we sent in Manami Koyama and we started to get things done perfectly. We won the second set and remained in form to win the next two sets. However, our goal is to win the Championship. If we happen to play China again in the final, I think they will come up with better form, but we also gained confidence after beating them. So, I’m still convinced that we can beat them again,” Japan coach Daichi Saegusa commented after the match.
Japan made a clean sweep in Pool A with six points from two straight wins over Korea and China. They have rest days on Tuesday and Wednesday before resuming their campaign in the knock-out quarter-finals on May 24. Korea and China will battle it out on Tuesday to decide the second place in the pool.
In Pool B, Chinese Taipei thrashed the lower-ranked Hong Kong in comfortable straight sets 25-10 25-14 25-4 to taste first win in the championship.
Hsu Wan-Yun was the only player in Chinese Taipei who scored double-digit 12 points for the team. Kao Hsin-Yuan and Chen Ying-Chi contributed 8 points apiece. Lam Tsz Ching claimed 6 points for Hong Kong.
“This is our warm-up match in our preparation for a tougher task against hosts Thailand tomorrow (Tuesday). We made several rotations among players to see what is the right formula for our team. We watched the Thai match against Hong Kong on Sunday and we will study their tape to see how to play them. We had trained only two months before competing here,” Chinese Taipei coach Chen Mei-Ching commented.
Chinese Taipei next go up against hosts Thailand on Tuesday in a match to decide the Pool B winners, while Hong Kong suffered two straight losses and are assured of finishing third in the pool and 6th overall at the pool plays.
Meanwhile, India came from behind to beat spirited Malaysia in dramatic four-setter 22-25 25-22 25-19 25-13 to capture first victory in Pool D and are due to battle it out with Kazakhstan to decide the pool winners.
Purna Shukla led India with 14 points including 11 attacks, while Krishna Anagha Radha contributed 11 points including 8 kills. Jia Tian Yong was the Malaysia’s top scorer after claiming 13 points including 8 kills and 4 ace serves.
“I was expecting 3-0, but due to fatigue my players have been suffering since their participation at the recent Princess Cup tournament here, our expectation could not be that high. Malaysia also played in the Princess Cup but we were in different pools. In the first set, we lost because when Malaysia attacked, my girls did not respond as I wanted. Moreover, Elakiya M Muthu, one of our key players, also suffered from an ankle sprain. Against Kazakhstan, we have to fight and hope that we will have a good fight against them,” commented India head coach Ajay Jangra.
In Pool C, Iran brushed off New Zealand in straight sets 25-12 25-20 25-17 to seal first win in this championship and are due to next play Australia in a match to determine the pool winners.
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.
“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 past 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. I think 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.
Tuesday is the last day of the pool round-robin preliminaries, which see teams give it all out to get their best ranking in the pool plays in order that they can keep hopes of advancing to the next round alive. At the end of Tuesday, all participating teams will be ranked respectively (ranging from R1 to R12) according to their performances in the pool plays. Japan captured the top spot in Pool A and are ranked top of the standing as R1.
MAY 21, 2018
11.30am: Australia v Iran
2pm: Thailand v Chinese Taipei
4.30pm: Kazakhstan v India
7pm: Korea v China
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