KAZAKHSTAN CLAIM BRONZE AT “PRINCESS CUP” WOMEN’S U17 CHAMPIONSHIP
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, May 17, 2018 – Kazakhstan came back from one set down to storm past Australia 3-1 (22-25, 25-15, 25-12, 25-17) in the “Princess Cup” 20th Est Cola South East Asian Women’s U17 Volleyball Championship at the Nakhon Pathom Sports Centre Gymnasium on Thursday.
Samal Ibrayeva topscored Kazakhstan with 12 points, while Zhannel Nogaibayeya and Kristina Strukova added another 11 points apiece. Annelies Jones led Australia with 10 points.
Gallant Australia got off to a great start for an initial 7-2 lead in the opening set, but the determined Kazakhs chased way until the score was levelled at 16-all. The intense battle carried on until the near end of set with the Kazakhs having the opportunities to close out the set but they just let their chances slip through their fingers, courtesy of their unforced errors. Australia capitalized from the rivals’ errors to seize the set 25-22.
However, the Kazakhs, coached by Japanese Koichi Shuto, levelled up and managed to turn things around which saw them take the next two sets 25-15 and 25-12.
They kept their momentum going and showed splendid teamwork with solid defence and fine attacks to lead 23-13 in the third set.
The Aussies tried hard to make a comeback and things started to go well for them. The Kazakhs led commandingly 16-24, allowing the rivals only one more point to grab the set 25-17 and match.
“I am very happy for my team’s victory but they still have a lot to learn to become a strong team in the future,” Kazakhstan head coach Koichi Shuto said.
“Australia put pressure on us in the first set, but we were able to come back. I would like to thank Thailand’s hospitality for having this tournament to help sharpen the players’ skills.
“Next week, we will compete in the Asian Women’s U17 Championship. I still don’t know how far we can go. We will play game by game and study our opponents’ plan. I hope my players will show their best form.”
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