KOREA PULL OFF STUNNING 3-1 WIN OVER CHINA
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, May 22, 2018 – Fired-up Korea survived a sturdy challenge from China to stun the former four-time Asian champions in hard-fought four-setter 25-17 21-25 25-23 25-22 in their last preliminary Pool A match in the 12th Asian Women’s U17 Volleyball Championship at the Nakhon Pathom Municipality Gymnasium on Tuesday.
Park Eunseo led Korea with 12 points, while Kim Jeonga and Park Suyeon scored 11 points apiece for the winning team. Zhou Yetong emerged as the China’s top scorer with 16 points including 11 kills from 24 attempts. Wu Mengjie contributed 11 points including 5 attacks and 5 blocks.
Smaller but faster, Korea produced solid defence with thundering attacks from Park Suyeon and Kim Jeonga to lead initially 8-5 before the taller Chinese fought back to narrow the gap 9-13. From then China became more prone to unforced mistakes, allowing the Koreans to continue the good show with the lead stretched to 16-9 and 21-12. China called for timeouts but that could not help that much as the in-form Koreans went on their brilliant form to take the opening set 25-17.
Conceding one set, China maintained their poise and fought back gallantly to take an early 6-4 lead in the second set. As the Korean game was riddled with unforced mistakes, the Chinese stormed on. Zhou Yetong, Liu Meijun and Wang Yifei were on fire as they took turns attacking from all angles to help China clinch the hard-fought set 25-21.
The third set was more thrilling when both sides came up with almost the same level. At 11-11, Korea seized the lead for good 24-19, needing only one more point to win the set. However, China performed an impenetrable defence, allowing Korea attacking difficulties. As the Chinese came up with scintillating blocks to score four successive points, Park Eunseo overpowered the taller blockers with her exceptional attacks to end the Chinese challenge. Korea won the thrilling third set 25-23.
China made a strong start in the fourth set to race to an 8-1 lead, but to everyone’s surprise, the determined Koreans stormed back with mighty attacks to catch the Chinese 18-all and forged ahead to capture the action-packed set 25-22 and match.
“We learned that all the Chinese players are very tall, so we concentrated on the game. Fortunately, my players trained well as a full team. We also learned that the tall Chinese will come up with blocking as strong points, we then tried to focus on our own game. We could come back in the fourth set because we fielded Park Eunseo into the court and she carried out good serves and that paid it off handsomely. In fact, we trained only 29 days for this championship,” Korea coach Seo Dongsun said in an interview through translator.
In this pool, Japan captured the top spot, followed by Korea and China. All three teams will have a rest day on Wednesday.
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