NISHIKAWA AND KOYAMA LIFT JAPAN’S COMEBACK WIN AGAINST CHINA
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, May 21, 2018 – Powerhouses Japan and China set the Nakhon Pathom Municipality Gymnasium alight with awesome form, power and speed as the former overpowered the latter in hard-fought four-set thriller in the 12th Asian Women’s U17 Volleyball Championship on Monday.
Yoshino Nishikawa and Manami Koyama similarly scored 13 points apiece for the winning team, while Wu Mengjie and Zhou Yetong charted 16 points each for China but their determined efforts to steer the team to victory were not sufficient.
China, fielding a strong lineup with height average of 184cm led by hard-hitting Zhou Yetong and Wang Wenhan, got off to a winning start in the first set as they made use of their height advantage and power at the net to attack effectively for a commanding 19-13 lead. Japan tried to hit back with fierce attacks, but their attempts were in vain. The confident Chinese went on their consistent play to win the set 25-17.
Going down one set, Japan, defending and seven-time champions, regained their composure in the second set, with Yoshino Nishikawa overpowering the taller blockers with exceptional spikes. Advancing 19-16, Japan remained in fine form to stretch it to 22-18 and 24-22, needing only one more point to take the set. However, they just let the chance slip through their fingers. The Chinese upped their tempo and came back to tie the score at 25-all. Still, Japan’s final assault was a step better than China to clinch the thrilling set 27-25.
Confidence gained, Japan came up in full strength in the third set. As China punctured the Japanese defence with their attacks from all sides, Japan performed an impeccable, allowing the Chinese tough times scoring. With the rivals hot on their heels 20-21, Japan never looked back since then. They allowed the formidable rivals only one more point to wrap up the set 25-21.
Holding a 2-1 advantage, Japan continued their remarkable run in the fourth set, which they were leading 23-18. A strong fightback earned China a few points before Japan took the set 25-21 and match. With two wins in a row, Japan captured the top spot in Pool A, while China are due to take on Korea on Tuesday.
“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 much 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.
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