THAILAND OVERPOWER CHINESE TAIPEI IN THRILLING TIE-BREAKER
Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, May 22, 2018 – Thailand overpowered Chinese Taipei in a hard-fought five-set thriller 19-25 25-19 21-25 25-20 17-15 to top Pool B at the 12th Asian Women’s U17 Volleyball Championship at the Nakhon Pathom Municipality Gymnasium on Tuesday.
Saowapa Soosuk scored a match-high 20 points including 18 kills from 32 attempts for Thailand, while Chanoknan Sabaengban contributed 17 points. Pan Hsuan-Jung charted 27 points including 22 attack hits from 50 attempts for Chinese Taipei, while Hsu Wan-Yun added 26 points.
Against the host side, Chinese Taipei took command initially 8-0 in the first set. Thailand regrouped and hit back bravely, with Saowapa Soosuk unleashing a series of thundering fast spikes to narrow the margin 15-21. As the host side heightened their defence, devastating southpaw Pan Hsuan-Jun, 180cm tall, used her height advantage to attack mightily and led Chinese Taipei to 25-19 win in the thrilling set.
The second set turned out to be different script as Thailand, cheered by a large number of young students at the venue, started to produce the good. The host girls took the commanding 15-7 lead and stretched it to 24-15. Chinese Taipei did not give up easily as they upped the tempo to come close at 19-24 before the Thais wrapped up the set 25-19.
Thailand had an upper hand in the third set to lead 13-9 before the formidable visitors tightened their defence and stormed back with powerful attacks from Pan Hsuan-Jun and Hsu Wan-Yun. Chinese Taipei met the Thais at 14-all and continued their blocking sprees to win the set 25-21.
In the fourth set, Thailand led from the start, with Saowapa Sooksuk and Supatcha Kamtalaksa overcoming the blockers with their lightning-fast attacks to help the team capture the pole position 21-15. Chinese Taipei improved their reception and went on their aggressive attacks to reduce the gap 20-24 before Chanoknan Sabaengban spiked to the back court which went unanswered. Thailand captured the fourth set 25-20.
Both sides gave it all out in the tie-breaker. At 5-5, Chinese Taipei moved ahead 8-5 before the host girls put their acts together and hit back mightily to catch the visitors at 10-all. Both teams traded attacks, great serves and solid defence, thrilling a huge crowd of spectators. After a few moments of rallies, Saowapa Sooksuk produced a great serve to the back court which went without returning. Thailand captured the heart-pounding set 17-15 and match.
“It was a good match as my girls learned a lot of things. I had told them before that mistakes can happen anytime while competing. In the first set, I think my players made many mistakes since the word “Chinese Taipei” gives them uncertainty if they can beat the rivals. That’s why they played with pressure and mistakes. After that, we came up with improved tactics and played more confidently. In such a close match, win/loss depends upon how they can control emotions in any situation. In the fifth set, we played better, thanks to the crowd’s support and confidence raised. It’s possible we will meet again in the round of the last eight teams. I still believe that we can beat them again in the next round as winning today has boosted my girls’ morale and gained confidence in them,” Thailand head coach Chamnan Dokmai said after the match.
Thailand will have a rest day on Wednesday. The are due to next take on the winners between Chinese Taipei and New Zealand on Thursday.
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