CHINA ADVANCE TO ASIAN WOMEN’S U19 CHAMPIOONSHIP FINAL AND SECURE WORLD U20 BERTH
Bac Ninh, Vetnam, June 16, 2018 – China moved a step closer to clinching their 13th title at the 19th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship at the Bac Ninh Gymnasium following an epic 3-2 (25-16 25-19 12-25 17-25 15-7) victory over Thailand in the Saturday’s semi-finals, which earned the Asian powerhouses a berth at the 2019 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship in Italy.
Scoring machine Xu Luyao and Sun Ruoqing similarly scored a team-high 21 points, while Che Wenhan added 14 points. Thanacha Sooksod led Thailand with 28 points including 21 kills from 57 attempts. Wiranyupa Inchan and Tichakorn Boonlert assisted 12 points apiece.
It was a mighty clash between the two strong teams packed with individual talents, with the Chinese, whose height average is 185cm agains the smaller-built Thais’ 175cm, winning crucial points highlighted by the high-flying Xu and Sun to stay in front with 5-point clear at 18-13. After that, China showed resilience through their sensational blocking from Che Wenhan and Sun and exceptional attacking from Xu to grab the comfortable set 25-16.
The first set win gained confidence in the Chinese as they stormed on their brilliance, with promising Sun attacking fiercely at both wings and Jiao Dian thrashing the smaller blockers with lightning fast spikes. The Thai girls impressively resisted the powerhouses’ fiery attacks to trail with just two points behind 11-13. However, the Chinese’s superb net play continued to strangle the rivals as Che and Jiao utlilised their height advantage to unleash on powerful blows, but the Thais counter-attacks gallantly to reduce the margin 18-19. The two towers of China, 192cm Xu and 193cm Che Wenhan, set up an impregnable wall, allowing the Thais difficulties to score. China went on their onslaughts to win the set 25-19.
Thailand fought back in the third set as Wiranyupa and Thanacha overpowered the taller blockers with their attacks to put Thailand in a 17-10 lead and China coach Shi Hairong called timeout, but it could not help that much as the Thai girls marched on. Thailand entertained the crowds at the venue with their gutsy display to lead by wide margin 22-11, allowing the much stronger rivals only one more point to wrap up the one-sided set 25-12,
Their confidence boosted after one set win, Thailand started strongly in the fourth set. Wiranyupa and Thanacha proved their talents, nailing crucial points to give the Thais a 7-2 lead. Thailand’s superb scoring run continued as the team blunted the Chinese attacks with their incredible efforts and determination to win 25-17, forcing the Chinese to fight on in the decider.
An errors-strewn game of Thailand got China off to a promising start for a five-point clear at 8-3 in the tie-breaker and after that, China mixed the offensive combination of Xu’s devastating attacks with impenetrable blocking of Liang Weifan and Xu for the eventual 15-7 win.
China will next play the winners between Japan and Chinese Taipei in the Sunday’s final showdown.
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