JAPAN ROUT CHINESE TAIPEI 3-0 TO SET UP FINAL SHOWDOWN WITH CHINA AT ASIAN WOMEN’S U19 CHAMPIONSHIP
Bac Ninh, Vietnam, June 16, 2018 – Formidable Japan powered their way to the final of the 19th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship at the Bac Ninh Gymnasium after a 3-0 (25-10 25-14 25-19) rout of Chinese Taipei in the Saturday’s semi-finals to clinch the remaining berth for the 2019 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship in Italy.
As Japan coach Kiyoshi Abo shuffled his line-up a lot, Haruna Yamashita was the lone Japanese who scored a double digit with 13 points which included 10 attacks from 22 attempts and 3 stuff blocks. Kung Shih-Wen led Chinese Taipei with 6 points.
It was Japan’s five wins in succession heading to the Sunday’s final showdown of the top-tier competition and also a battle of the two unbeaten teams, with the Japanese not dropping a set to their respective rivals. Fully loaded with cannons like Haruna and Miyu Nakagawa, Japan excelled in attacks to stay in front 10-2 in the first set. Minami Nishimura, coupled with Haruna, was blocking extremely well to move the team advance with a 7-point clear at 17-10. Electric spikes from Miyu and Haruna handed Japan the lopsided first set 25-10.
After a faultless first set, Japan made heavy weather of it to race to a 6-2 lead, but Chinese Taipei struck back with Kung Shih-Wen’s terrific jump serves and Wu Fang-Yu’s aggressive attacks to trail by seven points at 7-14. Japan managed to pull a 20-10 lead and never looked back to win the set 25-14, again with ease.
Conceding two sets, Chinese Taipei put their acts together, but it was Japan which performed brilliantly to serge into a three-point advantage at 16-13. Wu chipped in with a few big spikes to help Chinese Taipei trail by one point behind at 15-16. However, the Japanese still kept the pace after Haruna and Ayumi Yoshida produced fine blocking and Haruna on good form. Japan powered through the set for the eventual 25-19 win.
“I don’t think about how many matches we have won so far. Every time we just try to do our best. Watching China play Thailand in the first semi-final match, I think China come much stronger this time with improved serving and blocking. Their outside attackers are also strong. To play China again in the final must be very tough. We will do our best,” said Japan coach Kiyoshi Abo, who led a Japan squad to victory at the last year’s Asian Women’s U23 Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
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