JAPAN SET UP GRAND FINAL REMATCH WITH CHINA AT ASIAN WOMEN’S U19 CHAMPIONSHIP
Bac Ninh, Vietnam, June 16, 2018 – Japan’s resilience continued a remarkable unbeaten run at the19th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship as the formidable outfit stormed into the final after 3-0 rout of Chinese Taipei to take big steps to another rematch with powerhouses China.
The one-week championship serves as the Asian qualification tournament for the next year’s FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship in Italy, where only top two teams from Bac Ninh will make the cut. With their crucial victories in the Saturday’s semi-finals, China and Japan have been guaranteed the two spots at the U20 World Championship.
The Sunday’s final showdown is the Japan’s 14th time in history since their debut effort in the inaugural Seoul-hosted Asian U19 Championship in 1980 in Korea and their 11th time of the final clash against China, where the Japanese won only three in 1984, 1986 and 1988. Japan lost to China in the grand final for seven times in 1994, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2014 and 2018.
At the previous edition in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand two years ago, Japan went down in hard-fought five-setter to China, which went on their splendid performances to capture the world title after stunning Russia in the final showdown at the FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship in Mexico last year.
As China will go all out on Sunday to retain their title and their 13th Asian crown in the biennial championship, Japan also pour everything to end their title drought since their last celebration of victory in 2008 in Taipei, where the Japanese clinched their fifth Asian title.
Japan had already beaten China in the pool plays and have yet lost a set to their respective rivals in this top-tier competition, while the Chinese lost to Japan in their first match and suffered another shock defeat at the hands of Thailand.
In the Saturday’s semi-finals, in-form Japan routed Chinese Taipei in straight sets 25-10 25-14 25-19.
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.
“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 Thailand.
China moved a step closer to clinching their 13th title in the championship following an epic 3-2 (25-16 25-19 12-25 17-25 15-7) victory over spirited Thailand.
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.
In the 5th-8th playoffs earlier, Vietnam delighted home fans at the Bac Ninh Gymnasium with a fantastic comeback 3-2 (19-25 25-14 25-18 18-25 15-13) win over Iran.
Ace spiker Nguyen Thi Bich Tuyen, despite sustaining a right shoulder injury, chipped in with 16 points including 13 kills and Doan Thi My Tien and Tran Thi Bich Thuy added 14 and 11 points respectively. Aytak Salamat scored a match-high 20 points for Iran including 17 kills from 48 attempts.
“I’m very happy that my players did their best to win this match. We lost to Chinese Taipei on Friday and everyone is very determined to take this win for granted. Actually, we set our initial target of wining in the quarter-finals, but we failed. Now, we have to play our best against Korea for the fifth place,” Vietnam head coach Pham Minh Dung commented.
Korea brushed off Kazakhstan with fantastic comeback 3-1 (24-26 25-19 25-13 25-15) victory. Jeong Jiyun chipped in with 14 attack points for Korea, assisted by Lee Juah and Jung Hoyoung with 11 and 10 points respectively. Tatyana Nikitina was the only Kazakh player who scored a double digit with 14 points.
“At first, I analysed the team’s performance and checked what we have to do. It worked out pretty well and I thanked all my players. We next play Vietnam, one of strong teams in this championship. We have to do our best against the host side,” Korea coach Cho Wanki commented.
At the Bac Ninh University Hall, Malaysia sent Sri Lanka packing in straight sets 25-18 25-9 25-22 in the 13th-16th playoff, while the 9th-12th playoff encounters saw New Zealand come from behind to beat India in hard-fought five sets 17-25 26-24 22-25 30-28 15-12 and Australia stun Hong Kong with a fantastic comeback 3-2 (22-25 23-25 25-16 25-18 15-12) win.
On Sunday, the final day of the championship, China and Japan set up the final showdown, while Thailand take on Chinese Taipei in the third-place playoff and Korea play hosts Vietnam for the 5th position.
At the Bac Ninh University Hall, Kazakhstan challenge Iran in the 7th-8th playoff match, with New Zealand taking on Australia in the all-Oceanians affair for the 9th place. India meet Hong Kong in the 11th-12th place and Malaysia take on Macao for the 13th position.
AT BAC NINH GYMNASIUM
China b Thailand 3-2 (25-16 25-19 12-25 17-25 15-7)
Japan b Chinese Taipei 3-0 (25-10 25-14 25-19)
Korea b Kazakhstan 3-1 (24-26 25-19 25-13 25-15)
Vietnam b Iran 3-2 (19-25 25-14 25-18 18-25 15-13)
AT BAC NINH UNIVERSITY HALL
New Zealand b India 3-2 (17-25 26-24 22-25 30-28 15-12)
Australia b Hong Kong 3-2 (22-25 23-25 25-16 25-18 15-12)
Malaysia b Sri Lanka 3-0 (25-18 25-9 25-22)
MATCH SCHEDULE | SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2018
AT BAC NINH GYMNASIUM
3pm: 5th-6th playoff: Korea v Vietnam
5.30pm: Third-place playoff: Thailand v Chinese Taipei
8pm: Championship match: China v Japan
AT BAC NINH UNIVERSITY HALL
12.30pm: 13th-14th playoff: Malaysia v Macao
3pm: 11th-12th playoff: India v Hong Kong
5.30pm: 9th-10th playoff: New Zealand v Australia
8pm: 7th-8th playoff: Kazakhstan v Iran
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