JAPAN STUN TITLE-HOLDERS CHINA TO REIGN SUPREME OVER ASIAN WOMEN’S U19 CHAMPIONSHIP
Bac Ninh, Vietnam, June 17, 2018 – Japan pulled off a stunning 3-0 (25-20 25-14 25-20) victory over defending and 12-time champions China to underline their supremacy over the 19th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship at the Bac Ninh Gymnasium here on Sunday.
This was their last match and it was very much a game for pride. China, also current world U20 winners, came back much stronger this time after two shock defeats to Japan and Thailand in the pool plays, while Japan were riding wave of confidence as they have never lost a set to their respective rivals heading to the Sunday’s final.
The showdown was a nice bonus for China and Japan as both sides have secured berths for the next year’s FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship in Italy following their win in the semi-finals.
Against China, the team they lost in the latest two finals in 2014 and 2016 in Thailand and Chinese Taipei respectively, Japan made a dismal start to trail the tall and towering rivals by three points at 9-12. Stellar serving from Minami Yasuda and exceptional attacks from brilliant Haruna Yamashita and Miyu Nakagawa gave Japan a successful comeback for the 25-20 win in the opening set.
Conceding one set, China fought hard to resist the fired-up rivals’ onslaughts, but failed to make their mark. Yamashita overpowered the much taller blockers with her aggressive attacks, tearing the Chinese defence into shreds as Japan continued their overwhelming dominance for the comfortable 25-14 win in the set.
Known for their defence, it was that kept Japan in it through the early stage of the third set, pulling away with the five-point clear at 24-19. China gamely saved one match point before Japan closed out a tense battle 25-20 for the championship.
Ayumi Yoshida and Haruna Yamashita similarly scored a match-high 15 points for Japan, while Che Wenhan was the lone Chinese to score a double digit with 12 points.
“Of course, to beat China is really a tough task for us and my players did have pressure playing them. The key points for our win are service and attacks. China are very tall and their strong points are from blocking, so to cope well with their fine blocking, we must have good attacks. In this championship, I just need my players to develop skills and gain experience. I think they learn a lot of things here,” Japan head coach Kiyoshi Abo commented.
Japan won their sixth Asian title in Bac Ninh with the remarkable unbeaten run and without dropping a set to their rivals. The victory over China was also a sweet revenge as China downed them in the last two finals.
More importantly, the credit of the Japan’s significant success went to coach Kiyoshi Abo, who shot into fame since he led a Japanese squad to the victory in the Asian Women’s U23 Championship last year in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
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