THANACHA POWERS THAILAND TO 3-0 WIN AGAINST KAZAKHSTAN AND SEMI-FINALS
Bac Ninh,Vietnam, June 15, 2018 – Thailand keep their hopes of advancing to the final for a place in the next year’s FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship in Italy alive as the in-form outfit brushed off Kazakhstan 27-25 25-16 25-13 to squeeze into the semi-finals of the 19th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship at the Bac Ninh Gymnasium here on Friday.
Thanacha Sooksod chipped in 17 points for Thailand, while Aonanong Saisri and Tichakorn Boonlert added 13 and 11 points respectively.Tatyana Nikitina led Kazakhstan with 9 points.
Fresh from a brilliant three-set win over Sri Lanka the previous day, Thailand came into the crucial match against tall Kazakhstan full of confidence and they got the job done comfortably whilst showing flashes of the brilliance that took past the rivals 16-12 at the second technical timeout of the first set.
Thanacha and Wiranyupa Inchan spearheaded their majority of the team’s attacks and Thailand were on four-point lead at 20-16. However, with Olga Khajioglo and Olessya Varkentin were defending brilliantly at the net, blocking almost everything the Thais could throw at them, Kazakhstan were hot on the rivals’ heels with just one-point behind 21-22.
The energetic Kazakhs’ comeback was successful when they caught Thailand at 23-23. As points continued to go back and forth, Thailand showed tremendous courage and defensive resilience to save some crucial points in a dramatic finale to the hard-fought set, which they eventually won 27-25.
In the second set, Zhasmin Zhebegenova and Marzhan Kumisbek were immense for the Kazakh side, repelling wave after wave of Thailand’a attacks, but the Thai girls picked up points when they need to most. Wiranyupa and Saowapha Soosuk’s solid blocking and Saowapha’s fast attacks put the Thailand on three-point lead at 16-13 at second technical timeout. Despite a strong challenge from the team, which were taking the height advantage, Thailand were on fire, recording consecutive points to seal the set win 25-16.
Holding an exceptional 2-0 advantage, Thailand once again put the hammer down early in the third set to lead 6-2. However, Khajioglo and Nikitina traded blows to help the Kazakhs push hard for just two points behind at 9-11. From then on, Thailand took total control to capture the one-sided set 25-14, match and a semi-final berth.
“The result of the match is quite okay, but in terms of the performances, it’s not satisfying. We changed not only the team roster, but also the team’s game plan. This is just to make sure our rivals in the next round could not easily read our strategy. However, positively, I think it’s still alright if we think that our girls can play under pressure in a tense game. I consider our semi-final match as the first match and if we lose, the previous matches we had played are nothing. It’s possible that we will play China in the semi-finals. We have to do a lot of homework to play the Chinese,” Thailand head coach Chamnan Dokmai commented.
“We have nothing to lose and will fight all out in our semi-final match. No matter which team we will play, we will do our best,” Thailand captain Thanachai Sooksod added.
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