VIETNAM CRUISE PAST BATTLING KIWIS 3-0 TO ENTER QUARTER-FINALS
Bac Ninh, Vietnam, June 14, 2018 – Vietnam overcame a sturdy challenge from New Zealand to cruise past the battling Oceanian side in a hard-fought 3-0 (25-22 25-21 25-23) win for a place in the quarter-finals of the 19th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship at the Bac Niinh Gymnasium here on Thursday.
Nguyen Thi Bich Tuyen scored a match-high 14 points for Vietnam including 11 kills from 24 attempts, while Doan Thi My Tien assisted 11 points. Tamara Otene led New Zealand with 11 points.
It was a battle between the two up-and-coming teams with almost the same standard in this age-group competition and it, certainly lived up to its billing with the leads fluctuating throughout and neither outfit clearly dominating the first half of the opening set. Both Vietnam and New Zealand battled hard and levelled at 21-21. However, with hard-attacking Nguyen Thi BIch Tuyen brilliantly orchestrating the Vietnamese offence whenever she was in play and shaking the opponents’ blockers from both wings, her team was well in control. After a crucial 24-22 lead, the host side, cheered on by a drum-beating section of home fans, celebrated their first-set win with a fierce spike from Nguyen Thi BIch Tuyen.
As the Kiwis made a dismal start in the second set with signs of unforced mistakes, Vietnam scored through their power hitters Nguyen Thi BIch Tuyen and Tran Thi BIch Thuy and followed up with successful back row blows for a commanding 10-1 lead. However, the Kiwis gradually pulled their game together to narrow the margin 7-11.
Tamara Otene and Italia Tiatia were instrumental in New Zealand’s comeback as the determined visitors battled bravely and were just two points behind at 21-23. However, Vietnam erased all Kiwis’ hopes for a comeback in the second set, winning 25-21.
In the third set, Vietnam managed to pull an early four-point lead at 8-4, but Otene and Hana Manihera-Doubl nailed crucial spikes to catch the pacesetter at 10-10. In a tense battle, both sides traded points. Levelling 23-23, Vietnam played more consistently and faced no issues in shutting out the Kiwis 25-23 in the set.
“My girls played a bit nervously and could not come up with their true form as I had initially expected. Our teams gathered for training together in a short period and their weak point is their poor mental condition as they were not stable and sometimes nervous. This affected the tactics staff coaches had instructed them. We next play Chinese Taipei. It will be a tough match, but I will urge my girls to play their best in front of home fans,” Vietnam coach Pham Minh Dung commented.
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