Volleyball News


Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, July 12, 2018 – Japan’s NEC Red Rockets came back from two sets down to take the tie-breaker against Thailand’s Supreme (20-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-18, 15-11) in Group A of the SMM 2018 Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship.

Nanami Hirose starred as top scorer Thursday’s thrilling match at the Boris Alexandrov Sports Palace, charting a total of 23 points (18 attacks, 3 service aces, 2 blocks). Captain Mizuki Yanagita supported with another 18 points, including crucial points in the decider.

Hirose said “ I am very happy that our team won today, and that I was able to score 23 points. But the real reason is the good teamwork and cooperation that we have on the court.”

The match opened with thrilling displays of fast-paced offense, combined with persistent floor defense. Supreme anchored their plays on Ajcharaporn Kongyot, who demonstrated great efficiency from the wing, while NEC Red Rockets utilized the attacks of Hirose and Minami Yamauchi. The Japan club surely showed composure in sustaining rallies, but later misfired their attacks, to give Supreme the 19-13 edge. Fatou Diouck unleashed her attacks from the flank, while Taylor Sandbothe stood with a mighty presence at the net to help give Supreme 25-20 in the first set.

In the next set, teams contested each point, and showed nearly parallel skill and prowess. Kongyot was still the main option for Supreme, with her swing from the left bringing the Thai club to 8-7 at the first technical time-out. NEC Red Rockets tried to find a solution to their situation and brought in more pressure from the service line, which helped bring them to a 16-14 lead at the second TTO. Wipawee Srithong and Chatchu-On Moksri were called in from the bench and provided ample support for Supreme’s offense. Meanwhile, NEC Red Rockets committed errors in serve and attack, to give their opponents the 25-21 win in the second set.

By the third set, NEC Red Rockets set up Shiori Aratani to connect from the wing. By this time, Supreme enlisted more players from their roster, to bring in variety in offense. This worked in terms of keeping at close pace with their opponents. Sandbothe brought in back-to-back blocks to equalize at 12-12. The Japan club was quick to retaliate, continuing to set up Hirose and Aratani. NEC Red Rockets seized the third set at 25-22 upon the opposing team’s service error.

In the fourth set, The Japanese side looked to their service once more, sending off aces to help take a 5-0 lead. They continued to play good defense by the net and from the second line, and forced an 8-0 advantage at the first TTO. Supreme slowly built their way back, earning a sting of points from opponent errors, and with Sandbothe helping up front in block and attack. Yanagita took a swing from left to settle into 16-13 lead at second TTO. Hirose remained steady from the wing to help the Japan club extend the match. Kaori Ueno delivered a quick kill at the middle to bring NEC Red Rockets to 25-18 in the fourth set.

In the tie-breaker, the Japan club looked solid in their plays, responding well to transitions. Hirose still starred as the main scorer for NEC Red Rockets, to help take 8-4 at the TTO. Supreme retaliated with Sandbothe and Diouck taking care of the points. Captain Wilavan Apinyapong was summoned for service and succeeded in scoring, along with Patcharaporn Sittisad’s swings from the left. Yanagita snuck in an attack to bring the Japan to match points, with Hirose closing off the match at 15-11.

NEC Red Rockets will face China’s Jiangsu Zhongtian Steel on Friday, July 13, at 15:00 (local time).


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