CHINA, IRAN, AUSTRALIA RECORD SECOND WINS AT 6TH AVC CUP AS THAILAND DELIGHT HOME FANS AFTER 3-1 BLITZ OVER JAPAN
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 17, 2018 – Reigning champions China thrashed Chinese Taipei to capture the Pool B top spot, as Iran and Australia made it two in a row and Thailand kicked off their 6th AVC Cup campaign with exceptional 3-1 win over in-form Japan at the Chartchai Hall on Monday.
Pimpichaya Kokram helped hosts Thailand survive Japan’s scare to overpower the formidable visitors in pulsating four-setter 28-26 21-25 27-25 25-17 to record their first win in the one-week tournament.
Pimpichaya contributed 15 points for the host side including 12 kills from 34 attempts and 2 blocks, while Ajcharaporn Kongyot and Thatdao Nuekjang added 12 and 10 points respectively. Miwako Osanai led Japan with 14 points.
Thailand, which picked maiden silver medal at the recent 18th Asian Games in Indonesia, fielded a strong lineup led by ace spiker Ajcharaporn Kongyot and Pimpichaya Kokrum, while Japan sent in a young, potential squad powered by Miwako Osanai and Rei Kudo, both of them joined the Japan team which captured the crown at the last year’s Asian Women’s U23 Championship in Thailand.
“Despite the win, I’m not satisfied with my team’s performance. My players made too many mistakes and their attacks were not effective. Japan played us much better that their previous match against Korea. Korea had already beaten Japan 3-1 and so, we can’t underestimate the Koreans in our next match,” Thailand head coach Danai Sriwacharamaytakul commented after the match.
On Tuesday, Thailand will take on Korea, which also stunned Japan 3-1 in their opening match on Sunday, in a crucial match to decide the top spot in Pool A.
Meanwhile, devastating China put it past gallant Chinese Taipei in a thrilling three-setter 25-14 25-20 25-22 for their second win. China, fresh from crushing Vietnam in a one-sided battle in their opening match the previous day, fielded a formidable line-up led by terrific Liu Yanhan, who joined the Chinese senior women’s national team for this year’s VNL campaign and who won the MVP and Best Outside Spiker awards at the 2015 Asian Women’s U23 Championship in the Philippines, and the 194cm-tall Gao Yi, another player in the China’s VNL squad. The rivals were represented by the Chinese Taipei’s Asiad team, which finished 9th in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“We played today much better than the previous match against Vietnam as we had improved some tactics before playing Chinese Taipei. However, despite the win, I think my team have to improve our back-row defence. Although we now capture the top spot in Pool B, we have to try our best in the next matches. To get good results in this tournament, we have to improve our form every day,” China head coach Shi Hairong commented after the match.
With two straight wins, China top Pool B with 6 points and will have a rest day on Tuesday, while Chinese Taipei will challenge Vietnam to vie for the second spot in the pool.
In Pool C, Iran, which edged past Kazakhstan 3-2 in the previous match, were on cloud nine on Monday as Mahsa Kadkhoda scored a match-high 30 points to lead her team to a dramatic 3-2 (27-29 25-16 17-25 25-12 15-13) win in exhausting 122 minutes.
“It was a very tough match against the Philippines. We learned that they are strong defensively. They will fight until they have the least chance to continue. We tried hard, but at the same time just wanted to make it a relaxed match. I dare say that to beat the Philippines is very difficult. I told my girls if they want to continue, we have to beat them. During the match, I changed many players to use more attacks. I’m very happy with my players for the win as they trained hard. I think my players are strong mentally and can stand playing a tough match like this,” said Iran head coach Javad Mehregan.
Earlier, Australia, playing without scoring machine Rachel Rourke, came from behind to beat Kazakhstan in hard-fought five-set thriller 21-25 25-20 25-23 20-25 15-12 for their second win at the 6th AVC Cup for Women.
Jennifer Sadler chipped in with 18 points for Australia consisting of 14 attacks, one block and 3 aces,while Jennifer Tait and Carey Beth added 14 and 13 points respectively. Anastassiya Rostovchshikov contributed 23 points for Kazakhstan.
Australia will next be pitted against Iran to battle it out for the top spot in Pool C.
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