CHINA REIGN SUPREME OVER 6TH AVC CUP FOR WOMEN
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 23, 2018 – Unbeaten China underlined their supremacy over the 6th AVC Cup for Women at the Chartchai Hall here on Sunday after demolishing Japan in a hard-fought three-setter 25-23 25-20 25-17 in the final showdown, as Thailand restored their pride to claim well-earned bronze medal
It was the China’s fifth title in history since they landed the AVC Cup for the first time in the inaugural event in 2008 here in Nakhon Ratchasima. China repeated the similar feat two years later on home soil in Taicang. In the third edition in 2012 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, the Chinese lost their crown to Thailand, but regained the lost pride in 2014 at home in Shenzhen. China defended their title in 2016 in Vinh Phuc, Vietnam and clinched their fifth title here in Nakhon Ratchasima with remarkable unbeaten record.
For Japan, which have never come this far in the AVC Cup for Women, this was the first time ever that they made it to the final clash in the biennial competition. The Japanese finished a disappointing fourth place for four times in 2008, 2010, 2014 and 2016, while the third edition in 2012 in Kazakhstan saw them make a sad return after taking the fifth position.
In this exciting final on Sunday, Liu Yanhan chipped in with 25 points for China including 17 kills from 46 attempts and a team-leading 7 blocks, while Zhang Yichan added 17 points including 13 attacks. Miyuki Horie led Japan with 13 points.
China fielded a formidable lineup led by ace spiker Liu Yanhan, the 194cm Gao Yi and Zhang Yichan, three of them joined the Chinese senior national team for this year’s VNL campaign. Liu became the star of the Chinese side following her incredible form in the match between Thailand and China in the semi-finals earlier, where she scored a tournament-high 42 points for her team.
Japan sent a young squad with bright future led by Miwako Osanai, who steered her team to victory at the last year’s Asian Women’s U23 Championship here in Nakhon Ratchasima and Miyu Nakagawa, who powered Japan to victory at this year’s Asian Women’s U19 Championship in Vietnam.
As China successfully defended their title, Japan claimed historic silver medal in this top-flight tournament, with qualified10 teams from the last year’s Asian Senior Women’s Championship in the Philippines taking part.
In the bronze-medal match earlier, Thailand outclassed battling Chinese Taipei in a hotly-anticipated contest 25-20 25-19 25-20 to maintain their third place achieved at the previous edition in Vietnam two years ago.
Onuma Sittirak led Thailand with 12 points including 10 kills from 21 attempts, while Chen Tzu-Ya chipped in with 10 points including 8 attacks for Chinese Taipei.
“The result is satisfying despite the fact that we still have more to learn and improve. Chinese Taipei are a strong team. They gave us a sturdy challenge and we also had poor reception. Fortunately, my players came back to win. I have to thank all the players in my team to train hard in preparation for the next week’s World Championship in Japan. We have to regain our physical condition as fast as possible to make sure we are ready for the next challenge,” Thailand head coach Danai Sriwacharamaytakul commented after the match.
With the win, Thailand claimed bronze medal, which augurs well for their daunting task in the world meet from September 29 to October 20. Chinese Taipei came in fourth place, bettering their fifth-place effort they had won in the previous edition in Vietnam.
In the playoffs earlier, Vietnam pulled off a sensational straight-set 25-22 25-10 25-16 victory over young Korea to return with the 5th place, while the Koreans took the 6th position.
Australia successfully broke the deadlock in their match against Iran as they produced a gritty 3-1 comeback win in the 7th-8th playoff encounter, the third time Aussies met the old foes at the 6th AVC Cup for Women here.
The hard-fought 22-25 26-24 26-24 25-18 win helped Australia maintain their 7th place they had achieved in their debut effort in the inaugural AVC Cup for Women in 2008 in Nakhon Ratchasima. More importantly, it was the first win against Iranians, to whom they had already lost twice here comprising the 0-3 loss in the Pool C first round and the 1-3 defeat in the 5th-10th classification round earlier.
In the 9th-10th playoff on Saturday, the Philippines struggled to beat Kazakhstan in thrilling five sets 25-13 23-25 25-22 17-25 15-8 to take home the 9th place. Kazakhstan claimed the 10th position.
SUNDAY’S FINAL RESULTS
7th-8th Playoff: Australia b Iran 3-1 (22-25 26-24 26-24 25-18)
5th-6th Playoff: Vietnam b Korea 3-0 (25-22 25-10 25-16)
Bronze Medal Match: Thailand b Chinese Taipei 3-0 (25-20 25-19 25-20)
Championship Match: China b Japan 3-0 (25-20 25-19 25-20)
4. Chinese Taipei
BEST OUTSIDE SPIKERS
1. Miwako Osanai (No.1 Japan)
2. Ajcharaporn Kongyot (No.18 Thailand)
BEST MIDDLE BLOKERS
1. Gao Yi (No.5 China)
2. Tseng Wan-Ling (No.19 Chinese Taipei)
BEST OPPOSITE SPIKER
Pimpichaya Kokram (No.16 Thailand)
Sun Haiping (No.6 China)
Rena Mizusugi (NO.11 Japan)
Liu Yanhan (No.19 China)
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