CHINA TO DEFEND THEIR TITLE AGAINST JAPAN IN AVC CUP FINALE SUNDAY
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 21, 2018 – Title-holders China overpowered hosts Thailand in a hard-fought five-set thriller to set up final showdown with Japan at the 6th AVC Cup for Women at Chartchai Hall here on Friday.
Contesting the semi-finals, China overcame a sturdy challenge from Thailand to power past the host side with dramatic 25-18 25-21 25-27 22-25 15-10 victory, while Japan, which have never finished better than the fourth place since the tournament’s inception in 2008 in Nakhon Ratchasima, stormed into the final showdown for the first time in history after annihilating Chinese Taipei in thrilling four-setter 25-15 25-20 21-25 25-23.
Terrific Liu Yanhan chipped in with 42 points from 40 attacks, one block and one ace for China. Onuma Sittirak contributed 24 points including 22 kills from 44 attempts for Thailand, with Pimpichaya Kokram adding 16 points.
Against Thailand, fielding a full team which picked up the maiden silver medal at the recent Asian Games in Indonesia, China sent in a formidable lineup led by ace spiker Liu Yanhan, who led her team to victory in the 2015 Asian Women’s U23 Championship in the Philippines, and the 194cm Gao Yi.
China head coach Shi Hairong admitted that it was a close match, citing that both teams stood a chance of learning from each other.
“It was a close match of two strong teams which entertained the audience inside the venue with their excellent form. Also, Thailand are an experienced team and we could not cope with their tactics. That’s why we played them in five sets. It’s good that we can learn from each other. I think my players did a good job in defence and attacks in particular. In our final showdown against Japan, we will make every effort to beat them for the title,” Shi Hairong commented after the win.
For China, this is sixth final in succession since they captured the inaugural AVC Cup for Women in 2008 in Nakhon Ratchasima. In the past five editions, China claimed four titles, allowing Thailand to win the remaining In 2012 in Kazakhstan.
In the semi-final match between Japan and Chinese Taipei earlier, Shiori Aratani scored a match-high 21 points for Japan including 17 kills from 35 attempts and 2 aces, while Miyu Nakagawa contributed 16 points including 14 attacks and Miwako Osanai added 13 points. Chang Li-Yun led Chinese Taipei with 12 points including a team-leading 4 blocks.
“We lost the third set because we made too many mistakes on serves and service reception, but the work system and good attacks were the key point for my team’s win in this match against Chinese Taipei. We next take on either China or Thailand in the final round. For us, both teams are very strong and we find it very difficult to play them. However, no matter which them we will play in the final, we will try our best to win the title,” Japan head coach Kiyoshi Abo commented.
This is the first time since the tournament’s inception in 2008 in Nakhon Ratchasima that Japan made it to the final round. The Japan’s performance in the AVC Cup for Women has never been better than the fourth place they had achieved for four times in 2008, 2010, 2014 and 2016. In 2012 in Kazakhstan, Japan finished a disappointing fifth place.
With China taking on Japan in the final showdown, hosts Thailand and Chinese Taipei will battle it out for the third place on Sunday.
Meanwhile, in the 5th-10th classification round, Korea put it past the Philippines 3-1 (25-13 24-26 25-7 25-21). Go Yerim chipped in with 23 points from 20 attacks and 3 aces, while Ha Hyejin added 21 points. Alyssa Valdez led the Philippines with 15 points including 14 kills from 47 attempts.
With the win, Korea advanced to contest the 5th-8th playoffs against Iran, while the Philippines will battle it out with Kazakhstan for the 9th position.
Elsewhere, in-form Vietnam pulled off a completely lopsided 3-0 (25-16 25-14 25-15) win over young Kazakhstan. Tran Thi Thanh Thuy chipped in with 15 points for Vietnam including 13 attacks from 29 attempts, while Dang Thi Kim Thanh added 12 points including 8 kills and 3 aces. Ainagul Aizharikhova led Kazakhstan with 8 points including 3 blocks.Vietnam next take on Australia in the 5th-8th playoffs on Saturday.
Iran struggled to repeatedly beat Australia in dramatic four sets 22-25 25-23 25-22 25-20 in the 5th-10th playoffs. Mona Ashofteh led Iran with 16 points including 12 attacks and a team-leading 3 blocks,while Neda Chamlanian contributed 12 points including 10 attacks. Strongly-built Rachel Rourke scored a team-high 19 points for Australia.
Only three matches will be held on Saturday, with Vietnam taking on Australia and Korea playing Iran in the 5th-8th playoffs and Kazakhstan pitted against the Philippines in the 9th-10th playoff. The final showdown, the bronze-medal match and respective playoffs will take place on Sunday.
Vietnam b Kazakhstan 3-0 (25-16 25-14 25-15)
Korea b Philippines 3-1 (25-13 24-26 25-7 25-21)
Iran b Australia 3-1 (22-25 25-23 25-22 25-20)
China b Thailand 3-2 (25-18 25-21 25-27 22-25 15-10)
Japan b Chinese Taipei 3-1 (25-15 25-20 21-25 25-23)
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2018
13.30pm: 5th-8th Playoff: Vietnam v Australia
16.00pm: 9th-10th Playoff: Kazakhstan v Philippines
18.30pm: 5th-8th Playoff: Korea v Iran
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