KOREA, CHINA, IRAN AND AUSTRALIA REGISTER FIRST WINS AT 6TH AVC CUP FOR WOMEN
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 16, 2018 – As title-holders China pulled off a lop-sided win over Vietnam, Korea struggled to beat Japan in dramatic four-setter in the opening day of the 6th AVC Cup for Women at the 5,000-seater Chartchai Hall here on Sunday.
Also joining the two powerhouses for the first-day wins were Australia and Iran. Both sides completed their Sunday’s campaign in similar fashion by respectively beating the Philippines and Kazakhstan with fantastic 3-2 comeback victories.
The day’s highlight could be seen in the hotly-contested encounter between Korea and Japan. Brilliant Ha Hyejin spearheaded her majority of her team’s attacks, as fired-up Korea produced a magnificent come-from-behind 3-1 (21-25 25-18 29-27 25-23) victory over Japan in their opening Pool A encounter.
Ha Hyejin scored a team-high 28 points for Korea including 24 kills from 54 attempts, 3 solid blocks and one ace, with Go Yerim adding 14 points including 11 attacks. Shiori Aratani led Japan with 14 points, while Miyu Nakagawa and Nichika Yamada kept good company to chip in with 13 and 12 points respectively.
Despite the loss, Japan head coach Kiyoshi Abo expressed his satisfaction over his team’s performance.
“Our performance was not stable, sometime good, sometime not so good. Korea have strong opposite players and we could not react their attacks. Most of my team players are under-23. I need them to gain more experience from major competitions like this. However, our target remains unchanged, that is to win this tournament. Although we lost in today’s match, I’m happy with my team’s performance. I believe that we still have an opportunity to capture the AVC Cup. We will do our best in the remaining matches. We next play hosts Thailand and we try to play a close game against them,” Kiyoshi Abo commented after the match.
Abo is one of the Japan’s accomplished coaches as he led his U23 team to maiden victory at the last year’s Asian Women’s U23 Championship in Thailand and U19 squad to another victory at the Asian Women’s U19 Championship in Vietnam early this year.
Meanwhile, China thrashed Vietnam in a totally one-sided battle 25-17 25-9 25-12 in their opening match which lasted only 62 minutes.
Gao Yi and Liu Yanhan chipped in with similar 15 points for China, but Gao led the team with 11 blocks and Liu with 11 attacks. Duong Thi Hen led Vietnam with 9 points.
“We prepared well for our first match in this tournament. I think my girls played well up to my expectation. However, we made some minor mistakes and that’s what we badly need to learn. This is a young team, but we came here to do our best for the possible best result in this tournament,” China head coach Shi Hairong commented.
In the other matches, powerful Rachel Rourke scored a match-high 33 points to steer Australia to a fantastic 3-2 (21-25 21-25 26-24 25-16 15-10) comeback victory over the Philippines, while Iran tasted their first win at the 6th AVC Cup for Women after a come-from-behind 3-2 (23-25 25-17 19-25 25-23 15-6) victory over Kazakhstan.
On Monday, China will take on Chinese Taipei, Australia will play Kazakhstan, the Philippines will go up against Iran, with Japan challenging hosts Thailand, silver medallists at the recent Asian Games in Indonesia.
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