Volleyball News


Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 22, 2018 – Korea overcame their dismal start to beat Iran in pulsating four sets 12-25 26-24 25-16 25-19 to next take on Vietnam in the 5th-6th playoff match at the 6th AVC Cup for Women at Chartchai Hall here on Saturday.

Ha Hyejin chipped in with 17 points from 16 attacks and one ace, while Hwang Minkyoung added 9 points including 8 attacks. Mahsa Saberi led Iran with 18 points from 16 attacks, one block and one ace.

Korea fielded a young, potential team with one veteran Han Sooji, 29, at the helm, while Iran sent a strong squad led by Maedeh Borhani Esfahan.

Iran came from nowhere to make a solid start for an initial 14-9 lead, thanks to Mahsa Kadkhoda’s great serves and Maedeh’s exceptional attacks. As Korea’s nerves began to fray since the beginning of the first set, Iran stormed on with their incredible form to win the lopsided set 25-12.

Holding 1-0 advantage, Iran came up with confidence in the second set and they raced to an 8-5 lead. The on-going battle was incredibly close with neither side able to break clear. As Korea improved on their defensive work, with Ha Hyejin and An Hyejin producing impenetrable defence, Iran head coach Javad Mehregan made some clever rotations to mix and match his lineup. His intention paid its dividends as both sides involved in a tight battle which saw the margin between them unable to get higher than two points. Leveling at 13-13, both teams battled it out in entertaining rallies for several moments and Korea went on their excellent teamwork to advance 24-23. Iran fought back to meet the speedy rivals at 24-24 before the Koreans held on to win two straight points for the hard-fought 26-24 win.

The third set was obviously dominated by Korea with a four-point clear at 5-1. Ha Hyejin and Go Yerim took turns puncturing the Iranian defence with their mighty attacks, while Iran played their best in blunting the Korean efforts. However, Korea started to produce the goods after that with Ha, Go and An looking increasingly dangerous from spike range as their team kept their noses in front at both technical timeouts before sealing the set 25-16.

The fourth set was also thrilling with both teams giving all-out and Korea led from the beginning 14-12. The well-organised offensive duo of Ha Hyejin and Go Yerim still worked on winning some more points for Korea, as Iran were expecting to catch up with the pace setter. However, the Koreans still had too much power with Ha a constant thorn in the rivals. Despite playing cool under pressure, Iran still found the Koreans a tough nut to crack. Leading 23-18, Korea allowed their opponents only one more point to win the set 25-19 and match.

Korea will next take on Vietnam in the 5th-6th playoff encounter, while losers Iran will battle it out for the 7th position with Australia.


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