THAILAND PICK UP BRONZE AFTER 3-0 ROUT OF BATTLING CHINESE TAIPEI
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 23, 2018- Thailand outclassed spirited Chinese Taipei in a hotly-anticipated contest 25-20 25-19 25-20 at the 6th AVC Cup for Women at Chartchai Hall here on Sunday 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.
Thailand , ranked 16th in the world and silver medalists at the recent 18th Asian Games in Indonesia, made a sluggish start in the first set to trail Chinese Taipei with a two-point clear at 5-7, but clawed their ways back into the game, with Pimpichaya Kokram and veteran Onuma Sittirak unleashing powerful attacks to help the home side close out the margin at 14-14. Chinese Taipei picked things up positively and counter-attacked well with Huang Ching-Hsuan and Chang Li-Yun overpowering the Thai blockers with their thunderous attacks to reduce the gap at 20-22. As both sides traded blows, Thailand advanced 24-20 before a scintillating block from Pimpichaya and Pleumjit Thinkaow ended the visitors’ sturdy challenge. Thailand won the opening set 25-20.
Conceding one set, Chinese Taipei made some rotations with an aim of improving their defence. Coach Yao Cheng-Shan’s intention bore fruits when Chinese Taipei got off to a good start to lead 4-1 in the second set. Cheered on by noisily drum-beating fans inside the venue, Thailand still had much power with Onuma a thorn in the visitors, while Pimpichaya and Pleumjit marshalled team-mates defensively. Thailand upped their tempo to catch up with the formidable rivals at 13-13 and never looked back after that. Thailand took the second set 25-19.
The rhythm was still with the host side in the third set when Pimpichaya and Pleumjit put the team in front with a five-point clear at 10-5, thanks to the duo’s aggressive attacks. Chinese Taipei did not want to surrender easily as they stormed back with fast attacks from Tseng Wan-Ling and spectacular spikes from Chen Tzu-Ya and Chang Li-Yun to narrow the gap at 14-18, but Thailand still had staying power to hold them off. The host side captured the set 25-20, match and the bronze medal.
“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 strong 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. Chinese Taipei came in fourth place, bettering the fifth position they had won in the previous edition in Vietnam.
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