THAILAND ROUT KOREA IN HOTLY-ANTICIPATED GAME TO TOP POOL A
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 18, 2018 – In-form Thailand, silver medallists at the recent Asian Games in Indonesia, proved too strong for Korea to power past the young rivals in straight sets in their last pool round-robin preliminaries of the 6th AVC Cup for Women at the Chartchai Hall here on Tuesday.
The exceptional 25-18 25-19 25-17 victory put the host side on the top of Pool A with six points from two straight wins, while Korea, whose average age is 22.0 years, finished second in the pool with three points from one win against one loss. Japan came in third place with no point from two losses.
Wilavan Apinyapong topscored with 12 points for Thailand including a team-leading 8 aces, while Ha Hyejin led Korea with 8 points including 7 kills from 25 attempts.
Hoping to win their second AVC Cup title on home soil after winning their maiden victory in 2012 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Thailand fielded a formidable lineup led by veteran Wilavan Apinyapong, ace spiker Ajcharaporn Kongyot and Pimpichaya Kokram, while veteran Han Sooji and devastating left-hander Ha Hyejin spearheaded Korea.
Boosted by cheering home crowds inside the venue, Thailand made a strong start in the opening set, with Ajcharaporn and Pimpichaya on fire to unleash a barrage of fierce spikes punctuated by spectacular blocking from Ajcharaporn and Pornpun Guedpard. Leading by wide margin 21-13, the host side marched on their overwhelming dominance to clinch the thrilling set 25-18.
In the second set, Korea came up with incredible speed and powerful attacks, but the Thai superb net play continued to strangle the young rivals. Ha Hyejin came roaring back through her spectacular spikes, but the Thais successfully blunted her efforts. The host team stayed in front with a 5-point clear at 18-13. Korea counter-attacked to narrow the gap at 17-20, but Thailand had enough left in the tank to pull clear and won the hard-fought set 25-19.
Both sides shuffled their lineup in the third set, but for Thailand, their intention for the player rotation was just to allow their players opportunities to sharpen their skill ahead of their tougher task in the forthcoming FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in Japan from September 29 to October 20. Thailand still played well in the high-octane game and were seemingly going through the motion. Seizing the lead for good with a 7-point clear at 21-13, the host side stormed on to win the set 25-17 and match.
“In this match, we tried to work more on blocking. However, our communication between setter and spikers is still not that satisfying. We have to improve more on our attacks and defence, We next take on Australia, the team with tall and towering players. I think it’s good for us to learn how to play the tall players, especially those from Europe when we have to play them at the Word Championships. To replace veterans with young players in each set, I think it’s necessary that we send them when it’s fine time they can learn. If we happen to send them when it’s in critical moments, it will become pressure on them. We will try our best in the following matches. Our aim in this tournament is not with whom we will play, but it is the way we learn from our own matches,” Thailand head coach Danai Sriwacharamaytakul commented.
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