July 25, 2003 – South Korea outclassed Thailand 3-0 on Friday to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the final round of the 2003 women’s volleyball World Grand Prix.
In other action just completed, the USA finally overpowered Germany to retain their unbroken record of victory, but had to fight out a bitter fourth set when finally fell in their favor 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 17-25, 33-31)
South Korea, the surprising winners over defending champions Russia on Monday, improved to three wins against one loss in preliminary round Pool B that also included China, Brazil and Canada.
South Korean coach Kim Cheol-yong eyed a top three finish in pool B and a berth in the final round.
“If we do everything needed to do, I think we have a chance to make the final round,” Kim said.
“The important thing is that we have to get our rhythm going.”
It was close early in the match and South Korea pulled away from a 19-18 lead to take the first set 25-21. Thailand went down more tamely in the second and third sets, won by South Koreans 25-13 and 25-10 respectively.
“We tried to play steadily, but we did not do so well in the second and third sets,” said Thailand captain Patchare Sangmuang, who scored a game-high 15 points but just made 14 of her 44 attacking chances.
“We were trying to play more quickly (in the second and third sets) but we made too many mistakes by ourselves,” she added.
The Thais, who have yet to record a win, could hardly stop spiker Han Yoo-mi or break the tenacious South Korean defense. Han converted on 11 of her 28 attacking attempts to lead South Korea with 12 points.
The Thais just managed an attack percentage of 32%, compared with 54% of South Korea. South Korean captain Choi Kwang-hee attributed their success in defense to hard training.
“The coach made us train very hard in defense and that made it easier for us in real matches,” Choi said. The winless Thais and the Canadians, who have both had their chances of advancing demolished, will fight for dignity in the final-round preliminaries on Saturday.
In other action the USA finally overpowered Germany to retain their unbroken record of victory, but had to fight out a bitter fourth set when finally fell in their favor 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 17-25, 33-31)