Jakarta, October 10, 2004 - After relishing victories over Russia and Chinese Taipei, Indonesia was brought crashing down to earth against Myanmar by losing 0-3 in the U-185 World Volleyball Championship match on Saturday.
Starting the game confident of an easy win over Myanmar, which was defeated 2-3 by Chinese Taipei in Friday's match, the Indonesian players were surprised to find that the Myanmar players were tougher than they have expected.
The local players took a 5-3 lead in the first set but the two sides quickly drew level at 9-9, with Myanmar's top spiker, Shwe Kyaw, continuously hammering powerful spikes at the Indonesian blockers. Myanmar wrapped up the first set 25-18.
In the second set, the Indonesian team made two major changes by replacing Andri Eko and Joko Mardiyanto, which left the team weakened in defense.
Following the substitutions, Myanmar's Kyaw, who also serves in the Myanmar Military, easily breached holes in the Indonesian team's defense through his accurate spikes, and sealed the second set 25-21 for Myanmar.
From the third set onward, the Myanmar players were full of confidence and took three straight sets.
Indonesia's Robby Meliala and Aries Arizqon, whose performances were astounding in the first two matches, were ineffectual in the last set, which Myanmar took 19-25.
With the loss, Indonesia will have to win its last game against Japan on Sunday to maintain any chance of winning the competition as the team has won two and lost one of the three matches played so far. It still has one more match to play.
Indonesian assistant coach Yunyun Yudiana said his players were nervous playing against the Myanmar team.
"I knew our players were overconfident at first but when they did not collect significant points in the first set, they started to get nervous in the second set," Yunyun said.
He added that he and coach Li Qiujiang had predicted that the Myanmar players were going to go all out in their last match against Indonesia.
Previously, Myanmar won 3-0 against Russia and then lost 2-3 to Japan and Chinese Taipei.
"We were right in thinking that the Myanmar players would treat this match as a do-or-die match," Yunyun said.
Yunyun said that the reason he replaced Eko and Joko was because Eko was very nervous in the first set and was not playing well, while Joko's right leg was injured.
"Overall, we played really badly today. Our defense was weak and our blockers failed to stymie Myanmar's top spikers, Shwe Kyaw and Win Min Tun.
"We also warned our players not to serve directly at Saw Hein Thu as he is really good, but our players kept ignoring the warnings," Yunyun said.
Meanwhile, Myanmar's head coach Nyi Nyi Lwin said that he was extremely pleased with his team after defeating the hosts.
"Winning three sets against the hosts is unbelievable. We had prepared our players for five sets but it turned out we could do it in only three sets," Lwin said.
"The first set win boosted our players' moral and confidence while the Indonesian players kept making unforced errors," Lwin added.
"We played this match thinking that Indonesia would be the hardest to beat, especially given that it is the host team, but it turned out we were wrong," Lwin said.
This defeat has changed Indonesia's record against Myanmar from 1-1 to 1-2 for Myanmar.
Indonesia lost to Myanmar in the 1995 SEA Games but got its revenge in the 2003 SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Eva C. Komandjaja, The Jakarta Post/Jakarta