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Thailand, Japan forge ahead in Women's U23 Asian Championship

Japan overcame Iran on Wednesday
 Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, May 17, 2017 – Thailand and Japan topped their pools on Wednesday as they reached the quarter-finals of the SMM 2nd Asian Women’s U23 Volleyball Championship at The Mall Nakhon Ratchasima’s MCC Hall with unbeaten records.

Hosts Thailand survived a sturdy challenge from Chinese Taipei in a hard-fought four-set thriller (27-25, 23-25, 28-26, 25-21).

Thailand’s Chatchu-on Moksri scored a team-high 23 points, all from her deadly attacks. Pimpichaya Kokram contributed with 21 kills. Tseng Wan-Ling led Chinese Taipei with 19 points, including 11 kills and seven blocks.

After the match, Thailand’s head coach Nataphon Srisamutnak said, “I think Thailand and Chinese Taipei played well in this match. Both teams came up with a similar level in attacks. They counter-attacked well to score consecutive points. Fortunately, we blocked well to improve our fortunes in this match. I admit that Chinese Taipei are very strong and to beat them is not an easy job.”

Japan, the only team yet to lose a set, breezed past Iran in a one-sided battle 3-0 (25-13, 25-14, 25-12).

Misaki Yamauchi led Japan with 13 points, including 11 kills from 18 attempts, with Mivako Osanai adding 11 kills and Ayaka Sugi five service aces. Dargazani Tahmineh collected six points for Iran.

Vietnam also had something to cheer about on Wednesday following their convincing 3-0 (25-15, 27-25, 25-15) victory over Malaysia, while Kazakhstan trounced Hong Kong in straight sets (25-17, 25-10, 25-15).

At the end of playoff matches on Wednesday, Thailand topped Pool E with nine points from straight three wins, followed by Chinese Taipei and Kazakhstan with six and three points, respectively. Winless Hong Kong came in fourth place.

Undefeated Japan claimed Pool F’s top spot with nine points, while Vietnam and Iran finished second and third with six and three points, respectively. Lacklustre Malaysia were in fourth position.

Thursday is the rest day. The quarterfinals take place on Friday with Japan taking on Hong Kong, Thailand playing Malaysia, Iran going up against Chinese Taipei and Vietnam challenging Kazakhstan. 

In the 9th-13th classification round earlier, Uzbekistan overcame New Zealand 3-1 (25-18, 25-27, 25-15, 25-17).

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