Taicang, China, September 21, 2010 –China and Thailand continued their remarkable run to top Pool A and Pool B respectively and remain the only two unbeaten teams on the final day of the preliminary rounds at the second Asian Women’s Cup Volleyball Championship in Taicang, China on Tuesday.
China celebrate their straight sets win over Korea
Defending champions China white washed last year’s runners-up Korea in straight sets (25-23, 25-14, 25-22) while Asian Champions Thailand needed five sets to beat Chinese Taipei (23-25, 25-17, 24-26, 25-17, 20-18). In Tuesday’s other matches, Kazakhstan downed Iran 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-4) and Japan beat Vietnam (25-13, 25-17, 25-17).
After three days preliminary competition, China leads Pool A with six points from three wins and no losses, Korea is second earning five points from two wins and one defeat followed by Kazakhstan with three points and no wins and Iran with three points. Thailand finished top in Pool B with a perfect record. Japan placed second after beating Vietnam 3-0 with five points. Chinese Taipei are third with four points and Vietnam last with three points.
In a clash of the two unbeaten teams, title holders China fielded a full-strength line-up, including hard-attacking Wang Yimei, China’s best middle block Xue Ming and veteran Li juan. While Korea were spearhead by three 190cm-tall players consisting of Kim Yeon-Koung, Yang Hyo-Jin and Kim Se-Young. China and Korea exchanged the lead from the beginning of the first set and the gap was never more than two points. After the second TTO, China took control at 20-17. Korea struggled to grab a 22-22 but Xue Ming’s block gave China the opening set
It was much easier for China in the second set as they took an early lead which they held on to for the rest of the frame.
Korea came back strongly in the third set as veteran Kim Yeon-Koung fired from both sides of the net, helping her team take the upper hand at 19-17. However, China answered with a 3-0 run as Wang Yimei scored three points from two spiking and one ace. Korea rallied to level the score at 22 all before Li Juan came out dramatically to take three points, including two aces, sealing the set and also the match in one hour and nine minutes.
Wang Yimei collected 14 points, including 12 points from 22 spike attempts, followed by Xue Ming with 12 points. Korea’s Kim Yeon-Koung led the game with 20 points.
In the other match of the pool, Kazakhstan took full advantage of their height to ease past Iran in straight sets (25-22, 25-18, 25-4) for its first win. The spirited Iranian players tried their utmost to hit sharp spikes, especially in the first set but Kazakhstan foiled their determined attempts. Kazakhstan, whose height average is 184cm against Iran’s 176cm, launched waves of fierce attacks and their high blocking proved too much for the smaller Iran. Despite putting up a brave fight, Iran found Kazakhstan an impossible nut to crack.
Asian Champions Thailand, who beat Chinese Taipei in straight sets at both the 2008 Asian Women’s Cup and 2009 Asian Senior championship, experienced a scare in their match against their rivals before securing the win.
Thailand fielded the well-established players including Pleumjit Thinkaow, Onuma Sittirak, Wilavan Apinyapong and Amporn Hyapha, all of which play in international leagues in Switzerland and Turkey, while Chinese Taipei sent a young team with an average age of 22 onto the court.
Chinese Taipei played with confidence and high spirit taking the first set 25-23 before Thailand drew even in the second. The third set went to Chinese Taipei before a dogged Thailand fought back to take the game to a tie breaker.
In early stage of the tie-breaker, Thailand surged to a commanding 14-8 lead with a combination of spike and block. However a sensational fightback from Chinese Taipei saw them draw even again at 15-all. But Thailand dug deep and powered to the win.
Japan posted an easy 3-0 victory over Vietnam for its second win, finishing second in Pool B. Both teams tested each other’s abilities at the beginning of the first set. However, Japan soon picked up the pace and embarked on an aggressive display of attacks, giving them the lead in all the three sets.
Japan’s Akari Oumi top-scored the match with 22 points while teammate Asuka Minamoto added 11 points while Bui Thi Hue collected nine points for Vietnam.
Kazakhstan vs. Iran 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-4)
Korea vs. China 0-3 (23-25, 14-25, 22-25)
Chinese Taipei vs. Thailand 2-3-(25-23, 17-25, 26-24, 25-17, 18-20)
Vietnam vs. Japan 0-3 (13-25, 17-25, 17-25)
Standing (tabulated under matches played, won, lost, points)
1. China 3 3 0 6
2. Korea 3 3 1 5
3. Kazakhstan 3 1 2 4
4. Iran 3 0 3 3
1. Thailand 3 3 0 6
2. Japan 3 2 1 5
3. Chinese Taipei 3 1 2 4
4. Vietnam 3 0 3 3
Wednesday, September 22
Thursday, September 23
Japan(B2) vs. Kazakhstan(A3); Korea(A2) vs. Chinese Taipei(B3); Thailand(B1) vs. Iran (A4); China(A1) vs. Vietnam(B4)