The annual championship is being held from April 17 to 25 and serves as a qualifying tournament to decide the Asian club representative to compete in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship, which will take place from May 7 and 11 in Zurich, Switzerland. Asia is the last continent after Europe and South America to complete their championship, with a wild card appointment completing the qualification process of six teams. Hosts Volero Zurich have automatically qualified and are joined by South American champions Sesi-SP, European winners Dinamo Kazan and wild card recipient Molico Osasco.
Fired-up Tianjin field formidable line-up to crush VAS in easy encounter
In-form Bohai Bank Tianjin, formerly Tianjin Bridgestone, pulled off a scintillating straight-set win against VAS from Singapore to record their third win in the annual tournament, 3-0 (25-8, 25-5, 25-12).
Tianjin fielded a strong line-up against underdogs VAS - whom have yet won a set in their past three matches - with current and former China national team players including Yin Na, Chen Liyi and Wei Qiuyue.
Hard-hitting Chen Liyi was the top scorer for Tianjin with 15 points including 10 ace spikes and four stuff blocks, while Quek Soo Teng emerged as the top scorer of VAS after collecting five points, including four attacks.
Gritty Taipei power their ways to straight-set victory over the off-form PLDT
Taipei, under the close supervisor of head coach Italian Ramazzo Federico, came even stronger in Saturday's tournament than previous days. After outclassing VAS and KSEB in comfortable straight sets, Taipei on Saturday proved their class to beat PLDT of the Philippines for the third victory in the top-flight competition, 3-0 (25-15, 25-12, 25-11).
Taipei kept faith to their experienced line-up to field all national players, which consisted of Chen Yi-Ju, Ho Yen-Chih, Wu Wei-Hua, Yang Yi-Chen, Chang Li-Wen, Chen Wan-Ting and Wen I-Tzu in their tough match against the Philippine squad. VAS was spearheaded by the 197cm-tall Santiago Alyja Daphne and former Cuban superstar Bell Mackenzie Regla Maritza, who led her team to win successive three Olympic titles.
ChenYi-Ju scored a match-high 12 points for Taipei including five blocks and three serves, while Bell Mackenzie scored the highest nine points for PLDT, seven of them through attack hits.
“We played like team," said Taipei’s head coach Italian Ramazzo Federico. "We played every ball with the focus of attentions. PLDT are really experienced. One of their players is the Olympic champions for three times, their middle blockers are very strong and their Number 19 (Santiago Alyja Daphne) is also strong. Actually, PLDT did nothing wrong in this match against us. They just had a problem with poor reception. This could not permit them to develop the on-going game. They are a good team.
“We next play Tianjin. It’s not easy as the Chinese are very experienced. My players did not get used to fighting taller rivals. I think if my players can perform well like they did today, it will be satisfying.”
Zhetyssu survived a third-set strong challenge from India’s KSEB
Kazakhstan’s Zhetyssu defeated KSEB of India in a straight-set victory 3-0 (25-12, 25-11, 25-23). Lyudmila Anarbayeva was the top scorer for Zhetyssu with 11 points, while Rekha Sreesailam claimed six points for KSEP.
Japan’s Hisamitsu Springs outplay Iran’s Matin Varamin
2002 champions Hisamitsu Springs brushed off Matin Varamin in straight sets 3-0 (25-13, 25-14, 25-9), to claim their second successive win.
With the scintillating victory, Hisamitsu Springs, led by devastating left-hander Miyu Nagaoka, went to the top of the Pool A standing with six points. They next take on hosts Nakhonratchasima on Monday, in what could be a tough match in front of cheering home crowds.
Yuki Ishii bagged the highest 12 points, 11 of them through deadly spikes, for Hisamitsu Springs, while Maedeh Borhanie collected seven crucial points for Matin Varamin.
“We did a lot of homework and that’s why we won this match,” said Hisamitsu Springs’ head coach Kumi Nakada. “We played well and shifted many players in each set just to give my players an equal chance of playing as a teamwork. We next challenge hosts Nakhonratchasima and I’m confident that we can beat the Thai team.
“We are the current Japan V. Premier League champions. However, we had a short time of training in preparation for this tournament. Shortly after we won the league title, we trained intensively only six days before travelling to Thailand.”
On Sunday, PLDT of the Philippines go up against Kazakhstan’s Zhetyssu, Singapore’s VAS take on KSEB of India, Taipei challenge Bohai Bank Tianjin of China and Thailand’s Nakhonratchasima pit their expertise against Vietnam’s Thong Tin Lienvietpostbank.
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