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World Grand Prix 2005 - Match Descriptive

Match Descriptive

U.S.A. beat Thailand 3-1 (25-14, 25-20, 13-25, 25-22) - duration 1:42
08-Jul, start time: 14:00, end time: 15:42 - Attendance: 2'500
City: Bangkok; Hall : Mall Convention Center
Fired-up USA survived a sturdy challenge from Thailand, powering past the host girls in a hard-fought four-set thriller.
Learning that two wins in the Bangkok leg will secure them a place in the July 13-18 finals in Sendai, Japan, the American girls started the curtain-raiser preliminaries Group I match against hosts Thailand aggressively, with devastating left-hander Nancy Metcalf impenetrating penetrating the Thai defence with her spectacular spikes to help the team lead 4-1. Thailand narrowed the gap at 8-7 after Amporn Hyapha and Pleumjit Thinkeaw produced an excellent offensive combination, with Pleumjit unleashing a series of fast spikes and Amporn executing solid blocks. Still, the Thai girls' game was riddled with unforced serving and spiking errors which cost them dear later. USA took the comfortable first set 25-14.

In the more thrilling second set, the Thai girls, despite the height disadvantage, counter-attacked gallantly. Pleumjit entertained a large crowd of cheering home fans inside The Mall Bangkapi's MCC Hall with her exceptional expertise to win several points for her team. As Thailand came whisker of closing the gap in the fiercely-contested battle, where they were trailing narrowly 18-17, USA started to produce the goods, stretching their hands to smash their ways. Metcalf, who has led the tournament with 134 points including 115 kills and 16 blocks, remained a major force for USA to be reckoned with in the set as the 186cm-tall star spiker from Indias de Mayaguez Club tore the Thai defence apart with her deadly cross-court spikes to help USA win the set 25-20.

Thailand had nothing to lose in the third set and just poured everything they had. Their great effort bore fruits later on as they led commandingly 16-9, thanks largely to Pleumjit's terrific jump serves and her scintillating come-from-behind spikes. As leading 23-11, Thai girls never looked back, attacking and blocking bravely to clinch the hard-fought thriller 25-13, the very first set they won in the tournament.

The Thai girls still gained an upper hand in the fourth set where they led 13-10. However, USA, reshuffling several players, hit bac