FIVB - Volleyball World Grand Prix 2012

MATCH INFO

Thailand comeback stuns Japan


Thailand's Onuma Sittirak had 16 points in a stunning comeback against Japan

Komaki, Japan, June 17, 2012 - Perhaps the most intriguing second round match-up from Pool F in the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix came on Sunday with a spirited Thailand team, in third place overall with 12 points so far after Saturday’s games, taking on the host Japanese squad who came into the match in eighth place with nine points. Thailand looked out for the count in this one, but miraculously battled back from a set down to take it 3-2 (25-15, 16-25, 22-25, 25-19, 18-16).

Both sides had evenly distributed scoring in this match, each with four players in double digits. Japan was led by Yukiko Ebata with 22. For Thailand, Pleumjit Thinkow, Onuma Sittirak, and their captain Wilavan Apinyapong all had 16 each. Thailand won, despite being outblocked 13 to five.

Thailand’s Nootsara Tomkom, tied for third in tournament serving with nine aces so far, kicked this one off with her tenth, setting an example her team would quickly follow, and pushing to a 9-5 lead. Thailand were playing quick, aggressive volleyball with Amporn Hyapha scoring well, picking off a corner with a spike, followed by yet another ace, this time from Onuma to make it 16-8. Japan’s Saori Sakoda had some successful attacks, but Thailand’s serving was the story in the set, as five of their starters had aces, including Pleumjit Thinkow who closed with one, 25-15.

The second set was a far closer affair, with Japan blocking better as Iwasaka had a pair of them on Onuma and Wilavan early to help Japan up 11-9. Sakoda then delivered two of her trademark flying spikes, followed by an Ebata ace that made it 17-13 for the home side. Thailand committed some errors to let Japan extend to 21-15, and from there Iwasaka brought it home with a clever tip, her fifth score of the set, taking it 25-16, one set apiece.

With Ebata and Mizuho Ishida attacking well to start the third, Kanako Hirai gave Japan an 11-8 lead with her fourth block of the match on Malika Kanthong. An Iwasaka ace later let Japan edge further ahead to 21-17. Malika and Pleumjit brought Thailand back close, but Japan showed too much hustle with Ishida digging an incredible ball on set point, letting Japan take it 25-22.

The teams edged out to 6-6 in the fourth when Thailand’s Onuma got hot helping her side take five of the next six points to go up 12-7. A pair of spikes by Thai captain Wilavan extended the lead to 19-12, putting her side in control. Ebata helped Japan fight off three set points, but a hard spike from Onuma took the fourth 25-19 for Thailand, tying two sets all.

After four sets of quick, hectic volleyball, Japan looked poised to finish things as a pair of Ebata spikes edged them ahead 8-3. Her seventh point of the set made it 14-11 for Japan, and it was all but finished. But Thailand battled back miraculously, and a Wilavan block tied it at 14-14. An Onuma spike silenced the home town crowd and gave Thailand a match point, and after Japan’s Ishida sailed a spike long, Thailand clinched it 18-16, winning 3-2.



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