China and Japan face-off in Asian Eastern Zonal Championship final
Japan put on tough defence against Chinese Taipei to claim ticket to final of Asian Eastern Zonal Championship|
Hong Kong, China, July 5, 2014 – China and
Japan beat their semifinal rivals in straight sets to set up a final showdown
the Asian Eastern Zonal Women’s Volleyball Championship 2014 at the Ma On Shan
Sports Centre on Saturday.
In the first semifinal match, China sustained
their fine form and dominated Korea with a 3-0 (25-11, 25-19, 25-21) victory.
After losing the first set, Korea showcased their solid defence in the second
set and gained five consecutive points after the second technical timeout
though they still failed to win against the Chinese, who were solid on blocks
and attacks. In the third set, China showed their excellent blocking scheme and
sent a barrage of spikes against the Koreans to win the match.
“Korea are a strong team and their defence
is much more agile,” China coach Zhang Luo said. “Whether we play Chinese
Taipei or Japan in the gold medal match, we will not underestimate them as they
are both competitive teams.”
After the strong finish by the Chinese
team, Japan defeated Chinese Taipei 3-0 in the second semifinal match. Both
teams had a fierce contention early on that led to a see-saw situation, and the
eventual tie at 11-all. Japan switched gears on their offence and nailed the
Chinese Taipei score to gain a 16-11 lead. Chinese Taipei, however, did not
give up and rallied to lead 21-19, with the support of the excited crowd.
Chinese Taipei could not maintain the advantage as Japan scored six straight
points to end the set 25-21.
Japan no longer gave Chinese Taipei to
fight back in the second set and unleashed heavy spikes from their top scorer
Oda Momoko, who put the team in front and sealed the second set victory 25-13.
Both teams fought neck-and-neck throughout the third set. Chinese Taipei even
led 22-21, forcing the Japanese coach to call timeout. The break helped Japan
to regain their composure and mount a 25-23 win to clinch the match.
Earlier in the afternoon, Hong Kong thumped
Mongolia in straight sets (25-15, 25-17, 25-19). Hong Kong dominated on the
first set as they played excellently on the service line and at the net.
Mongolia took the lead in the second set 14-13 but a timeout helped Hong Kong
to reinstate their blocks and force some powerful strikes on the Mongolian side
to clinch the set 25-17. Hong Kong capitalised from the service errors of
Mongolia, who were also not tactically sound towards the end of the third set,
allowing the Hong Kong side to gain some ground to finish off the match 25-19.