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China one step away from title at the Asian Eastern Zone Women’s Championship

Japanese players struggled with wall-like blocking from the Chinese players
Beijing, China, August 30, 2012 - China is another step closer to claiming the title after coming from a set down to defeat Japan 3-1 (24-26, 25-15, 25-23, 25-21) in a hard-fought match at the Asian Eastern Zone Women’s Volleyball Championship August 29. Meanwhile, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong earned straight set wins.

Both China and Japan went into their match undefeated, neither having lost a single set. Japan clung to early leads of only one or two points in the opening set and were able to get away from China at 10-5 as China made three attacking errors. But fighting power with power, China struck back to level the scores at 12-12 and 24-24, at which point a strong attack by Japan’s number one left-handed spiker, Ayumi Nakamura, and a block against China’s key wing spiker, Liu Xiaotong, gave the Japanese the set 26-24.

China rallied back strongly in the second, scoring the first four points of the set on the strength of two blocks and two kills by Zeng Chunlei and Xue Ming. They led 8-5 at the first technical time-out. China extended the lead to 16-8 by the second technical time-out. Japan tried their utmost to fight back with fast attacks and several thunderous spikes, but errors in attacking and receiving ensured that China would maintain a ten point lead to finish the set.

The Japanese fell behind 5-2 early in the third set but refused to give up. Ayumi Nakamura’s jumping serve and fast attacking by Mai Okumura helped Japan level the set at 23-23. But the set finally went the Chinese way when Zeng Chunlei and Xue Ming blocked a Japanese spike.

Japan lost focus early in the fourth set, but at 8-12 behind Japan suddenly found their form while China seemed to lose their concentration. Japan rallied not only to level the scores at 13-13, but also led China by two points at 17-15. At this junction, Japan again succumbed to unforced faults, while Liu Xiaotong answered with her own rocket. A more confident Chinese side sealed the fourth set with a monstrous hit by Zeng to make it 25-21.

In their earlier match, Chinese Taipei started he first set smartly, jumping ahead and staying there to win 25-12. The second set was a different story. Macao went ahead from the beginning, leading 8-6 at the first technical time-out and 16-14 at second. Chinese Taipei's spikes increased in quantity and quality, rallying back to take the lead at 19-18 and never looking back. In the third set Macao again showed some mettle, leading Chinese Taipei at 15-12, 18-14 and 21-19. But over the last several points eye-catching defending and spiking from Chinese Taipei put the end to the match (25-12, 25-21, 25-23).

Hong Kong moved comfortably ahead from the start in their first two sets against Mongolia and never gave up their lead, winning 25-17 and 25-17. Mongolia showed their determination in the third and final set, initially hanging with Hong Kong at 5-5 and then taking lead at 13-10. Hong Kong leveled the scores at 14-14, however, and took the set 25-19.

Day five fixtures: Mongolia vs. Macao, Japan vs. Chinese Taipei, China vs. Hong Kong

Standings after fourth rounds:
1.China 12 points, 2. Japan 9 pts, 3. Chinese Taipei 9 pts, 4. Hong Kong 6 pts, Mongolia 0 pts, 6. Macao 0 pts

The results are as follows:
Day one
Japan vs. Macao 3-0 (25-7, 25-10, 25-7)
Chinese Taipei vs. Hong Kong 3-0 (25-14, 25-19, 25-15)
China vs. Mongolia 3-0 (25-4, 25-15, 25-6)

Day two
Chinese Taipei vs. Mongolia 3-0 (25-17, 25-9, 25-15)
Hong Kong Vs. Japan 0-3 (9-25, 11-25, 13-25)
Macao vs. China 0-3 (11-25, 11-25, 7-25)

Day three
Japan vs. Mongolia 3-0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-12)
Hong Kong vs. Macao 3-0 (25-19, 25-11, 25-11)
Chinese Taipei vs. China 0-3 (8-25, 12-25, 7-25)

Day four
Mongolia vs. Hong Kong 0-3 (17-25, 17-25, 19-25)
Macao vs. Chinese Taipei 0-3 (12-25, 21-25, 23-25)
China vs. Japan 3-1 (24-26, 25-15, 25-23, 25-21)


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