Evergrande to renew rivalry with BTG, PFU face Zhetyssu in semis of Asian Women’s Club Championship
Guangdong Evergrande (China) beat Idea Khonkaen (Thailand) 3-0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-14)
The legendary coach Lang Ping’s unbeaten Guangdong Evergrande, which have yet lose a set to their respective rivals in the top-flight one-week, eight-team tournament, spent one hour to thrash Idea Khonkaen 3-0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-14 )in their quarterfinal clash on Friday.
The Chinese team fielded a formidable starting line-up which included imported powerful spikers Katarzyna Ewa Skowronska Dolata of Poland and Italian Carolina Del Pilar.
Evergrande, second place at this season’s Chinese League, were additionally strengthened by the hard-attacking Zhou Yuan and the 195cmXu Yunli, the tournament’s tallest player.
Taking the height advantage at the net to come out with scintillating blocks and the sharp angles and accuracy of the spikes, Evergrande tactically and technically took control of the match to clinch the first two sets 25-12, 25-15.
The Chinese team continued their aggression and power at the net in the third set, with Skowronska and Carolina turning up the heat on the smaller-built rivals with their exceptional attacks. Evergrande wrapped up the set 25-14 and the lop-sided battle to cruise into the semi-finals, where they will take on Bo Tong Gang, the team they had already beaten 3-0 in the pool round-robin preliminaries earlier.
Skowronska Dolata scored a match-high 16 points for Evergrande, while Idea Khonkaen scored the highest from Pornthip Santrong with nine points.
Evergrande’s coach Lang Ping commented after the match, “We played through normal game, nothing special. However, I think the Thai team played very well, especially their defence. My team is now in the semi-finals and which team we will take on is not important. We have to win the semi-final match to advance to the final. For sure, no matter what team we play, our next match will be much harder.
“Among the last four matches we played, I think our best job was the match against PFU Blue Cats of Japan. We played well above our level, but in this match against the Thai team, we just played our normal standard. We have to win the semi-finals, but to reach that target, we have to prepare well,” she added.
Meanwhile, Idea Khonkaen’s head coach Banjong Sombat expressed satisfaction over his team’s improved game. “I’m very happy with my players’ performance. We played much better than the previous matches which saw the Chinese team remain on their starting line-up. They did not change any player in the match against us. As far as I’m concerned, we played more consistently in this match.
“Among the three sets, I think we did our best in the second set. We played with more determination and guts. Setter Pornpun Guedpard looked to be a dominant force in my team in this match as she learned well how to set the ball for teammates to attack effectively.
“If we happen to take on hosts Vietnam’s Lienviet Postbank in the classification match, I think it must be a good, tough match. We played before and knew each other quite well. Who can do better will win that match. We will try our best to avenge them for the loss in the preliminaries earlier,” he said.
PFU Blue Cats (Japan) d. Taipei (Chinese Taipei) 3-0 (25-18 25-17 25-16)
A tense match between PFU Blue Cats of Japan and Taipei saw the former mix an excellent offensive combination of imported Colombian Romana Perea’s fast spikes with efficient blocking by Perea and Mao Kawakami to thrash the latter for the first two-set win 25-18, 25-17.
The Blue Cats played exceptionally well in the opening set. After taking a commanding 18-6 lead, the Japanese side performed superbly to win straight six points and stretch it to 24-16. They allowed the spirited Taipei two more points to win the match 25-18, with Nami Sato coming from behind to attack devastatingly for the team’s last point win.
Though attempting to maintain their poise, Taipei found the rivals too tough to cope with to go down in the following two sets 17-25, 16-25 for the eventual straight-set victory.
Romana Perea topscored PFU Blue Cats with 16 points. She was second in the spiking skill to take only 11 points, but fared better to lead team-mates with five points in blocking. Chen Wan-Ting scored a match-high 13 points for Taipei.
Zhetyssu (Kazakhstan) d. Giti Pasand (Iran) 3-0 (25-7 25-14 25-9)
Undefeated Zhetyssu, fielding all Kazakh national team players, took an absolute control of the whole match against the less-experienced Iranians in what turned out to be a completely one-sided battle.
Despite the absence of the powerful hitter Yelena Pavlova, who sustained an ankle injury in their preliminary round and decided to fly back home the following day for further treatment, Zhetyssu remained strong in their roster.
Alla Bogdashkina and Irina Shenberger combined well to tear the Iranian defence into shreds with their spectacular spikes. Although attempting to fight back, Giti Pasand found the tall Kazakhs too strong to succumb straight-set defeat 25-7, 25-14, 25-9 in just 56 minutes.
Irina Shenberger bagged 14 points for Zhetyssu, while Maedeh Borhani emerged as the top scorer for Giti Pasand with six points.
Bo Tong Gang (DPR Korea) beat Lienviet Postbank (Vietnam) 3-2 (25-21, 25-12, 24-26, 20-25, 15-8)
A large number of home crowds thronged into the Buan Ma Thuot Gymnasium to give a morale boost to their team in a crucial match against gritty Bo Tong Gang to determine the last team in the Saturday’s semi-finals. However, they had to leave the venue with heads low in disappointment when the host team lost in that tough battle.
The formidable Bo Tong Gang, led by a scoring machine Jong Jin Sim, who topscored the Korean side in every match, captured the first two sets 25-21, 25-12.
Cheered on loudly with the relentless shouts and the nerve-wracking drum-beating fans almost packing the venue, Lienviet Postbank roared back bravely. Do Thi Minh gave the hosts a strong comeback. She methodically penetrated the Korean defence with her deadly attacks to help Lienviet Postbank take the following two sets 26-24, 25-20.
In the tie-breaker, the visitors silenced the home crowds with their amazing speed and excellent teamwork to take the lead with a wide margin 9-1. Lienviet Postbank gradually clawed their ways back, but their challenged was shortlived when the Koreans continued their remarkable winning streak to eventually win the comfortable set 15-8, the grueling hard-fought five-set thriller and a semifinal berth.
"This is just a game and we would like to maintain a close relationship among the two countries, DPR Korea and Vietnam. In my team, there are six DPR Korea national players. We played well and I'm very happy with our win over hosts Vietnam," said Bo Tong Gang's head coach Kang Ok Sun.
To no one’s surprise, star spiker Jong Jin Sim topscored Bo Tong Gang and the highest daily scores in the tournament with 43 points including 41 kills. Do Thi Minh led Lienviet Postbank with 26 points.
The four winning teams – unbeaten Guangdong Evergrande, Zhetyssu, Bo Tong Gang and PFU Blue Cats – made the cut for the semi-finals on Saturday, while the losers – Idea Khonkaen, Taipei, Giti Pasand and hosts Lienviet Postbank – were relegated to the 5th-8thclassification round.
May 4, 2013
5th-8th classification round
Giti Pasand (Iran) v Taipei (Chinese Taipei)
Idea Khonkaen (Thailand) v Lienviet Postbank (Vietnam)
Guangdong Evergrande (China) v Bo Tong Gang (DPR Korea)
Zhetyssu (Kazakhstan) v PFU Blue Cats (Japan)