China and Japan to meet in 17th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship final
China 3-1 Korea
China took on Korea again in the semifinals to win 3-1 (22-25, 30-28, 25-18, 25-19).
China started the game well with two points from a strong spike and a successful block. Korea, however, were unfazed by China's height advantage and made up for their height with their determined spirit and brilliant teamwork. They took China by suprise to lead at the first technical timeout 8-7. China called a timeout when they were behind at 8-10, hoping to reverse the situation. But Korea held on to their small lead, despite China reducing it to just one point at 12-13. With destructive spikes from captain No. 12 Lee Jaeyeong and No. 7 Ha Jyejin, Korea took their biggest lead at 20-16, forcing China to call another timeout. The timeout had an effect for a while, as China came back to 18-20. Korea, however, also took a timeout before moving to a set point at 24-19, following 2 receiving errors committed by China. China, however, were reluctant to give up the set and sneaked another three points before Korea were able to claim the set with Lee Jaeyeong's spike.
China regrouped in the second set and challenged Korea for every rally. The game progressed with the two teams exchanging superb spikes and impeccable blocks. Korea's Jisu Pyeon hurt her leg, however, and had to be substituted. The Koreans withstood the pressure and levelled China to at 21-21. Both sides exchanged blow for blow reaching the match point. Neither, however, were able to capture the decisive set point as the deuce continued relentlessly until the 28-point mark. Finally, two consecutive errors from Korea proved fatal and China won the set 30-28. Korea's captain Lee Jaeyeong crumbled to the ground after her offensive error.
Korea's concentration started to slip in the third set. Eight points were lost, giving China a six-point lead at the first technical timeout. Korea threw their all into the set attempting to catch up with China. Unfortunately, this proved futile as China adapted to Korea's playing style and increased their defense, especially against Lee Jaeyeong, who was substituted at 22-14 . China ended the set 25-18 with an angled spike by No. 4 Lin Lin.
China maintained their momentum in the fourth set and quickly established an 8-4 lead by the first technical timeout. Unwilling to yield, the Koreans improved their blocks and receiving accuracy, chasing to 12-13. China did not allow their opponents to move one step closer, however, ensuring a 25-19 score at the end of the set.
Korea captain No. 12 Lee Jaeyeong's strong front and back row spikes earned her 23 points. Her teammate No. 10 Kang Sohwi followed with 20 points. The two players were not able to compensate for a total of 41 points lost through errors in execution.
1.84m Hu Mingyuan (No. 2) scored the most for China with 18 points, while No. 6 Du Qingqing also contributed 17 points.
“Korea played very well today. In the previous match, they did not send the best lineup and they took one set. Today, they had the confidence to challenge us. Our players had to deal with a lot of pressure as it was a must-win match for us. It was a tough test for our young girls and we were successful. ” said Xu Jiande, head coach of China.
Japan 3-0 Thailand
The second semifinal match was played between Japan and Thailand, two teams well-known for their quickness. However, the match was not as close as expected. Thailand were always half a beat slower than their opponents Japan, who won in straight sets 3-0 (25-12, 25-21, 25-17) to qualify for the final of the 17th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship.
Japan shocked Thailand with a 7-0 lead in the very beginning, with Thailand’s first point coming from a Japanese error. Japan continued their active play and grew the score difference continuously. Thailand always tried to follow Japan’s rhythm, but the Japanese produced quicker combination play and zoomed ahead to the end of the set 25-12.
Thailand at first seemed to find a solution in the second set. They were able to organise quick attacks through expert combination work. It was still quite difficult for Thailand to score each point, however, as Japan’s defense continued to be strong. Thailand were always playing the “Chaser” role as Japan widened the gap to four or five points, before shortening their advantage to just one point. Thailand never had the chance to overtake though. When the scoreboard displayed 21-22 in Japan’s favor, the Japanese froze the Thais by relying on an unbreakable defense to take the second set 25-21.
Thailand were able to contend with Japan in the beginning of the third set till 6-6. But they were trapped by their increasing errors. Japan kindly accepted their opponent’s “gifts” and returned with destructive serves and varied attacks. Thailand were no longer able to stop their decline, calling timeouts at 8-11 and 14-21. Japan finally took the set 25-17.
The whole Japan team harvested 47 points from their 95 attacks, compared with Thailand’s 20 from 95. No. 4 player Sakamoto Nanaka of Japan scored the most with 15 points, all from her attacks. Her teammates No. 1 Yanagita Muzuki and No. 8 Mabashi Kaori contributed 11 and 10 each. Thailand's best scorer was No. 14 Chutchuon Moksri, who pocketed eight points.
In the three finals for 9th-10th, 11th-12th and 13th-14th held in Taipei Gymnasium Wednesday afternoon, Australia beat Macao, China 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-16) to take 13th place; Hong Kong, China triumphed over Iran 3-0 (25-22, 25-13, 25-22) and took 11th; and New Zealand overcame Vietnam 3-1 (26-24, 20-25, 25-20, 25-12) to finish 9th.
The 17th Asian Women’s U19 Volleyball Championship will come to an end on Thursday. China and Japan, the two unbeaten teams, will play for the competition's top honours, while Thailand and Korea attempt to win the third and last Asian ticket for next year’s FIVB Women's U20 World Championship.
Match Schedule (Local time)
July 24 (Thursday) - Taipei University Gymnasium
11.00 Sri Lanka v Kazakhstan (7-8)
13.00 Chinese Taipei v India (5-6)
15.00 Korea v Thailand (3-4)
17.00 China v Japan (1-2)
19.00 Awarding & Closing Ceremony
11.Hong Kong, China