Six teams stay unbeaten in Asian Junior Women’s Championship
At Nakhon Pathom Gymnasium
China, the FIVB world No.1 and nine-time champions, captured their second win in the 16-team tournament after thrashing Vietnam in straight sets (25-12, 25-12, 25-7).
The Chinese fielded a strong line-up against Vietnam, which included the 193cm-tall Xu Ruayo, Wang Fengjiao and Tang Ningya.
China got off to a promising start, with Wang Fengjiao and Li Weiwei producing sharp spikes to race to a commanding 17-8 lead. The attacking rhythm remained with China and Xu Ruayo gave her team the crucial set point with a powerful cross-court spike. Things turned sour briefly for China when Li Weiwei’s serve went wide, allowing Vietnam another chance for survival. However, China did not blow their chance. Zheng Yixin hit a lightning fast spike to end the lower-ranked rivals’ challenge in the set. China took the opener 25-12.
Their confidence boosted after the first-set win, China rode the excellent offensive combination of deadly spikes from Wang Fengjiao and Xu Ruayo and solid blocking by Li Weiwei and Tang Ningya to build a 16-6 lead. Vietnam regrouped and hit back bravely, with Ha Ngoc Diem unleashing a series of spectacular spikes to help her team win three straight points and narrow the margin to 9-16.
From then on Vietnam put on a good show, hoping to gain more points. But China were just too strong, allowing them only three more points to wrap up the set 25-12.
Holding a 2-0 advantage, the Chinese were so confident of winning three straight sets that they rested their best players and instead fielded substitutions including Wang Ning, Chen Jiao, Zhu Ting and Yang Fangxu. They did not let coach Xu Jiande down, giving superb performances as they captured the one-sided set 25-7 and won the match.
Wang Fenbgjiao led China with 11 points, while Ha Ngoc Diem scored six points for Vietnam.
After a straight-set victory over Vietnam in the previous match, India remained in good form against Mongolia.
With Athira Chalingal Chand and Nishya Joseph puncturing the Mongolian defence to shreds with their devastating spikes, India took the first set without much trouble, 25-7.
Mongolia came back stronger in the second set when Davaajamts Erdenebulgan connected with Ganbold Enkhnaran to attack aggressively at the net. Both sides fought hard and it turned into a see-saw battle with both teams exchanging leads several times.
In the end, Mongolia sealed the hard-fought set 26-24. Going down one set, India stormed back with powerful spikes from Sukhee Purevjargal. Their teamwork improved dramatically and India clinched the third set 25-5.
Both sides poured everything they had in the fourth set, but India held on to their aggressive form to win the set 25-21 and take the match.
Athira Chalingal Chand top scored for India with 16 points, while Davaajamts Erdenebulgan bagged 14 points for Mongolia.
Devastating Japan, the FIVB world No.7 and five-time champions, proved a class above the debutant Turkmenis. The well-established Japanese players covered the court marvellously, with explosive Sakura Doi and Misaki Yamauchi tearing the Turkmenis’ defence into pieces with their relentless fierce attacks.
After effortlessly winning the first two sets 25-2 and 25-2, Japan fielded several substitutions including Nami Sagawa, Nanase Akahoshi and Kaori Ueno.
Though fighting bravely, Turkmenistan still proved no match against the much stronger Japan and the Japanese team took the third set 25-12.
Misaki Yamauchi led Japan with 14 points, while Jeren Jumayeva scored four points for Turkmenistan – Medine Achilova and Aziza Narbayeva scored one point apiece, and the remaining points came from Japan’s unforced spiking errors.
Chinese Taipei is proving to be a team to be reckoned with in this championship, despite an average height for players such as Lee Yu, Lee Tzu-Ya and Wu Wei-Hua of only 172cm.
After winning the first two sets without difficulty, 25-10 and 25-13, Chinese Taipei dropped some of their impressive form in the third set. Australia stormed back with mighty attacks from Jessyka Ngauamo and Georgia Davey. The Aussies used their height advantage to spike devastatingly and block effectively, bagging the close third set 25-20.
Chinese Taipei gained the upper hand in the fourth set, building a 17-11 lead. They played up to their standard offensively and defensively, and took the set 25-15.
Lee Tzu-Ya top scored for Chinese Taipei with 13 points, while Jessyka Ngauamo emerged as the top scorer for Australia with 12 points.
At Ratchaburi Gymnasium
The host Thai team, cheered on by a large crowd of drum-beating, screaming home spectators, lived up to their coaches’ expectations; using simple tactics to beat New Zealand in straight sets.
Thailand, the FIVB world No.17 and fourth place at the previous edition in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, two years ago, took the first two sets 25-16 and 25-19.
The host side then took total control in the third set, allowing the Kiwis only five points in a one-sided 25-5 closing battle.
Ajcharaporn Kongyot, who joined the national team to win the recent maiden AVC Cup in Kazakhstan, top scored for Thailand with 17 points, while Armelia Hunter bagged 10 points for New Zealand.
Iran, who went down to hosts Thailand in straight sets in their opening clash, came back much stronger in their vital match against Kuwait.
Iran played well up to their level, with Neda Chamlanian and Fatemeh Hassani Sadi overcoming the smaller Kuwaiti blockers with their fierce attacks and winning the first two sets 25-4 and 25-6.
Kuwait, fielding players all less than 170cm in height, tried to recover but went down 1-25 in the third set.
Neda Chamlanian top scored for Iran with 15 points, while Lina Najem and Arrar Lenzi gave Kuwait one point apiece.
Kazakhstan used their height advantage to full effect against Sri Lanka as they earned a comfortable 25-11 win in their first set.
Sri Lanka regrouped and bounced back strongly with powerful spikes from Wasana Perera Thilini. Kazakhstan stepped up their game, though, and recovered fast to win the second set 25-19.
The third set became more thrilling as both sides gave their best. Sri Lanka did better in the final assault and won the hotly-contested set 28-26.
Fatigue started to take its toll in the Sri Lankans in the fourth set, which saw them come up with a number of unforced spiking mistakes. Kazakhstan grabbed the golden opportunity to attack relentlessly, took the set 25-17 and ended the dramatic match.
Lrina Chumak scored nine points, the most for Kazakhstan, while Wasana Perera Thilini led Sri Lanka with 10 points.
After an easy match against Sri Lanka in their opener, Korea faced a daunting task in their second encounter against Hong Kong.
After winning the first two sets 25-12 and 25-14, Korea rested their best players and instead fielded substitutions to give them a chance to gain experience and exposure.
Hong Kong, spearheaded by hard-hitting Law Ho Fung Thyllis, gradually pulled their game together to stun the Koreans in the close third set 25-23.
Relying on their substitutions, Korea made amends for the loss by coming on at full steam. With Shin Yeon-gyeong and Lee Jae-yeong attacking fiercely and Kim Ye-Ji and Lee Da-yeong producing solid blocking, Korea captured the set 25-17 and won the match.
Lee Jae-yeong scored 13 points, the highest for Korea, while Koo Yung Yung led Hong Kong with 12 points.
In Nakhon Pathom
Pool B: India v Mongolia 3-1 (25-7, 24-26, 25-5, 25-21); China v Vietnam 3-0 (25-12, 25-12, 25-7)
Pool D: Chinese Taipei v Australia 3-1 (25-10, 25-13, 20-25, 25-15); Japan V Turkmenistan 3-0 (25-2, 25-2, 25-12)
Pool A: Thailand v New Zealand 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-5); Iran v Kuwait 3-0 (25-4, 25-6, 25-1)
Pool C: Kazakhstan v Sri Lanka 3-1 (25-11, 25-19, 26-28, 25-17); Korea v Hong Kong 3-1 (25-12, 25-14, 23-25, 25-17)
On October 3
In Nakhon Pathom
12.00pm: Australia v Turkmenistan
2pm: China v India
4pm: Vietnam v Mongolia
6pm: Japan v Chinese Taipei
12.00pm: Hong Kong v Sri Lanka
2pm: Korea v Kazakhstan
4pm: New Zealand v Iran
6pm: Thailand v Kuwait