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Favourites show strength and power in Asian Women’s Club Championship

Double block by Vietnam’s Lienviet Postbank stop a spike from Thailand’s Idea Khonkaen

Dac Lac, Vietnam, April 29, 2013 – Legendary coach Lang Ping’s mighty Guangdong Evergrande from China pulled off a scintillating straight-sets (25-5, 25-14, 25-17) win over Iran’s Giti Pasand in a comfortable one-sided battle, as the 14th Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship started in grand style on Monday at the Buon Ma Thuot Gymnasium.

In other matches on day one, Zhetyssu (Kazakhstan) beat Taipei (Chinese Taipei) 3-1 (25-13, 25-18, 17-25, 25-23), Viet Postbank (Vietnam) edged Idea Khonkaen (Thailand) 3-2 (25-16, 20-25, 28-30, 25-23, 17-15) and PFU Blue Cats (Japan) defeated Bo Tong Gang (DPR Korea) 3-0 (25-16, 25-13, 25-17)

Guangdong Evergrande, who finished second to Tianjin Bridgestone in this season‘s Chinese Volleyball League, had three imported star spikers consisting of Poland’s Katarzyna Ewa Skowronska Dolata, Italian Carolina Del Pilar and American Kimberly Glass.

Strengthened by Skowronsaka and Del Pilar and with the excellent combination of ace spiker Zhou Yuan and highly-skilled libero Zhang Xian, the Chinese club needed only 58 minutes to beat Giti Pasand.

Zhou Yuan emerged as the top scorer of Guangdong Evergrande with 17 points including 16 kills, while Maedeh Borhani led Giti Pasand with nine points.

In a short interview after the match, Lang Ping said, “I think we played well in the opening set. The Iranians improved their form in the third set. I’m satisfied with my team’s first win, but also praised the Iranians’ good performance although we have never played them before. As far as I see them play, the Iranians were wonderful in the third set.

“In my team, there are only two Chinese national players, libero Zhang Xian and Xu Yunli (195cm), while Chu Jinling completed her campaign and did not join the national team anymore.  In this tournament, I have yet set any target since it’s just the beginning and we have yet seen the other teams’ performances. We have to play and win one at a time。

“My team finished second in the Chinese League but replaced Tianjin Bridgestone in coming here for the Asian Women’s Club Championship because we had a deal. Last year, my team were the league champions, but they came. This time, they won and we came instead. Next year, Tianjin Bridgestone is expected to come again. After this tournament, I will become the coach of the Chinese women’s national team,” she added.

Zhetyssu (Kazakhstan) beat Taipei (Chinese Taipei) 3-1 (25-13 25-18 17-25 25-23)

Against Taipei, the tall Zhetyssu, whose height average is 184cm, fielded all Kazakhstan national team players who have been training intensively together in preparation for several major competitions this year including the FIVB World Grand Prix, the Asian Senior Women’s Championship and the 2014 FIVB World Championship Qualification Asian Zone.

Powered by Yelena Pavlova, who captained Kazakhstan’s Rahat CSKA to be crowned the champions at the 2007 Asian Women’s Club Championship with her individual awards, Most Valuable Player and Best Spiker, Zhetyssu took the height advantage to attack Taipei efficiently.

Going down in the first two sets 25-13, 25-18 Taipei upped their tempo. Devastating southpaw Chen Wan-Ting attacked well from behind, causing the taller rivals blocking difficulties. Taipei took the third set 25-17.

With one set win, Taipei played more confidently in the fourth set. As the Kazakhs’ offence might be better, the Taipei’s defence was also very superb, making the set much more difficult. However, with the greater experience, the height advantage and the better form, Zhetyssu captured the hotly-contested fourth set 25-23 and the match.

Zhetyssu scored the highest 11 points from Yelena Pavlova, while Chen Wan-Ting topscored 21 points for Taipei. 

Lienviet Postbank (Vietnam) b Idea Khonkaen (Thailand) 3-2 (25-16 20-25 28-30 25-23 17-15)

Home-crowd advantage helped hosts Vietnam’s Lienviet Postbank get off to a winning start following a solid 3-2 victory in the hard-fought, five-set thriller against the Thailand League champions Idea Khonkaen.

Making a superb start in the first set which they bagged a sensational 25-16 win over the Thai team in their opening Pool A clash, Lienviet Postbank lost their touch in the next two sets when Idea Khonkaen’s star attackers Em-Orn Phanusit and Tapaphaipun Chaisri combined well to blunt the Vietnamese blocks with their exceptional spikes. The Thai squad took the following two sets 25-20, 30-28.

However, the fourth set saw the Vietnamese come up with more determination and guts in front of their noisy drum-beating, shouting fans. Both sides exchanged attacking and blocking from the start to finish. Pham Thi Yen became the hosts’ smashing machine jumping high to produce devastating cross-court spikes which, to the visitors’ surprise, always went with no reply.

After a thrilling long rally in some vital moments which saw the host side match the Thai counterparts tactically and technically for a 23-23 tie, Lienviet Postbank, boosted by the home crowd supports, stormed on to win two straight points for the 25-23 win in the fourth set.

In the do-or-die tie-breaker, Idea Khonkaen struggled hard as the host side were never-say-die. Leading 14-13, the Thai team needed only one more point to win the match, but they just let the win slip through hands when the hosts counter-attacked well to close the margin 14-14.

A fierce spike from pint-sized but agile Tapaphaipun Chaisri went wide, putting the Vietnamese side in front 15-14. Tapaphaipun made amends for the mistakes she made. She came from behind to attack the Vietnamese blockers with a powerful hit, forcing both teams to play deuce. Lienviet Postbank played with more consistency to capture straight two points, the hard-fought set and the gruelling 115-minute clash.

Pham Thi Yen emerged as the Lienviet Postbank’s top scorer with 19 points, while Em-Orn Phanusit collected 22 points including 21 kills for Idea Khonkaen.

After the match, Idea Khonkaen’s coach Banjong Sombat commented, “This is our first match in the tournament and we played nervously. What my players have done in the match is quite satisfactory, anyway. Truly, it was a game of “catch me if you can”. Unfortunately, we happened to play with the host side in our opener. We lost because we could not score points through our attack game. We came up with more pole spikes than fast attacks. If not, we should stand a chance to win this match.

“I think my team played well in the second and third sets, but hopes were dashed out in the fourth due to the inconsistency of my team, especially libero Tikamporn Changkeaw. She dropped from her best.

“Against Chinese Taipei in the following match, we have to improve our tactics. It must be a close match and it’s not easy to beat them. Although we still have chances of beating them, we have to play more carefully with improved tactics and form,” he added.

PFU Blue Cats (Japan) b Bo Tong Gang (DPR Korea) 3-0 (25-16 25-13 25-17)

The last match of the day which took place late at 10.20pm on Monday saw PFU Blue Cats of Japan field a well-established roster which included Chika Mochida, Megumi Funasaki and Eri Iyonaga. Bo Tong Gang also had several experienced players including Jong Jin Sim, who was instrumental in lifting the DPR Korea’s stunning victory over Thailand in the quarter-finals of the 2010 Asian Games volleyball competition in Guangzhou, China.

Blue Cats got off to a flying start with Mao Kawakami becoming a nightmare for Bo Tong Gang as she unleashed a series of explosive attacks to win crucial points for the Japanese side. Blue Cats took the first two sets with no difficulty 25-16 25-13.

Powered by Colombian Yuranny Romana Perea, Blue Cats  continued their domination in the third set. Bo Tong Gang regrouped to hit back bravely, but the Japanese side were in top form. They attacked well to foil all the Korean attempts.  After relentless attacking, PFU Blue Cats captured the set 25-17 and the encounter.

Mao Kawakami scored the highest 21 points including 17 kills for PFU Blue Cats, with Jong Jin Sim collecting 16 points for Bo Tong Gang. 

At the end of the first day of the 14th Asian Women’s Club Volleyball Championship at the Buon Ma Thuot Gymnasium in Dac Lac City here,Kazakhstan’s Zhetyssu went to the top of Pool A with three points, followed respectively by Vietnam’s Lienviet Postbank and Thailand’s Idea Khonkaen with 2 and 1 points. Taipei of Chinese Taipei collected no point to come in fourth place.

China’s Guangdong Evergrande led Pool B with three points, the similar result as Japan’s PFU Blue Cats, but with a better points ratio. Blue Cats finished second, while DPR Korea’s Bo Tong Gang and Iran’s Giti Pasand came in third and fourth places with no point.


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