Kazakhstan upset Host Thailand on first day of Asian Women’s Championship
Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, September 13, 2013 - Title-holders China, world No. 3 Japan, Korea and Australia captured their first victories while hosts Thailand fell victim to Kazakhstan on the opening day of the 17th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship at Chatchai Hall on Friday.
Kazakhstan beat Thailand 3-1
Kazakhstan, FIVB world No. 28 who finished 17th at the recent FIVB World Grand Prix, fielded a well-established line-up led by tall, powerful attacker Tatyana Mudritskaya, while Thailand remained in their strong roster powered by hard-hitting Onuma Sittirak, Pleumjit Thinkaow and Wilavan Apinyapong.
Kazakhstan, whose height average is 183cm against the Thais’ 175cm, got off to a great start to take an initial 15-12 lead in the opening set, thanks to exceptional attacks from the 195cm Mudritskaya and Sana Jarlagassova. The formidable visitors continued their onslaughts with spectacular spikes from Mudritskaya and scintillating blocks from Korinna Ishimtseva and Olga Nassedkina to stretch the lead to 21-16.
The cheering home supporters came to life when their players showed guts and spirit to catch up with Kazakhstan 23-23 and moved ahead 24-23, needing only one more point to win the set. However, they just let the win slip through their fingers. Kazakhstan hit back strongly to win straight three points for the first-set win 26-24.
Conceding one set, Thailand opened up aggressively in the second set to lead 13-8. However, the Thai nerves began to fray shortly after that, allowing the visitors attacking opportunities. Kazakhstan clawed their ways back to tie the score 13-13 and moved ahead 22-24. Malika Kanthong was just in terrific form to spike devastatingly to help Thailand close the margin 24-24. Kazakhstan fared better at the final assault to win the hard-fought set 26-24.
After going down two sets, Thailand played with nothing to lose in the third set. They captured the pole position to lead 5-1 and widened it to 16-10, courtesy of their excellent teamwork. From then, the Thais never looked back. They went on their convincing streak to win the set 25-17.
The fourth set was more exciting as Thailand, cheered by the drum-beating, shouting fans packing the venue, tried to maintain their superb form as they did in the third set. However, things turned sour for the home side when Mudritskaya put on her terrific form to penetrate the Thai defence with her devastating cross-court spikes. Kazakhstan took the set 25-20 and the match.
The Friday’s win ended their victory drought over Thailand for around six years. Kazakhstan had beaten Thailand for the last time in the 2006 Asian Games in Qatar.
Tatyana Mudritskaya led Kazakhstan with 26 points including 22 deadly attacks, while Onuma Sittirak scored a match-high 25 points for Thailand.
“We are not successful in attacking for points. Kazakhstan had the height advantage and they had a big change in their team rosters. They fielded several strong players we have never seen their forms, especially No.1 (Tatyana Mudriskaya). More importantly, our blocking against high attacks did not work well in this match, while the reception also did not live up to my expectation. I think my players made too many unforced mistakes which resulted in our loss,” said Thailand’s head coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai.
Kazakhstan’s head coach Gutor Oleksandr said: “It’s very hard for us to play Thailand. However, we played well against them. ThisKazakhstan team have been playing together for around 10 years. Tatyana Mudriskaya has played with the team for long times, but she was absent from the team for some times due to her pregnancy. She did a good job today. However, despite the win, I don’t want to talk about our target in this tournament. I hope my team will perform well in next matches and I will think about it one at a time.”
Australia fought hard to beat debutantes Mongolia in tough battle
Australia, powered by experienced Rachel Rourke, put it past fighting Mongolia in hard-fought three sets 25-20, 25-23, 25-18 in their Pool A clash.
Mongolia, making their debut effort in the Asian meet, showed their impressive skill, with Purevjav Buyanjargal attacking fiercely at the net. However, Australia, current world No.103, fared better offensively, thanks to Rourke’s exceptional spikes. Mongolia tried hard to prove their form against the stronger Aussies, but their attempts were to no avail. Australia won the encounter in straight sets. Rachel Rourke scored a match-high 26 points for Australia, while Purevjav Buyanjargal topscored Mongolia with 12 points.
“This is our first appearance in the Asian Championship, which participating teams always sent their best players. I think it’s very difficult for us to play well in our first match. Also, Australia played much better than us. We trained only one and a half month in preparation for this tournament. We just want to sharpen our skill against top teams from Asia,” said Jung Yong Ha, head coach of Mongolia, in a short interview after the match.
Indomitable China powered past Iran in thrilling encounter
In their first match against Iran, defending 12-time champions China rested their best players including captain Hui Ruoqi, Zhu Ting and Xu Yunli and instead fielded second-string players including Zhang Lei, Ma Yunwen and Shen Jingsi, with highly-skilled Wang Yimei emerging as the backbone of the starting line-up.
With the greater experience, China, world No.5 and silver medalists at the recent World Grand Prix, used their particular power-and-speed tactics in packing off unfancied Iran in the comfortable opener 25-11.
In the second set, Iran put their acts together to perform superbly in matching the Chinese brilliance. Heavy attacker Maedeh Borhaniesfahan punctured the oppositions’ defence with her exceptional spikes. However, the Chinese proved their class to put the Iranian attacks to the limit with their mighty challenge. China took the set 25-16.
The third set saw determined Iran gather their courage to chase for points, making the Chinese flat-footed for several times. However,China held their nerves and stormed back with powerful attacks and impenetrable defence for the hard-fought 25-17 win in the set and the match.
Ma Yunwen topscored with 15 points for China, while Mina Roosta led Iran with five points including two from well-placed serves.
Independent Team from India cruised past the Philippines
Independent Team from India and the Philippines set up a thrilling clash in their opening Pool B match on Friday as the former had more individual talents to outplay the latter in thrilling three sets 25-22, 26-24, 25-12.
Powerful Mini Mol Abraham and Anusri Ghosh opened up their fierce attacks to help Independent Team from India take the close first two sets 25-22 and 26-24.
The third set turned out to be an easy job of the Independent Team from India. As the Philippines became more prone with unforced attacking mistakes, Independent Team from India played confidently with scintillating blocks by Anusri Ghosh and Soumya Vengadan to win the set 25-12 and the match.
Anusri Ghosh scored a match-high 14 points consisting of eight attacks and six blocks for Independent Team from India, while Aiza Pontillas led the Philippines with eight points.
Japan had a field day in their match against Vietnam
Formidable Japan, current world No.3 which finished fourth place in the recent FIVB World Grand Prix, captured their first win in the 17th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship following their comfortable straight-set 25-6, 25-13, 25-16 victory over Vietnam.
Japan, fresh from topping Pool A in the 2014 FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship Qualification Asian Zone Final Round on home soil in Komaki last week, mixed a splendid offensive combination from Saori Kimuri and Risa Shinnabe with their spectacular attacks and stuff blockings by Haruka Miyashita and Kanako Hirai to win the lop-sided battle.
Risa Shinnabe emerged as the top scorer of Japan with 12 points, 10 of them from deadly hits. Vietnam scored a majority 11 points for Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hoa.
After the match, Japan’s head coach Manabe Masayashi expressed his satisfaction over his team’s sensation win.
“I’m glad that my team won our first match. We used all 12 players in this match. It was good for us to use old players. We beat Vietnambefore in the last week’s World Championship Qualification. We keep playing for several weeks from the World Grand Prix, World Championship Qualification and then Asian Championship. We keep playing and that’s why we have to use all 12 players.
“However, all players are a little bit tired. We try to use all members little by little and set by set we change players a lot. Of course, we want to win this tournament, but all of my players are tired because we keep playing so many matches. So, we don’t want to get any injury for my players and we want to keep winning,” Manabe added.
Indonesia narrowly beat Hong Kong in hard-fought three-set thriller
Indonesia are making the 17th Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship a tune-up match ahead of their South East Asian Games campaign in coming December. In their first tussle against Hong Kong, the world No.107 made an impressive start. Amalia Fajrina Nabila became a smashing machine for the Indonesian side as she exploded sharp attacks from all angles.
However, Hong Kong made use of their excellent blockings from Mei Yeung Sau and Mei Lam, allowing the rivals difficult scoring opportunities.
Indonesia proved a cut above the battling Hong Kong to win the first two sets with the similar margin 25-21. Hong Kong did not give up easily to storm back with powerful attacks in the third set. However, despite the determined attempts, Hong Kong lost their touch in the final assault to go down fighting 23-25 in the set for the Indonesia’s convincing three-set victory.
As expected, Amalia Fajrina Nabila scored the highest 23 points including 20 attack hits from 50 attempts for Indonesia. Mei Yeung Sau ledHong Kong with 15 points. She led in spiking and blocking skills with 10 points from devastating attacks and the remaining from blockings.
Korea thrashed Myanmar in straight sets
Star spiker Kim Yeon-koung spearheaded current world No.10 Korea in thrashing Myanmar in a completely lop-sided battle 25-7, 25-11, 25-12. Myanmar fielded the 196cm San San Htay in the opening set with an aim of seeing the tournament’s tallest player effectively block the Korean attacks.
However, San San Htay failed in her determined effort of helping the team. The Koreans wrapped up the first set without any trouble 25-7.
Myanmar rested San San Htay in the second set and replaced her with Thi Thi Aung. However, the Myanmar’s efforts did not work out pretty well. The Koreans remained in exceptional form to win the set 25-11. The third set was still dominated by South Korea, which won easily 25-12 for the eventual three-set victory.
Kim Yeon-Koung led South Korea with 17 points, while Aye Nandar Kyaw scored five points for Myanmar.
In-form Chinese Taipei gunned down Sri Lanka in easy encounter
Fielding a well-organised roster led by devastating southpaw Chen Wan-Ting, Chinese Taipei proved an impossible nut to crack for Sri Lankaas the world No.30 tamed the less-skilled rivals in a lop-sided clash 25-6, 25-6, 25-13 in their opening Pool D match on Friday.
Chinese Taipei fielded the similar team players who last week tested their mettle in the 2014 FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship Qualification Asian Zone Final Round Pool A in Komaki, Japan.
Excelling in defence, Chinese Taipei took the first two sets with ease 25-6 25-6. Sri Lanka tried to make a comeback in the third set but they still failed to make their mark to go down tamely 13-25 for the eventual straight-set let-down to the much stronger Chinese Taipei.
Captain Chen Wan-Ting scored 16 points for Chinese Taipei comprising 11 points from attack hits and five from terrific jump serves. E.D.W. Madumali led Sri Lanka with five points, all of them from deadly spikes.
Pool A: Kazakhstan b Thailand 3-1 (26-24 26-24 17-25 25-20); Australia b Mongolia 3-0 (25-20 25-23 25-18)
Pool B: China b Iran 3-0 (25-11 25-16 25-17), Independent Team from India b the Philippines 3-0 (25-22 26-24 25-12)
Pool C: Japan b Vietnam 3-0 (25-6 25-13 25-16); Indonesia b Hong Kong 3-0 (25-21 25-21 25-23)
Pool D: South Korea b Myanmar 3-0 (25-7 25-11 25-12); Chinese Taipei) b Sri Lanka 3-0 (25-6 25-6 25-13)
At MCC Hall
11am: Myanmar v Chinese Taipei
2pm: South Korea v Sri Lanka
4pm: Iran v the Philippines
6pm: Hong Kong v Vietnam
At Chatchai Hall
11am: Kazakhstan v Mongolia
2pm: Thailand v Australia
4.30pm: Indonesia v Japan
7pm: China v Independent Team from India