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Vietnam capture fourth VTV Cup title with 3-1 win over Thailand

A happy Vietnam team pose in a group photo after the final match against Thailand
Bac Ninh, Vietnam, May 24, 2014 - Hosts Vietnam stamped their authority at the 2014 VTV Cup International Women's Volleyball Tournament with a hard-fought victory over favourites Thailand 3-1 (25, 23, 27-29, 27-25, 27-25) in the final match in Bac Ninh Gymnasium on Saturday.

The Vietnamese side avenged their straight-set preliminary round loss to Thailand, which delighted more than 5,000 home fans. Vietnam showed an exceptional performance that stunned their Southeast Asian rivals that led them to capture the crown in the annual competition.

Vietnam have won three VTV Cup titles competition prior to this victory - in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Last year, Vietnam had to be content with the second place finish following a bitter loss to China’s Jiangsu in the final clash. 

Thailand fielded a full-fledged squad in the match which included scoring machine Ajcharaporn Kongyot, middle blocker Thatdao Nuekjang, and setter Pornpun Guedpard. The Thai prime movers were strong throughout the match and combined well with hard-hitting spikers Jutharat Muntripila, Wanida Kortruang and Kannika Thipachot. 

Meanwhile, Vietnam were spearheaded by experienced Do Thi Minh, Bui Thai Nga, and last year's Most Valuable Player, Nguyen Thi Hoc Hoa. 

Thailand, got off to a great start with their excellent teamwork to lead 16-13 onto the second technical timeout. But the Vietnamese fans cheered on their team that helped the team to make a comeback. Vietnam unleashed thundering spikes from Nguyen Thi Hoc Hoa and put on scintillating blocks to tie the score 23-all. Vietnam closed the first set 25-23 after Thailand's Ajcharaporn failed to convert on her two spikes.

Thailand changed several players in the second set in an effort to improve their game. Setter Soraya Promla replaced Guedpard, while Jutharat and Kannika were fielded to strengthen the Thai offense. The Thai team started off slowly, allowing Vietnam to gain a 4-0 lead. Thailand regained composure and tied the set at 6-all. 

The Thai players rolled on their rhythm to fire aggressive attacks and gained set point 24-21, but Vietnam struck back to force deuce at 25-all and 27-all. Ajcharaporn finally saved the set to their favour on two well-placed serves 29-27.

Both sides gave an all-out performance on the third and fourth sets, putting on great rallies and lead changes. Vietnam fared better in the final assault on both sets to score the remaining two points in the heart-pounding extended sets with 27-25 set scores.

Earlier, DPR Korea proved much stronger than Kazakhstan and beat their rivals in straight sets (25-19, 25-17, 25-14) for third place.

Overall Standings

1. Vietnam
2. Thailand
3. DPR Korea
4. Kazakhstan
5. China (Yunnan)
6. Australia 

Individual Awards

Best Server: Jong Jin Sim (No. 3 DPR Korea)
Best Setter: Min Ok Ju (No. 6 DPR Korea)
Best Digger: Tikamporn Changkeaw (No. 13 Thailand)
Best Spiker: Ajcharaporn Kongyot (No. 18 Thailand)
Best Blocker: Bui Thi Nga (No. 16 Vietnam)
Best Libero: Nguyen Thi Kim Lien (No. 6 Vietnam)
MVP: Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hoa (No.9 Vietnam)


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