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Kazakhstan, Chinese Taipei, China and Korea register first wins at AVC Cup for Women

No. 10 Zhang Xiaoya of China flies high to spike against the block of Vietnam
 Shenzhen, China, September 6, 2014 –The 4th AVC Cup for Women kicked off at Shenzhen Universiade Center Indoor Stadium on Saturday with Kazakhstan, Chinese Taipei, China and Korea registering their first wins respectively against Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and Iran. 

Kazakhstan 3-0 Japan
In the curtain-raiser, Kazakhstan, with all their first-string players in form, brushed off the younger and shorter Japanese players in hard-fought three sets: 25-23, 25-23, 25-18. Due to a conflict with the World Championship, Japan had to send their National B team to the AVC Cup, but they did give the taller and stronger Kazakhs with their diverse attacks and dogged defence. Japan’s Haruyo Shimamura bagged the most points (15) while Anarkulova Sana of Kazakhstan contributed 12 for her team. Kazakhstan took a big advantage at the net and scored 17 points from blocking compared to a mere three for Japan, which decided the final result.

Chinese Taipei 3-2 Thailand
Chinese Taipei took a small advantage at the first technical timeout (8-7), after which the score kept increasing alternately until 13-13 when Chinese Taipei took three points in a row attacking from the left. Thanks to the outstanding play of No. 11 Chen Wan-Ting, Chinese Taipei maintained the gap and finished the first set 25-21 ahead.

The second set saw more intensity from both sides and Thailand were one point ahead at the first TTO thanks to an error. Chinese Taipei replied with their impenetrable blocks and came back to lead 12-8. Nevertheless, Thailand calmed down and fought back based on their exquisite defence. The score was tied at 15-15 and then 20-20. At this crucial moment, Chinese Taipei showed their experience compared to the B team of Thailand. From a powerful attack from the left and a mistake by Thailand, they grasped the initiative again at 22-20 and captured the second set 25-23.

Thailand renewed themselves in the third set and rushed to the first technical timeout 8-2 ahead with good attacks and blocks. They kept their momentum to 13-6 before Chinese Taipei fought back to within four points. Thereafter, Thailand pulled away and took the set 25-15 with good blocks and right side counterattacks.

Chinese Taipei started the fourth set with some destructive serves and took a 5-2 lead. But Thailand replied quickly with unstoppable attacks and led Chinese Taipei 8-7 at the first technical timeout. Chinese Taipei met difficulties in organizing their attacks due to unstable receiving while Thailand scored continuously from blocks and spikes and secured the fourth set 25-17, bringing the match to a fifth set.

Thailand maintained their momentum and led 3-1 in the beginning of the fifth set. In return, Chinese Taipei strengthened their defence against Thailand’s right and it worked out as they reversed the score to their favour 7-6. At 13-13, Chinese Taipei again showed their better ability in scoring key points and finished the set at 15-13 benefiting from the counterattacks on the left.

The best scorer went to No. 18 Kongyot of Thailand, who bagged 27 points from 70 attempts, while on the other side, No. 11 Chen Wan-Ting contributed 26 points for Team Chinese Taipei.

“We played well in the first two sets, but we were not able to keep our concentration in the third and fourth sets,” said Huang Chin-Nan, head coach of Chinese Taipei. “Both sides are quite close so it was difficult for us to catch up when falling far behind. We strengthened our blocking in the fifth set and finally we scored the crucial points.” 

China 3-0 Vietnam
Hosts China proved themselves too strong for Vietnam even if without their best lineup due to the World Championship. With an obvious superiority in attacking (48 points from spiking compared to 30 points for Vietnam), China dominated the whole match, winning 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-12).

Powerful spiker No. 8 Zhang Changning, who was a beach volleyball player two years ago, has quickly gotten used to indoor volleyball. She harvested 18 points from spikes and two more from blocks and was the best scorer. On the other side, No. 3 Tran Thi Thanh Thuy pocketed 13 points for Vietnam.

“We have some new and young players in our team, so we have some problems in the combination,” commented Ding Xia, captain of China at the post-match press conference.

“China is taller and stronger. Our team was just formed one month ago with many new players. We did not have enough time for training. We will improve ourselves step by step in the future,” said Nguyen Thi Xuan, captain of Vietnam.

Korea 3-0 Iran
The last match on the opening day was dominated by Korea, who sent their best team to this tournament as they did not enter the World Championship this year.

Although star player Kim Yeon-koung was kept on the bench by the head coach, No. 13 Park Jeongan stood out and led the team to an easy straight-sets win (25-11, 25-11, 25-13) as she scored 20 points, topping the whole team. Iran’s best scorer, No. 10 Borhani Esfahani, only sneaked six points facing the bulletproof defence of Korea.

Asia’s top eight teams are pitted against one another in the AVC Cup for Women, which is also a Qualification Tournament for the FIVB World Grand Prix 2015 and a warm-up for the Asian Games.

The round-robin preliminaries see China, Vietnam, Korea and Iran competing in Pool A, while Pool B features Thailand, Kazakhstan, Japan and Chinese Taipei.

Match schedule and Result (Local Time)

September 6 

12:00 Japan - Kazakhstan 0-3 (23-25, 23-25, 18-25)

14:00 Chinese Taipei - Thailand 3-2 (25-21, 25-23, 15-25, 17-25, 15-13)

16:00 China - Vietnam 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-12)

19:30 Korea - Iran 3-0 (25-11, 25-11, 25-13)


September 7

12:00 Chinese Taipei - Japan

14:00 China - Iran

16:00 Thailand - Kazakhstan 

19:30 Vietnam – Korea


September 8

12:00 Kazakhstan - Chinese Taipei 

14:00 Japan - Thailand

16:00 Iran - Vietnam

19:30 China - Korea


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