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Iran, Chinese Taipei and Japan remain unbeaten in Asian Youth Boys U18 Championship

Chinese Taipei spikes for a point
 Colombo, Sri Lanka, September 7, 2014 – Iran, Chinese Taipei and Japan beat their toughest rivals in each pool, leaving four teams unbeaten in the 10th Asian Youth Boys U18 Volleyball Championship. Sri Lanka had a rest day.

Saudi Arabia 3-1 Kazakhstan (23-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-20)
Kazakhstan took a 3-1 lead on errors by Saudi Arabia, but Saudi Arabia fought back with powerful spikes and serves to even the score at 4-4. Kazakhstan scored two points in succession, with spike and block, showing their dominance in height. Soon Saudi Arabia found the solution with their spikers No. 5 Meshari Alqurashi and No. 4 Wesam Algihani. With their spikes, Saudi Arabia led to 21-18 when Kazakhstan scored five points in a row, and the first set ended with 25-23 in Kazakhstan’s favour. 

In the second set, both teams had high-quality attacks. Saudi Arabia kept leading by a tiny advantage and finished the set at 25-21 on Kazakhstan’s error.

Saudi Arabia continued putting pressure on their opponents and breezed to a 9-0 lead in the beginning of the third set. Kazakhstan didn’t give up. With their advantage in height, they pulled to within four points at 12-16, but Saudi Arabia managed to maintain the score difference and finished the third set 25-19.

The fourth set was quite similar to the second. Both teams had good attacks but Saudi Arabia made the difference at the end of set with a 5-1 run and finished the set 25-20.

“In the first match, we were very tired after a long flight taking 26 hours, but now things are much better,” said Abdelwahed Sabeur, head coach of Saudi Arabia. “I feel my players are fresh. We played a correct match – not good, but correct. It is very important we won this match and we can start from the second match and hopefully continue in this Championship.”

Iran 3-0 India (25-19, 25-23, 25-15)
Iran played India, their toughest rival in this pool, and grabbed a 3-0 win to guarantee the top ranking. 

In the first set, the two teams scored one after the other. The first technical timeout came at 8-7, in Iran’s favour. Then Iran made a 7-2 run with their powerful jump service putting big pressure on India’s reception. India scored two points in a row with blocks and forced Iran to call their first timeout at 14-17. Iran responded with a 5-1 run and India called a timeout at 15-22. Finally, Iran finished the first set at 25-19 on a block.

India opened the second set 3-0 and forced Iran to call a timeout after being blocked. Then Iran made a 5-1 run, returning the pressure to India’s side. India followed Iran very closely but couldn’t catch up. Iran finished the set with a two-point advantage, 25-23.

The third set was easy for Iran. They started with a 4-1 run and continued widening the advantage to 17-8. India couldn’t find any way to come back and Iran won this set 25-15 on a clean spike from No. 4 Mirvavak Mousavigargari.

“We won this game, but I’m not happy,” said Vakili Farjad Reza, head coach of Iran. “We must play much better than this. We gave them too many points in the second set. Indian players are very tall, but some of them cannot move well and we benefit from it. I think our best player is our captain No. 9 Rasoul Aghchehli. He was sick, but when he came back to play, he changed the situation and helped us to win.” 

Bahrain 3-0 Qatar (25-11, 25-23, 25-13)
Bahrain took 90 minutes to finish the match against Qatar. With their advantage in jumping and combination work, they won this game easily. Although they encountered some resistance from Qatar in the second set, they let Qatar score only 47 points in total.

“I think today we played better than yesterday. We lost this match because of a lack of experience. I hope tomorrow we can play better,” said Ahmed Hassan, head coach of Qatar.

Chinese Taipei 3-1 China (18-25, 25-23, 25-18, 28-26)
Chinese Taipei spent 116 minutes to beat China. China has an average height of 196cm, which is 8cm taller than Chinese Taipei. 

In the first set, China used their advantage in height to move 15-8 ahead after a six-point run and kept the advantage to finish the set at 25-18.

The beginning of the second set was very tight. China led at the first technical timeout 8-7, but Chinese Taipei made a 4-0 run to 11-8. China fought back with powerful spikes and caught up at 15-15. After 23-23, Chinese Taipei made two spikes in a row and finished the set at 25-23.

In the beginning of the third set, China established a three-point advantage with two aces in succession to go 6-3. Chinese Taipei came back with an ace to even the score at 12-12. With powerful spikes and a China mistake, Chinese Taipei made the advantage three points at 16-13. From 18-21, China couldn’t score any points and gave the third set to Chinese Taipei, 18-25.

The fourth set was quite a long and tight set. Chinese Taipei led at the first technical timeout 8-7 while China led the second 16-14. Chinese Taipei had matchpoint at 25-24 but China evened the score with a quick attack. Both teams made their spikes and the score came to 26-27 for Chinese Taipei. Chinese Taipei took the set when a China spike flew wide.

“Today our execution was not good enough,” said Gu Jun, head coach of China. “We were waiting for our opponents to make mistakes. It may work against weak teams, but Chinese Taipei is not weak. We didn’t face any challenge in the previous matches so this match is very important for the players to feel the game. We still have chance to realize our advantage in height. Mentally, this game was a very good exercise for our team.”

“For a very long period we couldn’t beat China,” Chinese Taipei coach Lee Chia Yung said. “Our players played a good match with combination as well as good fortune. I hope in the next round we can get the top rank in the pool and create a new record for Chinese Taipei Volleyball.”

Japan 3-2 Korea (25-23, 25-19, 20-25, 21-25, 15-13)
Japan and Korea didn’t face any challenge from Turkmenistan and this match will decide the top rank of the pool. Japan won the first, second and fifth sets while Korea won the other two. 

Korea started the match with an 8-4 lead. Both teams tried to put pressure on the other side with powerful jump serves. Only half of the services went outside or to the net, while the other half hit the ground inside directly. Both teams had high-quality offenses thus neither of them could make a big lead. Japan scored three points in a row to 23-19 on two spikes and one mistake from Korea. Korea fought to reduce the score difference to two points but could stop Japan from winning this set with 25-23.

Japan established their lead from the first score of the second set with a clean spike. Japan widened their advantage slowly and finished the set on two mistakes by Korea. 

The third set started with a tight block from Japan but Korea immediately replied in kind. The tie remained until 12-12, after which Korea made a 4-0 run to 16-12 on good spikes. Finally Korea finished this set at 25-20 on a powerful spike.

The fourth set was similar to the third. Korea established their lead after a 4-0 run to 20-17 and finished 25-21.

Korea made their advantage from the beginning of the final set but Japan came back with a lucky ball hitting the band to even the score. Then Korea failed in receiving a service and gave Japan a one-point advantage, but Japan’s service flew outside to draw the scores level at 13-13. Korea served out and Japan finished the match with an ace.

Match schedule & Result (Local Time)

Pool round-robin preliminaries - September 5
09:00 Opening Ceremony
11:00 Sri Lanka – Saudi Arabia 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-19)
13:00 Australia - Kazakhstan 3-2 (25-20, 18-25, 20-25, 25-20, 15-8)
15:00 Chinese Taipei – Hong Kong, China 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-16)
17:00 Maldives - China 0-3 (8-25, 8-25, 4-25)
19:00 Turkmenistan – Korea 0-3 (18-25, 17-25, 20-25)

September 6

10:00 Chinese Taipei – Maldives 3-0 (25-10, 25-11, 25-9)
12:00 Qatar - Iran 0-3 (6-25, 12-25, 13-25)
14:00 Bahrain - India 0-3 (14-25, 17-25, 23-25)
16:00 Hong Kong, China – China  0-3 (5-25, 14-25, 20-25)
18:00 Sri Lanka – Australia 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-22)
20:00 Japan – Turkmenistan 3-0 (25-18, 25-10, 25-17)

September 7

10:00 Saudi Arabia - Kazakhstan 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-20)
12:00 Iran - India 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-15)
14:00 Qatar - Bahrain 0-3 (11-25, 23-25, 13-25)
16:00 China – Chinese Taipei 1-3 (25-18, 23-25, 18-25, 26-28)
18:00 Korea - Japan 2-3 (23-25, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21, 13-15)

September 8

10:00 Australia – Saudi Arabia
12:00 Bahrain - Iran
14:00 India - Qatar
16:00 Kazakhstan – Sri Lanka
18:00 Maldives – Hong Kong, China


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