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Japan, Korea, China and Thailand through to semifinals of Asian Women’s U23 Championship

Korea's Go Yerim in action at the net
Manila, Philippines, May 7, 2015 - Japan, Korea, China and Thailand edged their respective opponents and advanced to the semifinals of the Rebisco U23 Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship powered by PLDT Home and Smart Live More at the PSC Philsports Arena on Thursday.

Japan made up for their mistakes in the first set and finished with a strong 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-14) victory over India. Japan struggled against attacks by Muraleedharan Shyamala Poornima and Nirmala in the first set, but adjusted rapidly to neutralise the Indian attackers and cruise to victory.

Korea claimed a 3-2
(16-25, 25-17, 23-25, 25-14,15-10) victory against Chinese Taipei to claim the second semifinal ticket. Korean trio Lee Soyoung, Ha Hyejin and An Hyeri combined for 64 points - more than half of the team’s total point output of 104.

China were stung by the Philippines in the first set but bounced back for a 3-1 (23-25, 25-14, 25-18, 25-17) victory. The momentum switched to the Chinese side as soon as Liu Yanhan stepped inside the court, solidifying the Chinese offence. The power hitter top scored with 21 points for China.

“We were surprised with the way the Philippines played,” said Liu. “They played with a lot of passion in this match.”

 “We struggled on the attacks of India’s No. 5 (Poornima) and No. 10 (Nirmala),” Japan coach Kiyoshi Abo said. “Their attackers hit over our blockers and it was very tough to defend them.”

In the final quarterfinal match, Thailand tripped in the opening set but regrouped in the following sets for a 3-1 (27-29, 25-19, 25-8, 25-13) conquest of Iran. Youngster Chatchu-on Moksri fired 19 kills to lead the Thailand scorers, while teammate Hattaya Bamrungsuk added 17 points.

“We had a lot of mistakes in the first set,” said coach Nataphon Srisamutnak. “Fortunately, we recovered and took advantage of our good attack.”

Meanwhile, undermanned Macau took 11th place after defeating Maldives 3-0 (25-20, 25-11, 25-19) in the final classification match. Macau were down in the first set but recovered in the middle of the set, dictating the tempo in the next sets for a convincing win over the Maldivians.

Macau captain Leong On Ieng, who led the charge in offence, finished with 14 points.

Thursday's results
11th-12th Playoff: Macau b Maldives 3-0 (25-20 25-11 25-19)
Japan b India 3-0 (25-17 25-17 25-14)
China b Philippines 3-1 (23-25 25-14 25-18 25-17)
Korea b Chinese Taipei 3-2 (16-25 25-17 23-25 25-14 15-10)
Thailand b Iran 3-1 (27-29 25-19 25-8 25-13)

Match schedule
Friday, May 8, 2015 (all local times)
10.00am: 9th-10th Playoff: Kazakhstan v Uzbekistan
12.00pm: 5th-8th Playoff: Philippines v Chinese Taipei
14.00pm: 5th-8th Playoff: Iran v India
16.15pm: Semi-finals: China v Korea
19.00pm: Semi-finals: Thailand v Japan


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