Fist of fury..Chen Shu Li celebrates another Taipei win
Tokyo, November 5, 2006: The Asian minnows have become a monster.
Playing in only their second World Championships, Chinese Taipei completed first-round play with a perfect 5-0 win-loss record by beating Costa Rica 3-0 on Sunday.
The world No. 23 followed up their earlier Pool A victories over Japan (7), Kenya (11), Korea (8) and Poland (9) by brushing aside the 33rd-ranked Ticas 25-10, 25-18, 25-12.
It was another sparkling performance of fast-paced, well-drilled volleyball, and the inexperienced Costa Ricans, on their World Championships debut, crumbled to their fourth defeat in five outings.
Any doubts about the motivation of the Chinese Taipei players, who had already qualified for the second round in Nagoya, were quickly laid to rest as they put the Ticas to the sword in the opening exchanges.
Kou Nai Han scored a flurry of points from both sides, and middle blocker Chen Mei Ching touched the ball over to give her team the lead 8-2 at the first TTO.
The points continued to flow, and when captain Chen Shu Li extended her team's lead to 11-4, Ticas coach Braulio Godinez took his players off for their second TO.
The speed and the movement of the Asian players gave Costa Rica no respite, and every point won by the Central Americans was greeted with sympathetic applause by the spectators. A block by Lin Ching I on Angela Willis took Taipei to the second technical break with a nine-point cushion, 16-7, and Lin then showed her attacking qualities by pounding another winner down the middle.
The Ticas did not help themselves with a series of careless mistakes, especially on serve, but a Johanna Moore block on Lin Ching I lifted the gloom momentarily. Taipei crusied to the first frame 25-10.
Costa Rica woke up from their Sunday lunchtime slumber in the second set, and captain Verania Willis showed what they are capable of with some fiery winners from wide on the left. This seemed to lift her teammates, and belatedly they began to function.
Chinese Taipei led 11-9 but had lost their fluid rhythm, forcing head coach Lin Kuang Hung to take them off for a talking-to. This did the trick, and middle blocker Lin Chun Yi struck at the net to take them to the second TTO ahead 16-10.
Onika Pinnock, one of the brightest talents on the Ticas roster, pushed one over for a delicate winner to keep Chinese Taipei on their toes, but the second set was disappearing at 21-14. Tseng Hua Yu brought up set point and Kou blocked Pinnock to end it on the next point, 25-18.
Chinese Taipei looked to be in a hurry to get to Nagoya for the second round, and jumped out to an 8-1 lead at the first TTO of the third set.
Lin Chun Yi and Chen Mei Ching took it in turns to swat points down the middle past the disintegrating Costa Rica block, and at 11-2 the Ticas called their second and final TO of the set.
Captain Chen Shu Li made sure there was no let-up and drove her team forward on the block and in attack, demoralising the Costa Ricans as victory -- and defeat -- came into view, 16-3 at the second technical break.
Only the formalities were to be completed, and Yeh Hui Hsuan joined in the points party as Taipei head coach Lin gave his bench some playing time.
Despite a late rally by Costa Rica -- and some uncharacteristic spiking errors from captain Chen -- Pool A's top team came home 25-12.