Chongqing, China, March 9, 2017 - Hosts China and title-holders Japan continued their winning runs at the “SMM” 11th Asian Girls’ U18 Volleyball Championship at the Chongqing No.8 Secondary School Gymnasium on Thursday, with the former surviving a sturdy challenge from Thailand and the latter defeating Korea in straight sets.
The top four teams in the tournament will qualify for the 2017 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship in Argentina from August 18 to 27, 2017. Quick links - Volleyball:
FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship Argentina 2017FIVB.com - VolleyballFIVB.com
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China, former four-time champions and bronze medallists at the previous edition in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, stayed on course for the title following a dramatic 3-2 (25-14, 22-25, 18-25, 25-14, 15-13) win over a determined Thailand.
Piyarat Buddawong was on fine form in attack, registering a match-high 23 points for Thailand from 77 attempts, while Sun Xiaoxuan scored 19 points for China.
“My girls’ technique is not very good. They have made mistakes in setting and defense. I’m not pleased with their performances. They got a few points from their successes in blocking,” said Xu Jiande, head coach of China
Meanwhile, defending and six-time champions Japan breezed past Korea in straight sets 3-0 (25-6, 25-14, 25-21) to maintain a remarkable unbeaten record without losing a set in this top-flight championship.
Yuki Nishikawa of Japan topped the scoring charts with 21 points while Ko Uijeong pocketed nine points for Korea.
“Korea are a very good team. However, I did not expect that we would beat them in three sets,” said Daichi Saegusa, head coach of Japan.
In the other two encounters, Chinese Taipei rallied to a comprehensive 3-0 (25-16, 25-12, 25-10) win in their matchup with New Zealand, highlighted by 10 ace serves, while Hong Kong stunned Australia with a fantastic comeback 3-1 (14-25, 25-21, 25-18 ,26-24) victory.
Lee Tingyi led Chinese Taipei with 11 points from 29 attempts, while Paniora Phoenix contributed seven points for New Zealand.
“We are mainly preparing for the quarterfinals the day after tomorrow. We want every girl to get full preparation for the match. We allowed every substitution to get involved in this game. After all they are teenagers, and everyone should be trained,” said Kuang Chintu, head coach of Chinese Taipei.
Australia head coach Boris Georgieff said: “Our performance today is very disappointing. Hong Kong played very well. They got what they deserved. We are upset that we played well in the first set, but could not maintain our form. We are very disappointed not with the results but with the form we played.”
Hong Kong coach Mak Tse Shun said: “Today we had a really wonderful match. My girls’ performance was awesome. They are getting better and better. Techniques and cooperation were very good. The team spirit is very good today. We wanted to win this match and these girls are becoming mature. Under the pressure, they can still perform well. This was a really unforgettable match. I hope we can become better and better as I said before.”
“Actually, during this morning’s practice, they didn’t perform well. They just could not concentrate on the training and practice. I made them aware of the importance of the match. So this played a role in our victory today.”
The quarterfinals will take place Saturday with Japan taking on Australia, Thailand going up against Chinese Taipei, China facing New Zealand and Korea playing Hong Kong.