Japan's U18 players celebrate winning the Asia Championship
Lausanne, Switzerland, March 13, 2017 – Japan ended China’s hopes of carrying off the Asia Volleyball Girls’ U18 Championship with a 3-0 (25-16 25-9 32-30) victory in the final at No.8 Secondary School Gymnasium in Chongqing on Monday.
It is the seventh time in total and sixth time in a row that Japan have topped the podium. Both teams had already booked their place at the FIVB Volleyball 2017 Girls’ U18 World Championship that will take place in Argentina from August 18 to 27, 2017, along with Korea and Thailand, who contested the bronze medal match.
Japan bossed the first two sets to grab the early initiative. In the third China fought back and at one stage led 16-14 before Japan turned the tables to take the lead at 20-18. Both teams then traded point for point, but eventually Japan had match point at 31-30 when Yuki Nishikawa hit a powerful spike to give her side the title
Yuki Nishikawa scored a match-high 19 points for Japan and won the Most Valuable Player and the Best Outside Spiker awards during the post-tournament presentations. Soga Haruna added 17 points, while Sun Xiaoxuan led China with 12 points.
“It seemed like an easy game but it was actually not,” Japan coach Daichi Saegusa said. “The height of Chinese players caused a lot of pressure and we tried to score points from serving.”
In the bronze-medal match, Korea dashed Thailand’s hopes of finishing in the top three with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 28-26) victory.