VNL: SEA Games champ Thailand cruises past Canada
MANILA, Philippines–In one of the biggest volleyball stages in the world, Thailand showed why it is such a force to reckon with in the Southeast Asian region.
The SEA Games champion swept past Canada after a tense third set, 25-19, 25-22, 26-24, as Week 2 of the Volleyball Nations League got off to a solid start on an overcast Tuesday afternoon at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“We play the best that we can,” said Pimpichaya Kokram, who led the Thais with 20 points, which the 23-year-old open spiker assembled on a 19-of-34 attack rate.
Chatchu-On Moksri, the 22-year-old opposite spiker, had 17 points, including two service aces, for the world No. 14.
Despite the absence of 28-year-old veteran middle blocker Thatdao Nuekjang, who suffered an injury during the tournament’s Week 1 in Ankara, Turkey, Thailand still manage to hike its overall record to 4-1.
Canada suffered its third loss in five outings after yielding 27 points on errors to the Thais, who committed just 11.
“I think we were disappointed [with how] we showed up today,” said Alexa Grey, who finished with 13 points.
Emily Maglio’s back-to-back kills forced the match’s last deadlock at 24-24, but the Canadians were not able to catch a break when needed. Canada’s net fault challenge was proved unsuccessful that put Thailand at match point before an attack error ended the one-hour, 21-minute contest.
Kiera Van Ryk scored 20 points, including nine in the third set, while Maglio added eight for the world No. 16.
Tokyo Olympics gold medalist and reigning VNL champions United States will make its debut at 3 p.m. Wednesday against Bulgaria at the Big Dome.
Setter Micha Hancock, libero Justine Wong-Orantes, outside hitter Kelsey Robinson and middle blockers Chiaka Ogbogu and Haleigh Washington are the 2020 gold medalists on the roster. China, now ranked No. 3 in the latest women’s world rankings, plays Belgium at 7 p.m.