China sweats out thriller vs Vietnam; Japan rips Taiwan
China and Japan each earned a second straight victory in the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Cup for Women—one a little more comfortably than the other.
Titleholder China was made to sweat by Vietnam before eking out a thrilling 25-12, 25-6, 29-31, 21-25, 15-12 victory on Monday at PhilSports Arena to stay unbeaten in two matches in Pool A.
Japan, meanwhile, breezed past Chinese Taipei, 25-22, 25-22, 25-22, to inch closer to a sweep of the pool stage.
“It was kinda hard for us to get on our own pace but in the end, we were able to play our volleyball. That was really nice,” said Japan playmaker Mika Shibata through an interpreter after crafting brilliant plays and scoring four points.
China had it a tad harder.
The Asian queens flirted with disaster, squandering a two-set lead and a 9-5 advantage in the fifth set that allowed the Vietnamese to tie the decider at 10.
But Zhou Yetong gave her team a 13-11 breather before Zhuang Yushan nailed back-to-back kills to complete the win in two hours and 21 minutes.
Zhou erupted for 27 points built on 23 spikes and four blocks, while Zhuang chipped in 21 points to keep the five-time AVC Cup champion on top of the standings before facing host country Philippines on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Wu Mengjie and Hu Mingyuan were also instrumental with 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Thi Nhu Quynh Vi led Vietnam’s comeback with 14 points, while Thi Thanh Thuy Tran and Thi Nguyet Anh Pham delivered 13 markers apiece as they dropped to 1-1.
Meanwhile, Yuki Nishikawa starred in the Japanese’s collective effort, scoring eight of her 11 points in the first set that paced their dominant win.
Miyu Nakagawa, Mizuki Tanaka and Asuka Hamamatsu had nine points each to follow up their three-set conquest over Thailand on Sunday with another victory.
“We are getting better and better, little by little. We got to play our volleyball. The fact that we are winning two games in a row, that’s great,” Shibata said.
Chinese Taipei banked on Chang Li-Wen’s 16-point effort, as Lin Shu-Ho contributed 10 points in their 2022 AVC Cup debut. INQ
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