Looking vulnerable at times, China sharpens focus for title defense
In fleeting parts during the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Cup for Women, China would look vulnerable. But the defending champions would eventually find their way to victory anyway.
Against lowly Iran, the Asian powerhouse wobbled in the first set before cruising to a 24-26, 25-19, 25-10, 25-13 victory on Thursday at PhilSports Arena to clean up its Pool A assignments.
The dips in China’s performance during matches hardly worried the team, which prefers staring into the windshield instead of at the rearview mirror.
“We didn’t think about our numbers … in our pool,” said Chinese coach Kuang Qi through interpreter and opposite spiker Li Xuemeng. “It’s a big achievement of winning this game (against the Iranians) but the tougher games [will come after] this game.
And it’s not like China is worried about its title defense at all.
“We have the quarterfinals and probably we [are] gonna make it to the semifinal or the final which we should really focus on. We [are] gonna prepare for it,” said Kuang.
Wang Wenhan and Zhuang Yushan produced 13 and 12 points, respectively, for China while Hu Mingyuan added 10.
China sets a knockout quarterfinal match against winless Australia on Saturday.
Iran lost three straight games after winning the opener and will have to wait for the result of the Philippines-South Korea taking place as of press time.
A win by the Philippines over Korea’s high schoolers will secure Pool A’s third seed and set a quarterfinal match against Thailand, while sending Iran to a game against Japan.
Meanwhile, Japan hardly broke a sweat in dominating Australia, 25-4, 25-11, 25-15, to complete a three-match sweep of Pool B.
Yuki Nishikawa fired 13 spikes, three service aces and two blocks to finish with 18 points, while Mizuki Tanaka drilled six aces for 16 points to forge a knockout game against Pool A’s No.4 seed on Saturday.
“We had a little time to prepare for this competition with this team. But we did pretty great and I’m so happy for it,” said Nishikawa through an interpreter.