Making a superb start in the first set which they bagged a sensational 25-16 win over the Thai team in their opening Pool A clash, Lienviet Postbank lost their touch in the next two sets when Idea Khonkaen’s star attackers Em-Orn Phanusit and Tapaphaipun Chaisri combined well to blunt the Vietnamese blocks with their exceptional spikes. The Thai squad took the following two sets 25-20, 30-28.
However, the fourth set saw the Vietnamese come up with more determination and guts in front of their noisy drum-beating, shouting fans. Both sides exchanged attacking and blocking from the start to finish. Pham Thi Yen became the hosts’ smashing machine jumping high to produce devastating cross-court spikes which, to the visitors’ surprise, always went with no reply.
After a thrilling long rally in some vital moments which saw the host side match the Thai counterparts tactically and technically for a 23-23 tie, Lienviet Postbank, boosted by the home crowd supports, stormed on to win two straight points for the 25-23 win in the fourth set.
In the do-or-die tie-breaker, Idea Khonkaen struggled hard as the host side were never-say-die. Leading 14-13, the Thai team needed only one more point to win the match, but they just let the win slip through hands when the hosts counter-attacked well to close the margin 14-14.
A fierce spike from pint-sized but agile Tapaphaipun Chaisri went wide, putting the Vietnamese side in front 15-14. Tapaphaipun made amends for the mistakes she made. She came from behind to attack the Vietnamese blockers with a powerful hit, forcing both teams to play deuce. Lienviet Postbank played with more consistency to capture straight two points, the hard-fought set and the gruelling 115-minute clash.
Pham Thi Yen emerged as the Lienviet Postbank’s top scorer with 19 points, while Em-Orn Phanusit collected 22 points including 21 kills for Idea Khonkaen.
After the match, Idea Khonkaen’s coach Banjong Sombat commented, “This is our first match in the tournament and we played nervously. What my players have done in the match is quite satisfactory, anyway. Truly, it was a game of “catch me if you can”. Unfortunately, we happened to play with the host side in our opener. We lost because we could not score points through our attack game. We came up with more pole spikes than fast attacks. If not, we should stand a chance to win this match.“
“I think my team played well in the second and third sets, but hopes were dashed out in the fourth due to the inconsistency of my team, especially libero Tikamporn Changkeaw. She dropped from her best.“
“Against Chinese Taipei in the following match, we have to improve our tactics. It must be a close match and it’s not easy to beat them. Although we still have chances of beating them, we have to play more carefully with improved tactics and form” he added.
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