DAY 3 WRAP UP
Tehran, Iran, August 17, 2022 – Title-hotshots Iran and reigning champions Japan saw off lower-ranked sides on Day 3 of the pool round-robin preliminaries to keep their unbeaten streaks intact at the 14th Asian Men’s U18 Volleyball Championship at the Federation Hall on Wednesday, with the former the only team yet losing a single set and the latter ending their preliminary-round campaign to top Pool B.
Japan, consecutive two-times champions including the previous edition in 2018 in Tabriz, made a clean sweep in Pool B after rallying past Thailand in thrilling tiebreaker 25-15, 22-25, 25-17, 23-25, 15-9. The Japanese outfit had already bagged the first two wins against India and Korea.
After the Wednesday’s match against Thailand, Japan improved their performance with 6 points from three straight wins to top Pool B, while Thailand lost them all to secure fourth place.
Both teams ended their campaigns in the preliminaries and will have two rest days (Thursday and Friday). Their matches will resume on Saturday in the cross quarterfinals.
“We played all matches in tiebreaker and my players were very tired. We tried to give our best performance. We will have two days of rest and prepare ourselves for the upcoming matches,” Hiroshi Honda, head coach of Japan, said after the match.
Meanwhile, Iran, former seven-time champions, spearheaded by Mohammad Reza Alejalil, grabbed two successive victories on Wednesday after demolishing Kuwait in comfortable three-setter 25-12, 25-21, 25-13 in Pool A.
Mohammad Reza Alejalil emerged as Iran’s topscorer in this match with 15 points, while Ahmad Alhamdan led Kuwait with 6 points.
Reza Vakili, head coach of Iran, said, “We respect all our rivals. We trained very well but I believe that the competition milieu is different and these inexperienced players need to play official matches more. In the second set, my players underestimated the opponents and gave them chances to slip in and take more points. I do wish to have more fans in the venue as the players need to play in front of more fans and practice to boost their concentration in different situations.”
China, which succumbed to their loss to the host side, notched their first victory after 3-0 (25-20, 32-30, 25-22) demolition of Chinese Taipei in a well-fought affair.
Captain Zeng Yangjie delivered 14 points for China including 11 attacks, while Gao Yuning added 13 points. Lin Ting-Wei led Chinese Taipei with 13 points.
Gong Zaeieng, head coach of China, said, “The goal of the China team is firstly to advance to the semifinals and then to be the finalists. This victory made us closer to our target”.
China will next take on Kuwait, while Chinese Taipei will be pitted against hosts Iran on Thursday, the final day of the pool preliminaries.
The pool plays continue through Thursday, with Friday set aside for a rest day.
MATCH RESULTS & TEAM RANKING
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